Starring James Garner and Jack Lemmon as rival ex-presidents of the United States, “My Fellow Americans” is one of my all-time favorite movies. It also features Dan Aykroyd, Lauren Bacall, John Heard, Wilford Brimley and a pre-“West Wing” Bradley Whitford in the role of White House chief of staff. Esther Rolle (in one of her last film roles), Sela Ward and Marg Helgenberger (of “CSI” fame) in an uncredited role also make appearances.
My only complaints about this movie are that it’s apparently never been released in a widescreen version and the disc doesn’t contain a commentary track. I really want to hear a commentary for this movie.
“Politics is only the background of this story,” Producer Jon Peters emphasizes in the production notes on the disc.
“It’s really about two guys who lived to be in the spotlight, to play the game and win. When the game is over, they can’t find anything to replace it.
“And being part of that game is so important to them that they’ll even change their thinking, team up with a former opponent — whatever’s necessary — just to feel like part of things again.”
“What I wanted to do is give people a look into the presidential bubble,” said Director Peter Segal, also in the production notes. “As leaders of the free world, these guys live in a vacuum, every second of their day is planned.”
“Every time they move, an army of people move with them,” Segal said. “They’re constantly insulated from human contact by their Secret Service protection. They have been isolated in that presidential bubble from the rest of the country for years.”
“And now,” as Segal puts it, “that bubble is about to pop.”