Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Best of Enemies

The bitter rivalry between Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley reached its apex in 1968 when ABC asked the respective intellectual leads of the left and right to host a series of debates during the major party political conventions. After a series of contentious discourse and insult hurling on live TV (including a particularly infamous exchange posted below), the successful experiment led networks to adopt the new format for programming and, as the verbal combatants returned to their lives, their mutual hatred never seemed to abate. Robert Gordan and Morgan Neville's Best of Enemies is funny, even exciting, and as polarizing as its two subjects, who seem like essentially the same person when boiled down with the magnitude of their personal loathing reaches incredible proportions. A great use of footage and a fine soundtrack give this niche documentary an appropriately concise and entertaining treatment.
*** 1/2 out of ****