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Bush's Brain (2004)

PG-13  |   |  Documentary  |  13 March 2004 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 883 users   Metascore: 48/100
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An examination of political consultant Karl Rove's influence on George W. Bush's candidacy.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Cathy Bonner ...
Herself - Richards Campaign Official
Bruce Buchanan ...
Himself - Presidential Scholar, University of Texas
Max Cleland ...
Himself - U.S. Senate, Georgia (D) 1997-2003
Shirley Cuff ...
Herself - Proprietor
Robert Edgeworth ...
Himself - Professor of Classics, Louisiana State University
Kent Hance ...
Himself - Bush's Opponent for Congress 1978
Bill Israel ...
Himself - University of Massachusetts
Molly Ivins ...
Herself - Author, Political Columnist
Richard Leiby ...
Himself - 'Reliable Source' Columnist, Washington Post
Susie Lieseke ...
Wade Lieseke Jr. ...
Himself - Former Nye Co. Sheriff, Tonopah, NV (as Wade Lieseke)
Ken Luce ...
Himself - Campaign Manager for Rick Perry
Garry Mauro ...
Himself - Former Texas State Land Commissioner
Chuck McDonald ...
Himself - Former Richards Press Secretary
Dave McNeely ...
Himself - Political Columnist, Austin American-Statesman


An examination of political consultant Karl Rove's influence on George W. Bush's candidacy.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for brief strong language | See all certifications »


Official Sites:




Release Date:

13 March 2004 (USA)  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$11,927 (USA) (20 August 2004)


$11,927 (USA) (20 August 2004)

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs



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User Reviews

Needs work.
18 September 2004 | by (Chicago IL, United States) – See all my reviews

Bush's Brain was revealing, but loses focus near end. Shows that Rove has been sleazy -- very sleazy -- throughout his political career in Texas but not exactly how he manipulates George Bush today.

The 2000 Presidential campaign, the part of the movie that would have answered the film's opening question "How could this have happened?" is not really covered at all; rather the film goes abruptly ahead to the 9/11 episode. Film goes for pathos near end by showing a particular soldier who died early in Iraq thing, similar to Moore's film Fahrenheit 9/11, but does not tie war dead specifically to theme of Rove's being Bush's Svengali and how "this" (Bush's presidency) could have happened.

As other viewers have commented, the film's own agenda, to show Karl Rove as a sinister villain, is in conflict with the visuals of Rove as a pleasantly pudgy, self-effacing nerd. There is a distinct danger that the audience may decide finally that that visual image wins, rather than the text of the movie. Remember the scene, apparently based on a true story I read, in Broadcast News where Holly Hunter's character shows a video of a worldwide domino competition in order to portray "soft news" in a negative light; instead the comical, diverting image of tumbling domino tiles is the only part of her recitation to which anyone pays attention. The Bush's Brain people should have learned from such examples and done more to show that Rove's commercial image is what's being contested.

Do see this movie, for the sake of the facts of Karl Rove's seamy career that it does succeed in showing. It's also a good example of combining "talking heads" with other footage in a documentary to keep the audience's level of alertness piqued now and then, compared to the occasionally dulling effect of recent anti-Bush documentaries Outfoxed and Uncovered. Ironically those two are far superior films.

Seems as if a more nearly complete documentary had been planned, but that this one was rushed into release in order to be timely and to influence voters before coming election. May, rather, hurt progressive agendas that this movie is not as well done as it should have been.

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Why is no one talking about this movie?? BEARisonFord
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Karl Rove: Traitor? trshea65
Thanks to Rove's own admission... trshea65
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