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'Reagan' documentary debuts Feb. 7 on HBO




No matter your personal thoughts on Ronald Reagan -- his politics, legacy, short-fallings and triumphs, it's impossible to ignore his role in the '80s. A new HBO documentary -- simply titled Reagan -- premieres tonight on the pay cable channel as part of the centennial celebration of his birth.

The reviews of Reagan seem as mixed as reviews of the man himself.

"[Filmmaker Eugene] Jarecki ... fails to unlock the mystery of his secret psyche, although the filmmaker wrangled an impressive roster of witnesses willing to speculate for his camera—notably Reagan administration cabinet members George Shultz and James Baker (who calls his onetime boss "an extraordinarily beautiful human being"), Reagan biographer Lou Cannon, former CBS anchorman Dan Rather and son Ron Reagan, who provides a narrative arc of eloquent commentary on his father's life and times," writes the Daily Beast.

"Jarecki is not trying to tear down the image of Reagan so much as make it right-sized," the Los Angeles Times says. "As the film notes, the president had his many contradictions — while hailed by anti-immigrationists, he also supported amnesty; while trumpeting small government and lower taxes, he increased both; and, while serving as a champion for Alzheimer's research, he largely ignored the AIDS crisis as thousands died."

Feel free to contribute your own review of the documentary (or the politician) after it airs tonight. Myself? I can't afford HBO anymore -- something I blame more on George W. Bush than Ronald W. Reagan.

[Last modified: Monday, February 7, 2011 10:21am]


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