7.3/10
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13 user 6 critic

Anytown, USA (2005)

Three Candidates, Two blind Politicians, One Race. Anytown USA follows a tightly run race in the small town of Bogota, New Jersey and resonates as an all-too-familiar look at partisan politics in our increasingly polarized nation.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Steve Lonegan ...
Himself
Fred Pesce ...
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Dave Musikant ...
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Doug Friedline ...
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Bill Palatucci ...
Himself
George Shaloub ...
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Joe Noto ...
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Melissa Schnipp ...
Herself
Tom Layson ...
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Janine Strafaci ...
Herself
Drew Speier ...
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Alan Bookspan ...
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Allison Bookspan ...
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Eileen Karpoff ...
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Tom Dematrakis ...
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Storyline

All politics is local in this hilarious burlesque of a documentary following a tightly-run mayoral race in the small town of Bogota, New Jersey. When the much-reviled--and legally blind--Republican incumbent Steven Lonegan boldly announces he will run for re-election, the citizens of Bogota go on the offensive to unseat him. Enter Democrat Fred Pesce, coaxed from retirement to share the ticket. With his health in question, and his politics compared to those of Tony Soprano, the field is wide open for sight-challenged town booster and former local football hero Dave Musikant to step in as a long-shot write-in independent candidate--officially making it the only mayoral race in the nation where two of the three candidates are legally blind! Add to the mix the machinations of Jesse "The Body" Ventura's campaign manager, and Anytown USA resonates as an all-too-familiar look at the charade of partisan politics in our increasingly polarized nation. Written by Jamie Hook

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All Politics is Local

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9 December 2005 (USA)  »

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Special Thanks... Indiana Jones See more »

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Edited from Tuesday in November (1945) See more »

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Written and Performed by Luis Dominguez
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Politics in a Petrie Dish
28 January 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Anytown U.S.A. (by Alan Campbell for the JEDSEY JOURNAL 06-I)

Yes the candidate's a dodger, yes a well known dodger, - Yes the candidate's a dodger, yes and I'm a dodger too.

He'll meet you and treat you and ask you for your vote, - But look out boys he's a dodgin' for a note,

Yes we're all dodgin', a dodgin', dodgin', dodgin', - Yes we're all dodgin' out away through the world.

(A song popular with western farmers after the Civil War)

There's that tale about Hollywood and politics where the movie mogul Jack Warner first hears that one of his old studio actors is running for governor. "No, no, not Ron Reagan for governor. Jimmy Stewart for governor. Ronald Reagan for best friend." That's not only about the typecasting of actors, but about the way Hollywood has caused people to look at reality through the camera lens. The actual candidates for high office don't measure up to the likes of Jimmy Stewart, Robert Redford or John Travolta but they work hard to come as close to the ideal as a talented, good-looking dodger can, and hope the public will give them the nod in spite of their shortcomings.

"Anytown U.S.A." is a documentary about small-town politics and doesn't cast any actors, so it can't match the Hollywood standard as it takes you through the 2003 campaign for the Mayor of Bogota, NJ. But as you watch the three candidates on camera, you might ask yourself whether even great movie stars with big money behind the show could give the same sense of realism. There's something very real about real people. Could any ensemble of actors produce something this real?

And there are things real life dares to do that Hollywood wouldn't. Would the pros approve a script where the three candidates share four serious health problems, (blindness being the mildest condition)? Would you kill off a candidate soon after he gives his all? Is it too corny for the school football team to have a great year after a bad start?

When the leaves start turning color and falling, it's the season for the people to choose the leaders who will serve them. There's a natural drama to the story, but without the editing it wouldn't come out at you. You can imagine that the crew had quite a bit of fun shooting the campaign, but the really heavy work and artistic skill was in cutting down a vast amount of footage to tell the story briskly. It's a good story, a real story, and the way it's told (without contrivances or hoked up crises) it might even go some way to reinforce your faith in democracy.


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