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Documentary-style look at the fictional Senatorial campaign of Bob Roberts, an arch-conservative folk singer turned politician. This political satire includes several original songs co-written and performed by writer/director/star Tim Robbins, and cameo appearances by other stars as reporters and news anchors. Written by
Scott Renshaw <email@example.com>
I can understand why Republicans would be upset by this film, but I think that Democrats and/or small-"l" liberals should squirm when they watch this, too. The real sting in this film is that, devious and repulsive as Bob Roberts is, he is far more charismatic and interesting than his tired rival, Brickley Paiste (Gore Vidal), and he has managed to appropriate all of the weapons of the 1960s protest movements (including that most sacred insitution of all, folk music) and use them with a vigour that is scarily convincing. Roberts has the adulation of young men and women (watch for a young Jack Black as a smitten fan), the power of the record industry, and access to concerts halls and media coverage to get his message across. What does the left have? A rabid underground journalist (Bugs Raplin), a goofy "Saturday Night Live"-type show (Cutting Edge Live) that may once have been edgy, but now just seems silly (even Roberts himself is a fan), a tired old senator droning on about social programs (Paiste), and a few strident voices crying in the wilderness, (including the journalist played by Lynne Thigpen). Roberts has replaced Bob Dylan as the "voice of his generation" (Robbins includes a hilarious riff on Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues" video from "Don't Look Back"). Robbins' real target here is how the ideals of the 60s have failed miserably, how times have changed back, and how greed, self-interest and intolerance have become the new order of the 1990s (and continue today). Roberts is *not* George Bush (senior or junior)--he's a much more frightening animal who shows up just how the voices of dissent have dwindled into insignificance.
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