Dennis' ads, like the spate of jaw-dropping, camp Republican online ads being produced today, are a jarring mix of the highest and lowest of production values. The spots are slick and well put-together, and the computer graphics now available to a filmmaker working on a laptop top those costing millions per second in Terminator II.
And yet, it still looks like the budget for ads like Dennis' could be halved if, say, everyone brought his own lunch to the set. The costumes and non-computer effects are either intentionally or unintentionally hilarious -- really, does it matter? -- and you can say the same about the acting. Dennis -- who didn't get many lines -- confirms he got the bucket-throwing scene right on the first take. And he needed to.
"We only ended up doing one take because the poor woman absorbing this ended up swallowing a bunch of water," he says of his dousing of the Pelosi/Margaret Hamilton lookalike. "I'm a Republican fighting for civil liberties and against government torture, and here I am practically waterboarding this woman."
Dennis' future wacky ads will be placed up every few weeks -- you can't expend all your ammunition at once if you want to win elections. So we'll have to wait to see him in a parody of A Few Good Men (yes, he's the Tom Cruise character; it remains to be seen if Dennis can handle the truth). And we'll wait some more to see the James Bond parody that led the WSJ to bemoan the candidate's tight tux.
"The jacket was made for a 12-year-old. I didn't even put it on," says Dennis -- who describes himself as "six feet tall and pretty big" -- of the costume snafu. "For some reason they screwed up on that jacket. Everything else fit me."
Dennis has raised and spent over a million dollars in this race -- and the real-estate investor has put $50,000 of his own money into the kitty as well. Running against Pelosi, the chances of Dennis getting a return on that investment are long. But he isn't coming away empty-handed.
"At one point, I did get to say, 'Dennis. John Dennis.' For any kid who grew up liking James Bond, that was a thrill," he says. "That was probably my biggest line."
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