|Index||9 reviews in total|
The prior reviewer of THE PARTY'S OVER takes issue with the editor's
not to cut the Republican and Democratic conventions in a parallel, us
versus them fashion. That's fine and dandy, except that was not the
of the film.
Documentary is an odd beast that few people understand. The uproar behind Michael Moore's BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE came in part because Moore *gasp* didn't specifically edit in sequence; sometimes his reactions to the words weren't the reactions given as the subject spoke. "They are lies!" the Right chanted, assuming the use of B roll caused Moore's film moot. Forget that everything Charlton Heston says on camera is, in fact, what Charlton Heston said to Michael Moore.
Frederick Wiseman, the grandpappy of cinema verite, would be the first person to tell you that documentary film is not the Truth in the way that ye olde traditional audience would expect it. How can it be? Someone chooses to film specific subjects, use specific music, edit in a specific fashion because it begets the theme of the film. This doesn't make documentary a faux relayer of society; it makes it more real than the simulacrum we inhibit, because the filmmaker chooses not to let society dictate her parameters.
I'm not saying THE PARTY'S OVER (its name through FILM MOVEMENT) is a great film; expecting the Green Party to fill the role of protagonist is a large hope to pin, and this is coming from a Green supporter. What the film does do well is document what happened, showing us things we didn't see on the news -- protests in Philiadelphia, questionable police brutality, the shutting down of protests that were zoned for a longer period of time, and the lack of substantial difference between the Republican and Democratic parties.
The best lines come from the politicians themselves -- Barney Frank, Christopher Shays, Henry Ford, and Gary Johnson all make great points about the inefficiencies of the system they inhabit, and they come at it from different sides of the aisle (who knew Frank was a Republican?). At the same time, turgid yes men like Newt Gingrich, Tim Hutchinson, and John Kerry come off as nothing more than arms of the establishment.
If you expect a beginning, middle, and end to this film, you'll be disappointed. If you want to see a part of history you didn't get from Tom Brokaw, it's good viewing. Unfortunately, your political views will color how you perceive this film, as the number of 10 and 1 ratings here do show.
I am a liberal.
The first viewing of this film presents some serious filmmaking problems. I
had no problem with the sequential editing, but the editing in general was a
problem. This is MTV style editing. Lots of fast cuts, unstable shots, and
so forth. I got used to it, but it still makes it look as low-budget as it
is. There is a heavy use of music. I understand that music is an important
part of any movie, but this seems almost like there is too much of an
emphasis on it. I watched this for a second time, and the movie worked a
whole lot better, although the editing/camerawork bothered me again. I
hardly view the end as being partisan. Equal amounts of gore/bush
protesters are out. The only thing I see is that the Gore protesters are
concerned about their votes not counting, and the Bush protesters seem to
focus on the idea of Gore being a sore loser. If you view that in a
partisan way, it'll be partisan. To me, it isn't.
The film is about the fact that the government does not represent everyone. I will concede that this film makes Nader out to be a hero. I found that I liked his ideas, although I would attribute some of that to his glorification in this film. The only thing that Hoffman outwardly seems to reject is the idea that all good will comes from religion. Otherwise, he really gives both sides an even view, and seems bored with the lack of content in either party.
The Party's Over is a carefully constructed and thought-provoking look at
both the democratic and republican parties, centering around each of their
conventions before the 2000 election. The film makers got access to both
conventions and do a wonderful job of showing the amazing hypocrisy of the
US democratic process.
The film makers are clearly and unapologetically left-leaning, but that doesn't translate to sparing anyone. Only the greens come out well, but even that is undermined by the outcome of the 2000 election, which is the film's enervating denouement.
Mr. Hoffman does a great job with the interviews, becoming more confident as he moves along, and there's a charming exchange between him and Michael Moore, to whom he bears physical similarity.
An interesting look at both political parties in America, The Party's Over is a movie about just that. A look into the 2000 election for President and how corrupt and misguiding both political parties are and how the youth of today has been programmed to become consumers. Although the movie did not have a large budget to use, the film scores big with its audience. Sad but true, the Party's Over captures what is happening in Washington DC and in the White House. The addition of having celebrity interviews, a segment on Ralph Nadar's involvement with the 2000 election and the hidden corruption behind the Bush and Gore administration makes the documentary a delight, no matter what political party you belong to.
Political neophyte and open-eyed observer Hoffman leads us on a trail through the Presidential campaign and election of 2000. The film is a depressing illumination of the selfishness pervasive in America (as a synonym for Libertarianism in the Conservative movement), of the events leading up to the election of George W. Bush, and the stifling of public debate and protest along the way, and of the crookedness of the election results, which put into power the most self-interested administration and one less committed to genuine altruistic compassion than any other, elected by deceit and money, and the impotence of a voting public, that in large measure sees itself disenfranchised by corporate and party domination.
I don't think that there could have been a better choice than Philip Seymour Hoffman for this film. He is without a doubt the most unbiased person involved in the entire production. The rest of the film is well done and presents a very interesting take on the state of politics in the country today. Toward the end, however, the liberal bias which was kept in check for the first three quarters of the film became extremely apparent. The portrayal of the election aftermath is predictably one-sided and undermines the objectivity of the film, and in turn the argument it makes calling for a change in politics.
For most of its duration, this entertainiing documentary seems
to aim at the "both sides are identical in that they are equally
indebted to corporations" logic until the very end when the Bush
bashing starts which doesn't favor the democrats as much as it
illustrates the absurdity of the 2000 election. In a no win situation it
always seems prescient in afterthought to impale the winner. At first this stance appears inconsistent until it becomes clear
that this film proposes the Green Party and Ralph Nader as a the
supposed solution to this both sides bad pardigm . The bloom is far off the rose for this argument because it was
Nader who in fact enabled the "victory" of Bush thus underscoring
the danger of naivete and over simplification during the electoral
process. The jingoistic attitude of America continues to this very
writing. Now, much thanks to Nader and political thinking like the left
leaning bias ultimately revealedin this film, we have ironically
arrived at Bush and a war about which the spy novelist / cold
warrior John LeCarre has written; " Don't pretend that this is not
religiously based. Don't pretend this is not a crusade. Don't
pretend this isn't about oil. Don't pretend this isn't about making a
fortune and keeping the American people on their heels in fear"
Aside from that Mrs Lincoln, it was a pretty good play. six
An unshaven, chubby American in casual clothing is trying to find out what's
wrong with America, on screen. Ah, I must be talking about Bowling for
Columbine? No, in fact this review is concerned with Last Party 2000, and
the unshaven interviewer/narrator is Philip Seymour Hoffman, an actor
regularly cast as sidekick, and not Michael Moore, the comic voice of the
First of all, let's look at the themes: Last Party 2000 deals with the
political disillusion of the population, by focusing on the 2000 elections.
The events surrounding these elections are documented, supporters of both
sides are interviewed, a sense of bewilderment seeps through the entire
documentary; in short, all elements for a great and inspiring documentary
appear to be there. All elements apart from entertainment and
In the end, this has to be a comparative review. This is unfair - Last Party
2000 was filmed and released years before Michael Moore's masterwork about
the reasons behind America's problem with (gun-related) violence. But the
visual similarities, the similar aims, the similar cast of strange Americans
(including appearances by Michael Moore and Charlton Heston), ...
practically force a 2003 viewer to feel a deja vu. A deja vu which painfully
highlights the shortcomings.
The first flaw is simply that Last Party tries to present itself as an
objective documentary, the removed outsider holding up a mirror. A noble
cause this may be, but there is little fun to be had that way. Worse, the
objectivity is cast into doubt and eventually discarded, in favour of a
decidedly partial view of the election. The hero is neither democrat nor
republican, it is Ralph Nader of green fame. So while we get to see snippets
of televised discussions between Gore and Bush that show the similarities
between them, only Nader gets the chance to stand out in a favourable way.
One serious problem caused by the pretence impartiality is that both sides get to talk too much. Michael Moore carefully picked his subjects, filling his documentary with fanatical idiots on the one hand and carefully spoken people on the other. He never interviewed any sane person opposing his views, or any nutjob supporting them. He edited the interviews to provide the maximum scare factor and humour, or maximum content, depending on the views of the interviewee. Being openly biased helped Bowling for Columbine by allowing the film to be frightening and partially funny, convincing and fast-paced. Last Party, on the other hand, is poorly edited. Where Columbine shows Charlton Heston holding up a rifle, growling menacingly "from my cold dead hands", Last Party also shows the preceding "And to you, Gore...". No pace, little humour, and nothing to sustain interest. These flaws are most visible in two very poorly produced sequences.. First of all, there's the coverage of the two party conventions, and then there's Jesse Jackson. Republicans and Democrats held gigantic conventions preceding the elections. Both were surrounded by semi-violent protests, and both featured people making surprisingly identical statements about why they support their particular side. In the documentary, these conventions are shown in sequence, and not edited in parallel. This drags down the pace, requires the viewer to recall statements from ten minutes before and is simply not as effective as it could be. The second point, Jesse Jackson's interview, highlights another flaw rather painfully. We see the interviewers before and after the interview, sweating and remarking how nervous they are about seeing such a famous person. An interview where the interviewers are in awe of their subject? How professional is that? It highlights another problem: We get to see far too much of the documentary makers, with little justification. Bowling for Columbine may have been a one-man-show for Moore, but at least he was funny. Last Party 2000 features a group of surprisingly boring filmmakers, putting themselves into the centre far too often.
So we have a slow-paced, poorly edited, rather tedious, pretense impartial but actually biased vanity project of a documentary. Fine. I could live with that. Except, they then proceed to show the election aftermath, in the final minutes of the film. How can they justify dragging out the pre-election circus for hours if they then cut the post-election scandals into a five-minute sequence? Wouldn't that have been interesting enough to warrant a documentary all of its own? The final verdict is simple: They needed a better editor, and much more courage in presenting their views. The pre-election circus could have been cut down to a healthy 45 minutes, with another 45 minutes left for the post-election chaos. As it is, this documentary is not worth watching.
Straight away, I'll disclose that I'm fascinated by politics and my
views are probably to the left of most Nader voters, yet I've given
over 5% of my income to the Democratic Party, Democratic candidates and
pressure groups traditionally allied with the Democratic Party in
This documentary takes the same cynical view of American politics most people use as an excuse to not involve themselves in the democratic process: Republicans and Democrats are the same. I think that this has been refuted by past five years--and it was simplistic and naive, at best, to think so before then. We get side-tracked by tactics of the LA and Philadelphia police departments, which would be good grounds for a POV documentary on PBS, and a number of other dead-end subtopics. Then, we get to see a few things C-SPAN and the networks failed to show, like the shadow convention--one of the reasons I give this a low average rating, rather than a poor rating.
What this documentary and so many others fail to disclose is that we do live in a multi-party democracy within a two party system. The different factions within the Democratic and Republican Parties essentially give us the same choices one sees in the advanced multi-party democracies of Europe and elsewhere. We get to vote in primaries, they don't. Very briefly, Hoffman allows Barney Frank (always wise, witty and worthy of one's attention) to tell it like it is: Those on the left have abandoned the Democratic Party, if not the democratic process entirely, allowing it all to drift to the right. Simply put, most of those on the far right vote Republican. Most of those on the left don't vote, or waste their votes on people like Nader. Hence, Republicans win, Democrats lose. Unfortunately, Congressman Frank's wisdom (two minutes?) is almost wasted among the garbage here. I don't mean to split hairs here, but Rep. Frank was incorrectly identified with (R-MA) rather than (D-MA). Evidence of careless fact-checking? A thoughtful discussion with William Baldwin was the only other redeeming factor here. Unfortunately it was edited out, presumably because his was a progressive voice somewhat favoring the Democratic Party. It's among the extras on the DVD. Interestingly, among the predictions asserted by those being interviewed in this film, his are most eerily true.
All in all, I would praise this if it were an effort by high school students. However this was done by people who should know better. Hopefully now they do.
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