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Contemporary classic!
Derek23710 August 2005
Bulworth was released quite a few years ago, but it is still (if not more) relevant today. It merges two "cultures," one being the rich white class culture, and the other being the urban lower class culture, and ends up with many universal ideals. The story's hero is Jay Billington Bulworth, portrayed brilliantly by Warren Beatty. I think some people have a problem with the fact that he is...well, more or less insane, but that is possibly the most important thing about the character. You could call him insane, but if you look at it more romantically, perhaps he is "posessed" by the "spirit" of social justice, a mere vessel for the truths that need to be told. He is a character unaware of the significance in what he is saying. To him, if he's not completely insane, he's simply a man who broke down and decided to tell it like it is (ala Peter Finch in Network, but with rapping and rhyming). There's something actually kind of mystical about all this.

Since it would be way too preachy if that's all there was to the story, there's some other aspects that make for an entertaining viewing. Bulworth, in his depression and anxiety, hired a hit-man to "off" him so his family could collect the life insurance. Once his speeches and raps become a success, this is obviously a big problem since he wants to live again ("You should never make life and death situations when feeling suicidal"). There is a love interest with a girl named Nina, played by the lovely Halle Berry. You don't know if you can trust her, and her intentions are unclear.

There is also a fine supporting role by Don Cheadle, who plays a "business man" who uses young children to sell drugs. His character does bring up some valid points, and we're forced to really put ourselves in his shoes. He's doing what he feels is right, but ultimately, the ends don't justify his means.

With a movie that has so much going on, it would probably be difficult for the filmmakers to figure out a way to wrap everything up, right? Unfortunately, yes. Bulworth ends pretty abruptly and leaves with the film's message being half-assedly shouted at the screen. The last act is a huge flaw in an otherwise perfect movie.

Bulworth is a hilarious comedy and it heralds something truly special and unique. It is not a film to be taken for granted or forgotten. It's a quintessential example of a 'contemporary classic' for our generation. I have no doubt that over the next decade or so, people will want to revisit it and examine the politics and the cultures; it should be studied in classrooms, it should be valued. I loved Bulworth!

My rating: 9/10
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Not Just A Pretty Face
marcosaguado30 December 2004
You have to hand it to Warren Beatty, he redefines the term "maverick". He could be, like many of his contemporaries, taking it easy. Instead, "Bullworth". One of the most outrageously funny satires I've seen in a long time. Satire? Somebody asked me. Well yes, satire. A realistic, daring, clearheaded, masterful satire. We live in satirical times, we have no choice in the matter. It takes an artist of Beatty's caliber to turns things around and makes us laugh and shiver at this mess of our own making. After seeing "Bullworth" I felt compelled to revisit some of Beatty's earlier work as an actor or producer or director. From "Mickey One" to "Reds" passing through "Bonnie And Clyde" and "Shampoo" not to mention "Heaven Can Wait" Mr. Beatty's legacy is one of amazing consistency. As I smiled enjoying his funny portrayal in "The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone" with Vivien Leigh, I thought: that beautiful man is not just a pretty face.
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Come on, let me hear that dirty word - SOCIALISM!
Predrag13 June 2016
A politician has nothing left to lose.. so why not speak the truth? Warren Beatty's Senator Jay Bulworth lays down the smack: the reason the working man (in this movie, the working class is cleverly disguised as hip-hop mavens) doesn't have a voice, is he doesn't have the sway or monetary bullocks to *buy* a voice. Words aren't worth a penny unless you're worth billions. And of course, from the first instant, this divine fool's failure is certain and imminent: Big Business, what with its grimy fingers perpetually immersed in the U.S. Government's proverbial tub of crunchy Jif, would never allow a politician like Bulworth to succeed, at the risk of the working class' newfound capacity to leech the power from the insurance companies and tire manufacturers.

Beneath the sometimes dark comedy, Bulworth has a lot of insightful and painful comments to may about our often hypocritical and ineffectual government. These observations are made satirically, but effectively. This is not a heavy-handed work. One thing that hampered Bulworth at the box-office was its portrayal of the man in the black community. People didn't get it. They were offended, especially many liberal white people. Beatty was in no way making fun of African-Americans by showing a very streetwise group. His point, which I thought was fairly obvious, was that many people will behave in an antisocial way in a society that is largely indifferent and often hostile towards them. I think that's almost a no-brainer. Bulworth is that rare politician who has soul. I agree that Warren Beaty's rapping was sub par, but who cares? "Bulworth" makes a powerful statement that in order to transcend problems of crime, poverty, racism, and political corruption we are going to have to take a cold hard look at who we really are and what is really happening around us. Accepting other people particularly from different racial and economic backgrounds has to be more than just an insincere speech act. It must be an act of good will that is grounded in practical reality.

Overall rating: 8 out of 10.
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In Your Face Farce
LeonLouisRicci6 October 2012
An impossible feat to pull off, this film is remarkable in its audacious use of Rap rhythms and in your face farce that is a wonder to behold. There is literally nothing like this in moviedom. An over the top take on class war and politics that is amazingly fresh.

You would hardly think that Warren Beatty as a depressed suicidal Senator having a nervous breakdown and suffering from sleep deprivation, taking on the ridiculous persona of an inner-city youth and parading it in front of the National News Media, could work as a piercing political satire. But it does, and it is a devastating delivery of an unbridled, out of the box, stream of consciousness conviction of a world gone mad.

This is probably too pretentious and pandering for anyone but the far left to tolerate. However, even years later it is timeless, and you cannot deny that it is a mind-numbing movie that is entertaining and one must wonder, just how they made it happen. But here it is.
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The most daring political satire ever made.
Curtin-315 February 2000
I cannot recommend 'Bulworth' highly enough. Sure, I've seen lots of worthy political satires. 'The Candidate', 'Wag the Dog', 'Bob Roberts', and others. But this is the finest example ever made. Warren Beatty should be very proud of this masterpiece. Not only for the guts it took to so brazenly confront the modern political process (and how it affects race relations, the film industry, education, medicine, and so on) but also for the fact that he wrote it, produced it, directed it, and starred in it. Any one of those jobs can be a supreme undertaking, and here he has accomplished all four with integrity, wit, humor, intelligence, and undeniable brass. It is quite simply impossible to watch this movie without being repeatedly shocked at the depth of its honesty. The supporting cast is also excellent, and Don Cheadle stands out as LD.
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Powerful, disturbing and funny political satire
runamokprods12 December 2011
Other than a few forced silly moments, this is the sharpest, darkest, bravest. most disturbing political satire out of Hollywood since "Network".

This is Beatty's career best performance by far, making his rapidly breaking down liberal Democrat Senator into a character simultaneously howlingly funny, pitiable, admirable, wince inducing, pathetic and horrifying.

Beatty has made a film that walks the razor's edge right along with it's lead character, playing into deliberately provoking racial and cultural stereotypes at the same time it shreds them.

This isn't a polite "the system needs fixing" movie, it's an in-your-face scream that the system is broken, perhaps beyond all repair. That idea seems only more timely now.
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Bulworth dated? Look at New Orleans today and think again!
Dominique23 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Bulworth may have been filmed in the MTV quick edit way that some find unfitting for an Oscar worthy production but, aesthetics aside, its contents are right on the mark.

Anyone who claims Beatty's/Bulworth's analysis and solutions to political problems are dated, must be living under a rock. As we speak, Bulworth's claims that "white people have more in common with black people than with rich people" are proved to be completely accurate as we look at the devastating aftermath of hurricane Katrina. Though New Orleans' population consists largely of blacks and ethnic minorities, those who were left behind had ONE common denominator: they are infirm either economically or physically i.e. they are POOR or HEALTH CHALLENGED. The TV-images show poor white people among the many poor blacks. Poverty is what sets them both back. Bulworth dated? You must be living in a socio-economically comfortable cocoon.

If anything, Beatty proved with this, both hilarious as bluntly accurate, brilliant movie to be a visionary. He puts his finger on where it hurts most: the complete corruption of the system, the hand-clapping, backslapping deals between interest groups and politicians, turning the last group into mouthpieces for selfish agendas. The hypocrisy behind the photo ops (look at Bush yesterday on the news posing with hurricane victims), the empty rhetoric, the feigning to be there for the people, when really they're only there for themselves.

People who cannot come up with more than "this is socialist rhetoric/propaganda" comments are obviously deaf, dumb and blind to the realities of (modern day) politics and therefore deserve to be duped by the leaders they so willingly, blindly, wish to trust, believe and follow. It really is true folks: "Tax payers, tax payers, take it in the rear". Wake up and smell the dung, for goodness sake!

Now for the movie itself. Some have commented that Beatty, as an affluent, middle-aged (by now senior citizen) WHITE man, cannot possibly understand what "ordinary people" go through. Think again. Beatty has been in politics for the Democrats for decades. He is one of the very few rich (DEMOCRATIC) guys who actually gives a damn about the less privileged of our society. Being rich does not equate being unable to educate oneself, nor does being white. Beatty's always had many contacts and friends in the black community with whom he exchanged ideas and concerns.

I'm colored and found nothing about the movie stereotypical or racially offensive AT ALL. Those who do, including blacks, are missing the larger picture this movie is trying to paint. Bulworth is not intended as a "white Messiah" for the "stereotypical hoodlum blacks". He is a metaphor and as a wake-up call, he NEEDS to be an extreme. The movie would not have worked if Bulworth had been a black senator, a young senator, or if Bulworth had met a white single mother Starbuck's employee. When you want to reach people, you have to wake them up, you have to make them sit up, take notice, think, and start discussing what they have just seen. THAT's exactly what this movie in THIS chosen format, with these characters, does. It completely serves its purpose. Unfortunately those who oppose the movie are even unaware that their criticism is a credit to this movie, for it apparently made them think (even if they arrive at mixed up, not understanding conclusions).

Bulworth is not perfect, but its imperfections are easily forgiven. The movie keeps moving without a dull moment in it. Beatty is hilarious and totally enjoying his part (and his freedom?) addressing everything that's wrong in this sick society with a zeal and energy that many guys half his age must envy. I love the fact that this is the first movie in which Warren dares to look his age. He has never been afraid to ridicule himself in past movies. Anybody who's into Beatty knows that horse-face Carly Simon's "You're so vain" most definitely is NOT about him. The rest of the cast is simply fantastic, too. Oliver Platt is rib-crackingly funny as the concerned, confused and finally mentally broken down campaign manager Murphy. He elevates the term "spin-doctor" to complete new heights! Joshua Malina (campaign aid Feldman) is almost as funny. Platt and Malina have some hilarious scenes together. Old Beatty favorite, veteran actor, Jack Warden is solid as ever. Halle Berry's character could have used a bit more humor, but she does a good job. Yes, it is a bit of a stretch that the gorgeous Nina would fall for the "used to be gorgeous too, but not so much anymore" aging Bulworth, but to state that without looking deeper into how she comes to her choice, is to ignore a significant part of the movie. At first she doesn't know what to make of this, seemingly confused, man. But as she follows him, his actions, his words, his attitude, she discovers that he is sincere. That combined with him being in a position in which he could actually make a much needed difference in society, makes her "change her mind" and fall for him. It's not like this young girl Nina has some geriatric preferences in the romantic department! Ariyan A. Johnson and Michele Morgan are amusing as the two enthusiastic new Bulworth "VOOOOOOLUNTEEEEEEEEEEEEERS". Paul Sorvino, Richard Sarafian, Don Cheadle are all solid. Yes, the turnaround of L.D. in the end is too quick in the making, but the alternative would be a (much) longer movie, so that's one of the very few weaknesses in the script. Last comments: - NO, Bulworth does not "only speak in rap" once he's started rapping. - NO, Bulworth is not some aging actor's ego trip. It's a wake-up call to America. - Never knew a 60 plus year old white guy could look so hilariously cute in hip hop gear. - Let the spirit take hold of you, and let it lead you to take action, now that Bulworth has been silenced.......
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One of the better films of 1998, with an unabashed comic tone. ***1/2 out of ****
Movie-1225 September 1999
BULWORTH (1998) ***1/2

Starring: Warren Beatty, Halle Berry, Don Cheadle, Oliver Platt, Isaiah Washington, and Christine Baranski Directed, produced, and written by Warren Beatty 108 minutes Rated R (for pervasive strong language, drug use, sexual references, and brief violence)

By Blake French:

I have seen a lot of movies in my time, but I have never seen anything as witty, as twisted, as entertaining, as outrageous, or as original as Warren Beatty's new political satire "Bulworth." It is, at times, funny, but at others very dark. I can't recall ever stating that a "serious comedy," is one of the years best films before. That was then, this is now--and "Bulworth" is truly one of the better film's of 1998.

As the movie opens, a US senator named Jay Billington Bulworth, hires a hit man to kill an individual of his desire. The hit man wonders exactly who this person is in which a man of such power wishes to eliminate. As it turns out, Bulworth has paid this hit man to kill his own suicidal self. "If I'm not dead by Monday, I'm canceling that check." Bulworth states firmly.

This is were the outrageous humor begins. During a campaign speech at a local African American church, Bulworth goes seemingly nuts. He begins to tell the citizens the truth about subjects in congress that most politicians would never think of revealing to the general public. His representative, Dennis Murphy, who cares only about getting Bulworth elected, almost faints in shock and disbelief. But you have to understand, these are the last days that Bulworth will be experiencing life, so why not reveal secrets, release envelop pushing information, and start up controversy with the nation with his last breaths.

"Never make life of death decisions when you're suicidal," explains Bulworth during one of the film's more invigoration sequences. He is talking to a woman named Nina, whom he met nonchalantly during one of his presentation speeches. The two of them fall in love. Too bad Bulworth has not taken his own advice typed above, for his death is near. But is Nina who she appears to be? Is his wife, Constance Bulworth, having an affair with another man? Is Bulworth's demise in the near future? All suitable questions that will all be answered when you see the movie.

Parts of the film do not work. For instance, the subplot involving Bulworth's wife who is adulterous just isn't detailed enough, nor are the characters introduced, for us to even consider this anything but a gimmick. True, the affair does symbolize chaos preoccupied in his household, and establishes another reason for him to be suicidal. Still, it's too small for a movie that offers so many good qualities.

"Bulworth" has a detailed opening that provokes empathy for our main character, Jay Bulworth. We learn of an external problem, Jay being involved in a heated presidential campaign, and an internal problem, Jay being suicidal and calling a hit on himself. The structure only goes uphill from there, and that is hard to do. Both conflicts are evolved, with Nina, Bulworth's sense of honesty, the hit man's presence, and several character & plot twists in which someone is not who they appear to be.

Along with some very dramatic and meaningful moments found in "Bulworth," also contained is dialogue that is smart, witty, and at times hilarious. The first shock value sequence is truly outrageous, and the films unabashed sense of eagerness only gets more perverse; the film is rated R for appropriate reasons, mostly coming from Bulworth's style of life he becomes involved with. The situations we're facing here are quite controversial, but Warren Beatty directs the film with a certain humorous touch. He uses effective but bizarre camera angles, and a hip cinematographer that creates aggressive chemistry between Beatty and Halle Berry during their "party animal" scenes together.

The performances in "Bulworth" entirely demonstrate that Warren Beatty is not only able to direct, write and produce well, but also that capable to lead an all star cast, including Don Cheadle, Oliver Platt, Isaiah Washington, and Christine Baranski, into an Oscar worthy overall appearance level. All of these things contribute to making "Bulworth" is of the better films of 1998, and I recommend it highly.

Brought to you by Twentieth Century Fox.
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Brilliant Warren Beatty Performance Overlooked by Oscar
drednm1 January 2006
In BULWORTH Warren Beatty gives one of his funniest and most outrageous performances. This sharp political satire is even more timely now than it was in 1998. This is a marvelously subversive movie on several fronts: politics, race, economics, Hollywood itself! Beatty stars as a fading senator from California who is so burned out he arranges for a large insurance policy and then hires a hit man. He's at the end of his rope personally and professionally. He's losing in a primary election to a young gun and has nothing left in his life. After days without sleep or eating he is dragged off to a rally at a Black church. He starts to read his "usual" speech but almost in a state of delirium he starts answering questions HONESTLY. He enrages the Black congregation with his brutal answers but somehow feels buoyant. Outside the church as the mobs surround him he runs into Halle Berry and her friends and they all take off in the limo.

This starts a voyage of discovery for Beatty. Of course at this point Beatty is also running from the hit man. His new honesty unleashes a desire to live. They arrive at a Black hip-hop club where Beatty drinks, smokes pot, and is transformed by the loud urban rap music. The dance scene with Beatty and Berry is remarkable.

Next stop is a speech at a fancy Hollywood hotel filled with film executives. Beatty makes many comments of how Jews run Hollywood, becomes rich, but turn out a crappy product. Next comes a debate with his political opponent, and finally an interview. The new Beatty parrots back much of what he has heard from poor Blacks but of course he has always known the truth. His sense of freedom from the back-room politics of Washington is exhilarating and his new voice reaches the masses of disenfranchised voters. His comments about the media and how it is controlled by corporate America is more apt now (during the Bush administration) than ever before.

Beatty is brilliant, and this ranks as one of his very best performances. Berry is actually good as well in her pre-movie star mode when she still bothered to act. Oliver Platt scores as the political aide. Paul Sorvino is a lobbyist for the insurance industry.

Jack Warden, Helen Martin, Don Cheadle, Christine Baranski, Florence Stanley, Laurie Metcalf, Sean Astin, Isaiah Washington, Nora Dunn, Joshua Malina, William Baldwin, Hart Bochner, Armelia McQueen, and Jackie Gayle co-star.

Filled with humor, political insights, and top-notch performances. This acid look at politics in Amerca is more timely now than ever. Bravo to Warren Beatty!
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No Bull, Just Bulworth
gavin694212 February 2006
I should have known this movie was going to be good because it came highly recommended by Matt Lueck, who seems to be very picky about what he considers "good" movies. This movie was exceptional.

If you don't like politics, this film might not be for you. Or maybe it would be for you even more, since all it does is attack the political system. Warren Beatty stars as a Seantor who is sick of all the lies and crap in Washington, so he takes out a life insurance policy and hires a hit-man to kill him. After partying with some ghetto people (including Halle Berry) he sees the error of his ways and tries to call the hit off. The rest of the film follows this path.

I liked the storyline of the film, but more so I liked the nuggets it dropped along the way. The claims of politicians using minorities, the reality of drug culture, the fact that greed controls health care in this country. I found myself agreeing with almost everything in this film (though the part about the elimination of all races went too far). The ending was also exactly what I expected it to be - and what I felt it should have been. Only they added an aspect I hadn't considered and I think it made the film so much better. (I'm being vague so as not to give anything away.) Warren Beatty rapping is both comical and annoying. But if you look past his "wack skillz" and listen to what he has to say about corporations, big oil, TV networks and more, you'll get so much more out of this film. I'm also not a fan of Halle Berry, but she was probably the best person for the role so I'm okay with that. Hooray for Oliver Platt and Sean Astin, both looking very slim in this movie.

Not the best film you'll see this year, but highly recommended just the same.
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Getting In Touch With Your Inner Homey
bkoganbing23 January 2007
Warren Beatty's Bulworth is one devastating satire on the political scene of the Clinton years. Sad to say things really ain't gotten any better here.

J. Billington Bulworth, Democratic Senator from California at one time rising liberal star has had to tack mighty heavily to the right in order to keep his office. Even at doing that he's facing a heavily financed rightwing opponent.

With defeat staring him in the face and no home life so to speak with both he and his wife pursuing the opposite sex, Bulworth just decides to chuck it all. His friends in the insurance industry are writing him one whopping life insurance policy and Bulworth hires a hit man to do him in.

Of course no with nothing to lose our U.S. Senator who before mouthed the political platitudes and nostrums we get from our elected officials at voting time, now starts telling some uncomfortable truths. Lack of sleep and some controlled substances produce a rapping U.S. Senator who along the way picks up some black groupie types with Halle Berry. The consequences of all these hijinks you'll have to watch Bulworth for.

One friend has compared it Network and there are certainly some similarities. I think Bulworth should be seen back to back with Robert Redford's The Candidate. If you'll remember Redford was the idealistic liberal who trimmed his sails through the advice of his hired spin doctors and got himself elected U.S. Senator from California. His Bill MacKay was wondering what he does then at the end of that film. I think Bulworth provides some answers as to a possible direction MacKay might have taken.

Warren Beatty wrote a witty script and a mean rap. Director Beatty gets some good performances by his cast and best in the supporting cast is his aide Oliver Platt who sees his whole career going down the tubes. There's a peculiar symbiotic relationship between Capitol Hill staffers and their bosses. They serve at the pleasure of, but at the same time a good one can make himself pretty valuable to his boss. Platt's such a guy, his character is quite authentic.

Remember watch Bulworth back to back with The Candidate.
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Simply A Very Odd Film
ccthemovieman-121 April 2006
I wasn't exactly sure how to rate this film, and I bet others weren't either. It's difficult to say but fascinating to watch. Some scenes are terrific, others just terrible trash.

Halle Berry plays anything but a likable lead, nor are the characters people you can root for, except for Oliver Platt in the first half of the film. Then he totally changes.

Nonetheless, this is Warren Beatty's film, anyway. He dominates it and is what makes the movie fun. Knowing him and knowing this was political, I expected big-time Liberal propaganda but didn't find any heavy-handedness there.

For a comedy, there are way, way too many f-words, even in the "music," if you want to call it that. Despite that, the film has some charm, if it's possible to use that word in a film this profane. Beatty's rap lyrics were genuinely funny, no matter what your political persuasion might happen to be. An odd film.
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Politicians ain't worth bull, says Bulworth.
Tom-But11 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Screenplay: Conceived by Beatty himself, Bulworth was committed to paper by an extraordinarily versatile trio: co-writer of one of Beatty's earlier forays Jeremy Pikser, James Toback, the adaptor of Bugsy, and Aaron Sorkin, whose renowned machine-gun fire dialogue is no stranger to politics (see The West Wing). The result is, unsurprisingly, imbalanced. The plot follows Democratic Senator Jay Bullington Bulworth, a man who has become so jaded by the American political system that he has taken a contract out on his own life, after "purchasing" $10 million worth of life insurance. This all takes place leading up to his campaign for re- election and so, with a new reckless, go for all outlook on life, he starts speaking the truth. As a rap. Yes, a rap. Warren. Beatty. Rapping. Politics. Rap. Ping. Strangely, and really bloody unexpectedly, it works! Most of the time... Kind of. I mean, how well would you expect something like that to work? In a sophisticated satire? The context is sort of there: he begins rapping to appeal to the disparaged and African-American community, where most of the focus is directed during this film. Most of what is said by Bulworth pokes holes in the financial support that insurance companies offer to candidates on both sides of the water, usually so as to enlist a vote against bills that force these companies in having to extend free health care or other such coverage to, yep, African-Americans. Not everything that he says sticks; actually, to be honest, I didn't even follow some of the logic he was spouting. But maybe I just don't have sufficient understanding of American politics. At any rate, the script is at it's best with moments of total uninhibitedness ("Everybody just got to keep f*cking each other till we're all the same colour.") and when it takes its time to make a point, as opposed to just dropping "the N word" incessantly.

Actors: Beatty's not much of a rapper. Well, that's alright I suppose. I'm a white boy from Tasmania, so who am I to judge? What's important is that he makes us believe Bulworth's erratic and quixotic frame of mind, which he does most of the time. It helps that, when he can't, he's usually operating on one or more mind-altering substances. And his chemistry with the sexy and savvy Halle Berry is palpable, making their connection surprisingly touching on some level.

Direction: Beatty has never made a bad film. He's been in a few, to be sure (Love Affair, Town & Country), but he has yet to direct a film of sub-par quality. Here, he applies a basic yet effective formula to filming Bulworth, immersing us in the unfamiliar settings that the eponymous character himself is amongst and juxtaposing us in a way that makes us empathise. We feel as out of place in these night clubs and ghetto back streets as Bulworth, but the stiltedness slowly subsides to suggest a gradual ease that he begins to feel. Nothing to get excited over, but well-executed with appropriate measure.

Potential for repeat viewings: My second viewing, and I would happily watch it again... In a while. Some might be put off by the ending(s), but I like them; the first one seems a little phony and too neat until the true ending reveals itself, adding a dignified poignancy to the film. I feel I've not said enough about the humor in this film, and I should point out that it is very funny. Not the laugh out loud sort of funny that some prefer; the humor is not obvious, not brazen or expectant of hearty bellows. But it is quietly amusing, requiring only a wry grin or occasional chuckle to be fully appreciated. And, joy of all joys, most of the time it is very, very clever. Far cleverer than me, at any rate.
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Delicious tragi-comedy
evening12 February 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Sen. Jay Billington Bulworth has sold out, lost any say in how he spends his time, and lives a "family values" lie. Suicidally depressed, he comes up with a scheme to throw in the towel and have his nemesis -- the insurance industry -- pick up the tab.

For the first time in memory, Bulworth speaks honestly and actually has some fun. To his surprise, he makes two amazing discoveries along the way -- he can actually do some good, AND find true love.

I had seen this roller coaster of a movie a while back and rediscovered it recently on Sundance. I was amazed at how well it has held up, with all its talk of Obamacare-style socialized medicine and even references to the cool vegetable du jour, kale.

There is amazing work here by Warren Beatty, who not only stars but also wrote the trenchant and hilarious script. Beatty is a poignant and believable protagonist on a high-speed road trip of outrageous public performances and flights from a suspected hit man in shades.

Among the many interesting things that Beatty highlights in this film is an appreciation for plain-spokenness in the African-American community -- as contrasted with endless beating-around-the-bush by white folk.

He says a lot about race relations that rings true today. And though he's a longtime supporter of Democratic politics, Beatty skewers both parties for being self-serving and money-grubbing.

The plot twists and casting in this film are of the highest order. Halle Berry shines as a straight-talking street tough who wins Bulworth's heart. Their frenetic dance at an underground club -- is there any better chemistry in a movie, ever? Oliver Platt and another actor whose name I don't know are sublime as Bulworth's sweating-bullets handlers, and I savored the performances of character actors Jack Warden, as Davers, and Richard Sarafian as the sloppy, crude, and gluttonous Vinny.

There are so many lessons in this film for all of us. Let's get real, people! Say what you mean, and mean what you say. If speaking in rhyme makes you happy, just do it! Don't sell out. And try to help your fellow man.

C'mon, Bulworth...get thee to the ER! And long live Bulworth!
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brainspoon23 May 2002
I just finished watching this over-hyped pile of pretentious garbage. Where to begin?...

For one thing, I hate movies that stuff political messages down my throat and preach to me. Even if I sometimes agree with the message, there are more subtle and elegant ways to convey the point then spoon feeding it to me like I'm an idiot. This movie just went on and on about how America is falling apart and run by big uncaring corporations that tell the government what to do. Well, duh. Did anyone not already know this?

And what self respecting, intelligent person would follow such a clown as Bulworth? Give me a break. So Warren Beatty dresses like a gangsta rappa and all of a sudden the entire black population stands up behind him in support? WHAT!?

So, because of Bulworth's rapping loud mouth, everything falls into place and is so perfect and happy and the world is going to be all okay? Sure. Whatever. Life isn't that simple.

The movie is boring, long, and devoid of believable characters or situations. I recommend Tim Robbin's movie Bob Roberts if you'd like a political satire that is actually funny and not just insulting.
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Sixty-something rich, white guy raps -- how original...not
Troy-2429 March 1999
I was expecting great things from this film from the trailers which advertised Beatty speaking the truth to a black congregation. But what I got was two hours of one sight gag -- a rich, old white guy rapping and jiving in the "hood" in an effort to "enlighten" the audience. One example of Bulworth's notions to improve the world is that "we should all just keep having sex with each other until we're all the same color." How brilliant! If we're all the same color, we won't have to use our minds anymore to appreciate the differences of each race. As a racially homogenous society, we will all be the same color and life will be beautiful because we'll all be the same -- I think Hitler had a similar idea.

According to the gospel of Bulworth, gun-toting juvenile delinquents can be reformed by simply buying them an ice-cream cone. And if white people would only dress like crack-dealers, snort cocaine and rap their way through life, they'd endear themselves into the hearts of black Americans everywhere.

As someone who lives in the inner-city and faces its rigors on a daily basis, I must say that Warren Beatty has unintentionally managed to illustrate exactly what a "limosine liberal" he really is -- stereotyping blacks and whites while trying to prove how "with it" an old, rich, white guy from Beverly Hills can really be.
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Beatty's back taking chances
moonspinner5528 June 2001
One of the renegade stars from the 1960's, Warren Beatty had suddenly become soft in the '90's (what with the excruciating "Love Affair"). But "Bulworth" finds him treading semi-dangerous ground again, and it is a relief. In 1996, Democratic Senator in California is running for a staid re-election, when he suddenly ditches his straight-laced campaign and concentrates on winning over black, urban voters. Beatty as a 'brother'? It's actually less painful than it sounds, and the actor/director is wise to surround himself with a very competent troupe of supporting players (including Halle Berry in the best performance I've seen from her). A well-made picture with a thoughtful message and finale, although the film's aim to be a wicked send-up of politics is slightly compromised by a dopey hit-man sub-plot. **1/2 from ****
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alimabean10 October 2000
For me to comment on a movie, I either love it or hated it. Let me start by saying that this is a horrible movie. I cannot understand why anyone would find this remotely entertaining or, for even a further stretch, funny. I have yet to meet anyone face to face who thought this was at all enjoyable.

The plot had potential. It ended up being foul-mouthed slop and an unwatchable mess. Had I been able to watch the entire thing, even the credits probably contained the F bomb.

You disagree? That usually gets followed up by "oh, you must not get it?" I got IT and IT is old hat and nothing new under the sun. Sure, political campaigns are big scams. Sure, large industry buy and sell laws. At least make it entertaining when you show me something I already know. Did anyone find humor in his political rapping or was I the only one who thought, "Man, this is garbage" ?

This would have gotten a 1 out of 10 except that the technical aspect of film making was up to par. If you do ever feel the need to rent this movie, do yourself a favor and buy a soda instead. Trust me, it's more enjoyable.
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Nothing Funny Here.....
werefox0826 March 2012
Warren Beatty co-wrote, co-produced, directed, and was the star in this political satire/ comedy. He should have given the part of Bulworth to a slightly younger --and funnier actor.Beatty just isn't funny. When you see a movie that continually tells you about things that everyone knows (money in the U.S.A. is not fairly distributed)..and other social in-justices, it becomes tiresome. At times i felt I should have been laughing, .... but its so "clever" and so very "witty" --(and repetitive)), i just watched and watched. The relationship between Bulworth and Tina (Halle Berry)has ..zero..chemistry, and is a little ridiculous. This was NOT Berries finest hour !! The film walks the fine line between humor and politics. It is an average piece of work--strangely not funny--and easy to forget.
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djc-31 April 1999
I really wanted to like Bulworth. Honest. Unfortunately, the political satire can only be taken so far. At some point I needed to relate to the characters, and I couldn't. The initial rant at the church was a step in the right direction, but the rest of the film is a series of narrative miscues and logical blunders.

Not once in the film did I care if Bulworth lived or died. Halle Berry fills the Daryl Hannah role, the beautiful but boring young woman with more screen time than she deserves. Am I really supposed to buy her "transformation"? She was so much better in "Losing Isiah".

Since there's so little story here, the satire alone has to carry the movie. But what's the point? That our political system is corrupt, that blacks are disenfranchised, that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer? Does Warren Beatty think there's anybody on the planet that doesn't know that already?

I can't understand why this dull film is so highly recommended other than the reputation of the filmmaker and his alleged high-powered political satire.
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The Worst Movie Of The Year
illannoy12 May 1999
This is the kind of self-important mess that you should come to expect from Hollywood. The limousine liberals don't have a problem with children selling crack and carrying guns. Of course, all they need is a little ice cream. Warren Beatty has it all figured out and he's going to tell it like it is. Apparently, he has a pretty decent view from his gated fortress in Beverly Hills. If we'd all just start snorting drugs and talking in rhymes, we'd all get along much better. So sayeth the gospel according to Warren Beatty.

This film is the most agonizing mid-life crisis I've ever had to the misfortune to witness. After a fairly interesting opening ten minutes, the picture nose dives into an endless, deafening gangsta-club scene where Warren Beatty's transformation from Senator to Drugged Out Rapping Whitey is complete. Suprisingly, there's no scene with the good Senator loading the backseat of his limo with bass heavy speakers so he drives around and annoys the hell out of everyone within earshot, but I'm sure he considered it. There just wasn't enough time. He had to run around on drugs rapping the truth to the uninitiated, and that's not just the fat, cigar chomping insurance monsters who were probably slum lords in a previous life. It's the audience, too. We don't know anything. They don't know anything. Nobody knows anything except for Mr. Beatty and the kids with the guns. They know. And they're going to tells us how it is.

Every frame of this miserable, wretched, god-awful mess was the worst kind of torture I've ever endured. The fact that this screenplay was nominated for an Oscar speaks volumes about the state of movies today (it ain't good).
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iclark1 May 2000
The buzz on Bulworth was that it was a daring, honest and amusing comedy that boldly confronted political taboo. I was excited to watch it, but was genuinely amazed at how absolutely terrible it was. Bulworth is a foul-mouthed, rapping politician who espouses woolly left-wing/liberal platitudes and who would last under 2 seconds in the real political arena. Most of his policies would amazingly unpopular and, it must be said, wrong. He trots out gangsters to back up his "hardcore truths", and the effect is laughable. This movie was extraordinarily painful to watch.
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Good grief...!
VynnyWard2 February 2000
I didn't really want to bother commenting on this stinker - but seeing how the current set of votes park the movie in an almost 'must see' bracket I have to interject. So, deep breath... What on earth were they thinking? By 'they' I mean everyone who was involved in this turgid nonsense. Sure it has some reasonable social commentary, but it's all wrapped up in an absurdly, childish premise combined with quite the worst performance I think I've seen from an established, confident actor. He raps? Craps more like. It's so bad I wouldn't know where to begin, so here's a summary of the pluses and minuses - Pluses... um... it's in color... okay, minuses... it's a boring, nonsensical, badly directed, amateurishly edited, unbelievably mediocre, rambling, story-less, glowingly foolish waste of time and money (i.e. yours). It's so god-awful that if this movie were to step in dog pooh, the pooh would wipe IT off it's shoe. Please believe me when I say you MUST avoid this rubbish.
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Bulworth-less--a totally reprehensible film.
Hermit C-27 October 1999
'Bulworth' is one of the most contemptible movies I have ever seen. It is the product of an overblown ego, one which belongs to Warren Beatty. Like Diogenes, it seems that Beatty has been looking for an honest man but can't find one--except for himself, of course. So he's decided to enlighten us with the "truth," as dispensed by St. Warren.

His method of doing this in this film is through a U.S. senator who makes up his mind to tell the truth no matter what. Basically, it boils down to this: Rich and powerful people have more influence than the poor and ordinary. Whatever valid points he has are lost in the shrill, dogmatic delivery of his message; his speeches sound like something from an SDS meeting at Columbia or UC-Berkeley in 1968, and they could be challenged by any competent debate student. Besides his broadsides against such things as the insurance industry, he takes a totally insulting slap at Jews, charging them with ruining the entertainment industry.

As a medium for his message, Beatty/Bulworth decides to embrace African-American culture. Like a good limousine liberal (or a benevolent plantation owner) he loves those poor black folk. They're so funky and have such inherent wisdom, you know. Of course, they need a Great White Leader to show them the way, since they're incapable of doing it themselves. Guess who that is.

One would think then, that Beatty's movie wouldn't deliver such a stereotypical and yes, racist portrait of blacks in America. Black culture is pictured exclusively as South Central L.A. hip-hop culture and practically every black character seen onscreen is an actual or quasi-criminal. It's a disgusting presentation. What's as bad as that is Beatty/Bulworth putting on ghetto fashions and attempting to rap. This is both nauseating and excruciatingly embarrassing. Perhaps Beatty should think about paying reparations to the black community for ripping off their culture in such a shameless and shoddy manner.

Bulworth becomes a populist hero in this film, making me think Beatty is somewhat delusional as well. At least he had the presence of mind to realize an actual run for the presidency was not a good idea. That would be as bad a joke as 'Bulworth' is.
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too many messages, nothing to say
tattone2 July 1999
This movie has too many goals; cover racial conflict, big business owning politicians, and the fact that our 2 party system doesn't work in one lame movie. Enough with the rap stuff...this movie would have been a whole lot better if it cut the rap. Warren Beatty rappin'? Give me a break. Old Man Beatty chasing after Halle Berry is pathetic...and he gets her. Oh, right....he directed it, too.
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