Apprentice
Trump: Unauthorized

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Trumptastic!
It's an ABC Premiere Event, y'all. This movie has never been seen before. This is your first opportunity. Do you ever get the feeling you were born into precisely the right generation at precisely the right moment? Pause and, like, reflect on that. We are informed that this "dramatization" (read: "pile of crap") comes from "published accounts" ("Page Six"), and includes "time compression" ("Trump is actually eighty years old now") as well as "composite and representative characters, incidents, and dialogue" ("stuff you can't prove couldn't theoretically have happened, not that we're claiming for legal purposes that it did"). Never has a disclaimer disclaimed quite so much of what you would normally expect in quite so short a time. It's a model of efficiency, if not a particularly good sign. Plinkety-plink piano plays on the soundtrack over the words "Trump: Unauthorized." Shockingly, someone has decided to begin this biopic of a real estate developer with a shot of -- oh, yes -- a little boy playing with blocks. It's kind of a rule of the biopic -- if you are a railroad baron, you will be shown playing with electric trains. If you are an adult entertainment magnate, you will be shown looking up the teacher's skirt. And if you are Donald Trump, provided you are not shown blow-drying one of those big Barbie hairstyling heads, you will be shown doing precisely this. A little boy's eyes concentrate hard on the tower he is building as a man's voice comes from offscreen, arguing with someone. In a nod to the legendary subtlety of Billy Budd, Sailor, the man's voice informs the other end of the phone that "what matters is what something looks like." The producers of the film are trying to get the "What's with the gold-plated toilets?" question out of the way as soon as possible, apparently, and it all goes back to this guy -- whoever he may be. He goes on to say that what's important is "the front, the outside, the fa├žade!" The artifice, the superficiality, the illusion! The book of words, the dictionary, the thesaurus! The conversation continues along these lines for a while as we watch this old-school businessman chat on the phone about his great reputation while a different little boy, who is presumably one of the Wright brothers, is shown zooming a toy plane around the room with great enthusiasm. The exposition grows even more graceful as Phone Man hollers into the phone, "What's my name? What is it? What's my damn -- that's right, you got it. It's Trump. Fred Trump! T-R-U-M-P!" I'm not joking -- he says it, he says it again, and then he spells it. And I fight an almost irresistible urge to call someone and say, "What did he say his name was?" Only I don't know anyone who's watching this other than me, because my friends have lives. And then Papa-T refers to the plane-flying kid as "Fred Junior." Who was the last kid who was actually referred to in casual conversation as "Junior"? "Come back here, Steve Junior!" "Take that out of your mouth, William Junior!" It's a little awkward, is what I'm saying. Anyway, poor F.J. is told that his plane has only one wing. Do you suppose that's a metaphor? One can only scratch one's head and wonder. It certainly would be if Martina McBride had written this movie. Papa-T complains about his stupid child to whomever is on the phone, and then he makes with the business talk and hangs up. He tells F.J. about how "you've gotta kill" and so forth, because this is the portion of the movie where we learn that Papa-T is gruff. Papa-T then turns his attention to his other boy. "Right, Donald? Kill, kill, kill!" Papa-T says to the building-blocks kid, who is still assembling his tower over by the window. Mini-Trump places a few more blocks as we look past him out the window at the Manhattan skyline. As it turns out, he is building two towers of blocks that spell out "DONALD" and "TRUMP." Do you get it? He liked his name on things from the beginning. I came up with that all by myself, because I am a professional television viewer.

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Apprentice

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