In 2006, around the time president George W. Bush was thanking his generals for “snatching the defeat out of the jaws of those who are trying to defeat us in Iraq”, Adam McKay received a surprise call from Michael Moore. McKay was then 36, having just released his second film as director, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, which had an adorable, Bush-like character in the central role. Moore, whose anti-Bush political documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 had become a phenomenal success two years earlier, was at the peak of his fame as a left-wing icon.
“It was the day after Talladega Nights opened,” McKay would recall years later. “Moore called me and said, ‘You son of a bitch, you just made the most subversive movie in the country, and no one knows it’.”
Talladega Nights is a seemingly infantile comedy about a race-car driver from the Bible Belt who loves to pray as much as he brawls. “Dear Lord Baby Jesus,” says the dull-witted Bobby in one scene, “or as our brothers to the south call you, Jesús—we thank you so much for this bountiful harvest of Domino’s, KFC, and the always delicious Taco Bell. I just want to take time to say thank you for my family, my two beautiful, beautiful, handsome, striking sons, Walker and Texas Ranger, or T.R. as we call him, and of course, my red-hot smoking wife, Carly, who is a stone-cold fox!”
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