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|Index||16 reviews in total|
I missed this TNT original back in 2000 and, honestly, forgot all about
it. I was browsing through my Netflix listings one day and there it
was. I sat down to watch it without any preconceived views and was
pleasantly surprised by the result.
I've read some other critical reviews of this movie on this website. Frankly, I'm surprised by some of the comments. What the heck is wrong with just an old-fashioned, "feel good" movie? And who better to pull these off than a stellar cast like the one featured here? I'm not expecting aching Russian drama. I'm not really expecting the ironic, leave the theatre wondering twist of Redford's THE CANDIDATE.
I do agree with one reviewer that the build up to Selleck's final speech on the platform at the convention lacked tension. I was reminded of Rob Reiner's THE American PRESIDENT, when we see President Sheppard walking the halls of the White House, mulling things over after his scene with girlfriend Annette Benning. That build up to his final scene when he gives his passionate speech to the White House press Pool was nicely staged. We knew he was going to do the right thing. The tension was in wondering when, and especially how, he was going to do it.
Tom Selleck is a powerful presence on screen. Good looking and with a voice that carries charm and deep emotion. His portrait of Gen. Eisenhower (while he didn't actually look a hick of lot like Ike, or have Ike's high pitched voice) did convey honor and genuine, deep emotions. He gave us not an exact portrait of Ike, but an emotional one, much like George C. Scott's portrait of Gen. Patton.
It takes such an actor to deliver speeches like the one that climaxes both RUNNING MATES and THE American PRESIDENT. It is the emotional portrait, rather than an exact photograph that is at the core of movies like these. This may not be the way it is, we agree, but it darn well is the way it should be. Give me a good guy, a hero who must be tempted, and occasionally swayed, but who can be counted on in the end to do the right thing. Obvious and predictable? Sure. But what's wrong with heroes?
This film is also not at all a waste of the talents of Laura Linney, Teri Hatcher, Nancy Travis or Faye Dunaway. It's good entertainment. It's more of a MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON than it is THE BEST MAN, (Henry Fonda) one of the very best political dramas on stage or screen. Many film critics begin their reviews by saying that "this movie could have been so much better if only . . . " What they're really saying is, " . . . if only I had written the script or directed." I look at films for what they actually are and look for their strengths before complaining about their weaknesses, the famous "if only."
What I really liked was that this film is so different to the usual film fare. And I mean there were more female roles than male, and I am a male. It seems female actors have so many fewer parts to play and display their talents. Each of them was a real 3 dimentional player and added to the pleasure watching this film. This was not a dramatic film but a comedy with some serious moments and should be judged as such. Nancy Travis, Laura Linney and Teri Hatcher deserve to be seen more often before they have to take middle-age parts like Faye Dunaway. All in all I enjoyed this film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Tom Selleck is just perfect as the governor who is chosen as Democratic
nominee for president. Laura Linney is equally perfect, as his smart,
energetic, workaholic campaign manager. The movie runs along nicely and sets
us up for a good dramatic conclusion, but to me fumbled on the
three-yard-line, and finished up as just an average movie, somewhat of a
let-down after the fine build-up.
some SPOILERS follow, don't read further unless you've seen the movie.
The presidential nomination is boosted along by hard-edge politicians who offer Selleck a large sum of money with the understanding that he will be in their pocket. On the verge of choosing their man as VP running mate, he fires Linney. But at the last minute, he rejects all that and chooses the man that he should have in the first place. The disappointed politicians vow to block his favored legislation. To me, the ending just fell flat, and spoiled a fine build-up over the first 75 minutes or so. He did the right thing, but it just didn't have any passion connected with it. The median IMDb rating of 6 is about right.
TNT had been promoing this one since the winter primary season, so I
expected something like a blockbuster. Fool me once . . . Actually,
Mates" has its likeable moments and it did close with an uplifting plot
turn, though it was one you could see coming. The scenes came fast, which
thought worked, and the editing kept the story moving.
The disappointments were in the utter phony silliness of certain aspects of what was a crackling good presentation much of the time. For example, the character of the Texas VP hopeful; that style wouldn't have worked in a good movie or TV show 40 years ago. The four women all having something in common with Tom Selleck's Gov. Pryce was a forced issue and hard to believe -- and also unnecessary. The vice-presidential decision coming on the night of Selleck's acceptance speech was likewise fiction and likewise not necessary; just a cheap hook to keep viewers tuned in all the way to the final credits.
There were a lot of good vignettes, the real TV personalities gave the movie a newscast feel, and Selleck and Bob Gunton as the reluctant VP candidate were the best of a good cast. Overall, a slick production that was certainly watchable. But it seems to me if you're doing this kind of thing during a political convention and tying in so many real events, you'd want to make the entire movie as real as possible. The production/directorial decisions that deviated from that are hard to fathom.
I just watched this film tonight, quite coincidentally at the same time
as the votes are being counted for the 2004 US presidential election.
The film concerns the political skullduggery involved in the nominating of a running mate for a Democratic presidential candidate played by an almost unrecognizable Tom Selleck. He is a bit of ladies' man inspiring unwavering devotion from his faithful followers and his legion of loved and discarded women who still work for him and believe in him even after the affair is done (could part of his character be modeled on that last charismatic Democrat president we ask ourselves?).
Laura Linney has a strong part as his clever campaign manager, Teri Hatcher a less showy part as a press secretary, and Faye Dunaway a very showy supporting part (the type of role she excels in these days) as the wife of a senator hoping to get a place on the ticket.
This is not a bad film and quite interesting for anyone interested in politics. It does not withstand comparison to the similar but superior "Primary Colors", but it is still not bad. The cast is good but the heartwarming ending is a little hokey for this hardened cynic.
I know it sounds corny but MATES, written by female scribe Claudia Salter,
pulls out all the punches in letting you know this candidate, Magnum
himself, is a man of dignity and pride. A man our country so desperately
needs in our cynical, money grabbing world that is our society today. It's
the Clinton aftermath and Pryce and his loyal campaign manager Lauren,
(Laura Linney) who has wanted to be president herself ever since she was a
child, is leading Pryce into a smooth victory using all the manipulating
tasks and strategies that are most assuredly common place in today's
elections. Including having Pryce's daughter run up to him while he is on
camera for a `planned spontaneous emotional moment.'
This infuriates Mrs. Pryce (Nancy Travis) who tells the overzealous Lauren, `You are never to use my daughter again. She will not be a tool in your campaign agenda!' Meow! But something suggests these women have more in common than the concern of Governor Pryce. Lauren is also an ex-girlfriend of his, and so are his social secretary (Teri Hatcher) and one of his political chums (Faye Dunaway), who desperately wants Prcye to choose her husband (Robert Culp) as his VP. Apparently before Pryce devoted all his love to Mrs. Pryce he passed his love around generously.
RUNNING MATES, a TNT Original film, is good TV but without much controversy. Sure there is an established 'bad guy' (Bruce McGill) who would do anything to nab the job of vice president, it's quite clear he doesn't have a chance in hell of being president so why not the next best thing. But overall the film is consistently too nice. In one out of place scene Lauren has a dispute with Pryce and storms off to her hotel room and then, `knock-knock', she is suddenly surrounded by all his exes and his current wife. They all console her and then compare sex stories with Pryce, including his wife!? This comes out of no where when just minutes earlier the women didn't care for each other in the least. It seems to have been added only to fit the bill of having all these ladies (Travis, Dunaway, Hatcher, Linney) in a room together talking smut.
And just when you thought Pryce might turn out to be a sellout something remarkable happens right out of left field. No explanation is given as to why and a much needed previous scene to suggest his mind frame is non-existent. Instead we are left to read his mind and think, `He did it because it was the right thing to do, right?' But, then again, that's never stopped a politician before? So who knows!
If only a real politician would act like this. Tom Selleck's character is a
two term governor from Michigan, running for the Presidency, who still
hasn't sold his soul to interest groups. Will he/won't he? That's the
question. Good thing he wasn't offered money by Buddist nuns. All in all
an entertaining film and far better than the reruns on this time of year.
I tuned in to see Laura Linney a tremendously underrated talent, and was pleasantly surprised with a good story and an ensemble cast of people I wish we saw more of.
Worth a watch...I gave it a 7.
Good overall, but I thought the bathroom scene with 3 ex-lovers discussing their flings in the presence of the candidate's wife was gratuitously tacky and tasteless. Cut that scene, and this would get several more stars. The scene where the candidate waits to the end of his Acceptance Speech to reveal his choice of running mate is unrealistic, but dramatically effective. Tom Selleck is a commanding presence. Robert Culp is cast to type as the somewhat sleazy,untrustworthy chap. Faye Dunaway plays the role of the drunken,neglected wife convincingly. Laura Linney was well cast - as was the film as a whole. Selleck has been good in everything he has been in.
This is a "Robert Kennedy" movie. It portrays things as they aren't and
asks "Why not?"
Witty and topical, it reminds me of the somewhat superior "Barbarians at the Gate". It not "The Candidate" either, but it entertains effortlessly. If the ending is predictable, it is also emotionally satisfying.
The biggest surprise is the degree of language and nudity in a commercial cable movie. We get not one, but two lingering views of Teri Hatcher's backside. Even NYPD Blue hasn't shown this much skin for such long shots.
As a political junkie, I am more likely to enjoy political-themed movies like this one. While 'Running Mates' has some good ingredients (mainly Bob Gunton's populist U.S. Senator), it has some bad ingredients too. The approach is heavy-handed, to say the least. For example, how do we know the U.S. Senator backed by big business is supposed to be a bad guy? He refers to Laura Linney's character (Selleck's campaign manager) as 'bitch' instead of using her real name while they discuss business in a professional setting. And Dunaway is awful, looking wretchedly made-up and overacting outrageously as a onetime flame of Selleck's. And for this she got a Golden Globe nomination? At least Robert Culp (as Dunaway's Senator husband) underplays his part (what little there is of it anyway). Tom Selleck is kind of low key and pretty bland in the lead. However, if he was trying to go for the bland politician look, he nailed it. How much safer of a candidate could Selleck be? Even his climatic convention speech is pretty tame, and that's the CLIMAX! Overall, a decent time, if you get past all of those clichés. The cast is pretty good (especially Gunton and Nancy Travis), aside from Dunaway's occasional outbursts and Bruce McGill's slime-ball Senator (though there's not much else he could have done with such a one-note character). And what's with that misleading movie poster? It shows Linney holding hands with Travis (who plays Selleck's wife), insinuating a possible same-sex twist to the story. However, as the movie unfolds, it is obvious that no such link exists. The two aren't even close! Did the filmmakers need to lure viewers that bad? This, nominally a 6, gets bumped down to a 5 because of that poster debacle. Talk about a cheap shot. If you want to see a good political movie check our Bob Roberts (with Tim Robbins). It is a more polished candidate, while Running Mates is more a political hack.
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