David Merrill (Robert De Niro), a fictitious 1950s Hollywood director, returns from filming abroad in France to find that his loyalty has been called into question by the House Committee on... See full summary »
Robert De Niro,
After being caught in a scandalous situation days before the election, the president does not seem to have much of a chance of being re-elected. One of his advisers contacts a top Hollywood producer in order to manufacture a war in Albania that the president can heroically end, all through mass media. Written by
The character of Winifred Ames was originally written for a man. See more »
While they are recording the song for the Albanian War, there is a shot of Stanley through the glass of the studio. The reflections of the singers do not match the words or rhythm of the song. See more »
So when we touch down tomorrow, Big Bird is going to meet Schumann at the airport, huh?
Big mistake, big mistake. You gotta bring them in by stages. Big mistake to reveal Schumann before the election.
Sweetheart, Schumann is the shark. Okay? Schumann is Jaws, you know? You have to tease them. You gotta tease them. You don't put Jaws in the first reel of the movie. It's the contract, sweetheart. The contract of the election, whether they know it or not, is "Vote for me Tuesday, Wednesday...
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Dustin Hoffman's main title credit is faded in over a close up of a vacuum cleaner. See more »
Barry Levinson's under-rated "Wag the Dog" is a brilliant piece of satire which is to the 1990s what "All the President's Men" was to the 1970s. The president is in trouble after a sexual scandal with an under-aged girl. Enter Robert DeNiro and Anne Heche who want to distract the nation with something else as they try to get their boss out of the hot seat. The only problem is: nothing is going on. So it is up to them to create something to rally the country around the executive-in-chief. Now enter sleazy, but high class Hollywood director Dustin Hoffman (in a well-deserved Oscar-nominated turn) who is contacted to start an imaginary war. He agrees and the plan works, but as time goes by more and more problems occur and the lies continue to snow-ball. Levinson's excellent direction and Hilary Henkin's clever screenplay raise the performances of all involved. Naturally DeNiro and Hoffman are guaranteed to excel in a film like this, but good work is also done by people like Heche, Denis Leary, William H. Macy, Woody Harrelson and even Willie Nelson (!?). Somewhat ignored in 1997, but still one of the best films of that year and one of the more important films of the 1990s. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
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