Lee Daniels' The Butler
Lee Daniels' The Butler was “inspired by true events” much like John Hinckley Jr. was “inspired” by The Catcher in the Rye. Actually, it's adapted from a Washington Post article about an African-American butler who served at the White House during some of the most turbulent times in recent history. Daniels expands that idea into a Gump's-eye view of the civil-rights era that is Oscar chum at its most pandering. Forest Whitaker, looking like an audio-animatronics figure at Disneyland Presents Great Moments With Lee Daniels' The Butler, plays Cecil Gaines, son of a murdered cotton farmer reborn through servitude. Whitaker is strong, as usual, but the U.S. presidents are portrayed in a series of distracting cameos by Robin Williams as Dwight D. Eisenhower and Alan Rickman as Ronald Reagan.