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(2006)

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Well intentioned miss
Tony4311 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
First, let me offer a personal note. I was at the Ambassador Hotel the night Senator Robert F. Kennedy was shot, although I had to leave the hotel to perform my own job as a wire service journalist before the Senator came down to the ballroom, so I was not there after midnight when the shooting took place. However, my wife at the time was there and for one moment, was one of those standing over Kennedy's body. I was back at the office working on the Kennedy victory story when word came though of the shooting. It was devastating, even more so for me because we learned very quickly that a woman was among those shot, but there were no ids available and in the days before cell phones, I had no way to reach my wife. It was hours before she was able to get to a pay phone to call me and let me know she was alright.

That all made watching the last few minutes of this film very difficult for me, even though the incident took place nearly four decades ago.

The assassination segment is gut wrenching to say the least, as are the newsreel clips of Kennedy on the campaign trail.

Other positives of the film are the acting and overall direction from Emelio Estevez.

The problem for me with this film was, I could not get a real handle on what it was saying. About 90 percent of the movie gives us capsule glimpses into the lives of people either working or staying at the Ambassdor before the shooting.

We find out the hotel manager is having an affair with a switchboard operator, a bus boy has Dodger tickets he will not be able to use, two college age nerds drop acid for the first time, and a comely young lady is going to marry a boy to keep him from being sent to Vietnam. (I'm not sure that actually worked, as many married men I knew wound up getting sent to Nam in that era. And I met many others while I was in the army.) Okay, the idea was to show us, not just a cross section of 60s culture, but also a glimpse into the lives touched by the assassination. Trouble is, we got a lot of their back stories, but since the film ends with the shooting, we never get to see what impact this terrible night had on them, other than that some, but not all of them, are among the wounded.

Consequently, it is never clear to me what all these stories add up to. For instance, Anthony HOpkins and Harry Bellefonte play a couple of retired hotel doormen who are apparently allowed to spend their retirement years hanging out in the hotel lobby, playing chess. Cute, but irrelevant to the story, since they don't even talk about politics on this, California primary day.

Again, some of these people are apparently fictionalized versions of those wounded, but they all survive and what we never find out is, was this incident life changing for them. And if it was, is it any different for them than it is for any other crime victim? For me, the assassination was and I eventually dropped out and went to Europe for a while. I don't know what happens to the people here and since I got so much back story, I feel cheated. Did the hotel manager and his wife reconcile? Did the boy who got shot get sent to Nam anyway? Did the two college boys become hard core stoners? Did either of them score with the hot lunch counter waitress?

I think this script needed some major adjustments to make the film work for me.
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10/10
One of the best of the year
highkite10 October 2006
If you're sitting in the back row of a theater, hiding your tears as the credits roll for a movie, you know it delivered the emotional effect it was aiming for. I was lucky enough to catch "Bobby" at the Toronto Film Festival -- its North American premier -- and what I got was an incredibly beautiful story, cinematically gripping to say the least.

Like in all great ensemble movies, "Bobby" offers a stellar cast, none of whom disappoint. From the neurotic and self-conscious character of Samantha (played by Helen Hunt) to the outspoken, confident Edward Robinson (Laurence Fishburne), there is a vast mixture of personalities that work to provide a complex interwoven plot line. But the most notable performance (and the most surprising) is that of Virginia Fallon. Brillianty portrayed by Demi Moore, Virginia is a foul-mouthed, insecure alcoholic who sways around on screen in delicate form, both heartbreaking and beautiful to watch.

Director-writer Emilio Estevez put his heart into this project. The direction is without a doubt highly impressive. The subtle colorful hues reflect the emotional grip of each scene, and extenuate a modern feel to the film. He puts us head-first in the crowd that witnessed the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, on what would seem to be one of the most heartbreaking moments in American history.

But what really stands out in this movie is not the screenplay, nor directing, nor acting. The emotional intensity is brilliantly brought out through the use of sound. An actual audio footage of RFK is heard in the background as the tense score sways by over the muted dialogue. And what works for this type of film-making is the amount of anticipation it builds up, and even after pivotal scenes, the impact it leaves on the audience.

There is a key scene in the movie in which all the characters prepare to greet RFK when the energy of the entire screen seemingly drips with positivity towards the American society. It's as though we forget the fatal tragedy and give into the thought of this story having a happy ending. We are reminded of classic ensemble films such as "Short Cuts", "Magnolia" and "Crash" and immediately juxtapose that feeling.

Though I do fear that politically this movie may not hit home for a lot of the critics once it hits a wide release, it is definitely going to leave a lasting impression on the majority who sees it. It's a movie that presents a magnificent cast, superb directing, and flawless scriptwriting. An undoubtedly obvious ingredient for the Awards season.
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10/10
A life changing movie
Suzanne Maxim21 November 2006
This movie has the power to change the world, if people take a moment to think about it. The theater was packed, and all left silent, most very emotional. The message that Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King were giving is no longer being said by our current leaders, and that is a very sad thing. The work they were doing should not have fallen by the wayside when they were assassinated, but it seems that it has. The current message we are getting is quite the opposite. Massive kudos to Emilio Estevez for giving us this message again through his movie. The acting was amazing, the writing perfect, and the direction was incredible. What I took from this movie is that we should all take the time to really think about who we're putting in power and what they will do with that power. Take the time to vote. Without your vote as your voice, you have no power to give. As RFK said "Few will have the greatness to bend history; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events...Each time a man stands up for an ideal...he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance."
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10/10
Bobby is Oscar
Clayton Davis15 September 2006
"Bobby" which tells the story of the assassination of Robert Kennedy, the little brother of the late and also assassinated President John F. Kennedy, and what was going on 16 hours before it happened. We are thrown back and forth between 22 extraordinary characters and stories. Emilio Estevez writes, directs, and co-stars; he has truly elevated his level of direction and writing. This is coming from the same man who brought us hit and miss films like "Men at Work" and "The War at Home." He parallels us through a journey of injustice, racism, prejudice, adultery, and more. This film much like "Crash" with its unsubtle undertones of encroachment could be the multi-character film that has the "Good Night, and Good Luck feel that speaks assertively to America.

This film leads an all-star cast of some A and B-list actors. William H. Macy plays the manager of the famous Ambassador Hotel (which the Oscars were held at a few times) and Sharon Stone plays his wife and hairdresser of the hotel. Heather Graham plays one of switchboard operators whom Macy is having an affair with. Demi Moore plays Virginia Fallon, the alcoholic lounge singer who is set to introduce the doomed candidate of the presidency. Estevez portrays Moore's husband and manager being tormented emotionally by his wife's addiction. Lindsay Lohan, who has a step now to bring herself into more serious roles, depicts Diane, a young bride to be, who is marrying her boyfriend's brother to keep him from going to Vietnam. Elijah Wood plays the future and very grateful husband. Freddy Rodriguez known for his role in "Six Feet Under" and Jacob Vargas known for his supporting roles in "Traffic" and "Jarhead," play Mexican kitchen staff members who are working a double shift and are in search of equality. Laurence Fishburne is Edward Robinson, an older black kitchen staff employee who is teaching his fellow compatriots about offering more to life than anger. Joshua Jackson and Nick Cannon are campaign managers for the infamous Bobby. Real life father of Emilio Estevez, Martin Sheen is Jack, a depressed older man who marries a younger woman portrayed brilliantly by Helen Hunt. Christian Slater is Timmons the very racist kitchen staff manager who is not subtle about his feelings towards minorities. And veterans Sir Anthony Hopkins and Harry Belafonte are John Casey, a veteran worker of the Ambassador and Nelson, an old friend reminiscing of the old days. And at the end we have a little Ashton Kutcher, Shia LaBeouf, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead.

The movie races against the clock to bring us into all these characters lives and show us about "Old America" and where we've come from. The film has it all, some comic relief coming from Kutcher, your strong political message, the dramatic elements, and the emotional punch that lays the icing on the already multi-layered cake. This is one of the most important films of the year and if justice is served this will be on many critics' top ten lists of the year. I can't explain too much about the film without giving away vital parts but it speaks to America. It shows a history of grave transgressions and how that may seem all behind us it is lucidly vigorous. The mention of Dr. King and his impact on people fighting for equal rights is mentioned quite of a bit and leaves in discernment. Bobby Kennedy was the light at the end of a lot of citizen's dark tunnel. People believed he was going to do some amazing things for us and we'll never know if he would have lived up to those expectations but I am now very informed of his life, legacy and how much he meant to so many individuals.

Emilio Estevez could very well be the Paul Haggis of the year with his excellent writing and direction of the film. I never would have thought he had it in him to pull off this passionate and affecting drama out of him. The performances are amazing and utterly mind blowing but to be honest, with 22 different characters as oppose to Crash's ten or twelve it's hard to pick a standout. If critics go crazy for the film, I'd place bets for Laurence Fishburne who has already received raves for his "Akeelah and the Bee", Helen Hunt's haunting and powerful performance very reminiscent of Julianne Moore's performance in "The Hours", and possibly Harry Belafonte as the veteran of the year to make it to the short list for the first time. With these bets my favorites differ; by far Freddy Rodriguez as Jose who brings a sense of humanity to his role which mirrors Michael Pena's Daniel in Crash went home with me post-experience. I wouldn't even be hesitant to say Christian Slater was great as a racist who also mirrors Matt Dillon's Oscar nominated performance. Sharon Stone also left a beautiful impact on me to make long forget about "Basic Instinct 2: Risk Addiction."

With all of these key components and sides of "The Constant Gardener" and "JFK," this is the film of the year. Undying gratitude can be expressed to cast and crew involved in such a passionate masterpiece of film-making. The technical aspects of the film are eye-catching. The recreation of the Ambassador Hotel by unknown Colin De Rouin is beautifully constructed and is alone worthy of viewing pleasure. The cinematography always keeps the smooth flow of the film moving along with excellent editing coming from Richard Chew, the Oscar winner of a little bold masterpiece called "Star Wars." Even the Mark Isham score definitely sampled from Thomas Newman adds to a melancholy yet invigorating memoir. A review such as this cannot begin to encapsulate the consciousness of "Bobby" it can only be a fishhook with enough thrust to get a viewer into a chair and enjoy respect, knowledge and background of one of the most notorious and resourceful men in the history of politics.
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9/10
A film that helps us understand what was lost in 1968
felix dodds5 November 2006
"Fear not the path of truth for the lack of people walking on it." June 6th, 1968 (From the last speech Bobby gave) At a time when through out the world we seem to have lost our way and our belief in our political leaders is perhaps at its lowest ebb…. we see a reminder of what we had lost.

The sixties saw the assassination of John, Martin Malcolm and Bobby. As one of the actors says in the film "Bobby …… our last chance". We can only imagine what a different world we might have had had they lived.

When it premiered at the Venice Film Festival (http://www.labiennale.org/en/cinema/ ) it received a seven minute standing ovation. The film's tagline is He saw wrong and tried to right it. He saw suffering and tried to heal it. He saw war and tried to stop it.

There are some icons of that time and one is the election poster of Robert F Kennedy from 1968 (http://www.rfkmemorial.org/ ).

Bobby is written and directed surprisingly by Emilio Estevez and features an amazing cast of stars. It is a fictional account of the lives of several people affected by and during the final hours of Senator Robert F Kennedy's life on the 6th of June 1968 as he attempted to become the Democratic candidate for President of the US. The film includes Anthony Hopkins playing the former doorman at the hotel where Kennedy was killed; other stars include Elijah Wood, Demi Moore, Sharon Stone, Christian Slater, Heleb Hunt, Harry Belafonte and my favourite TV President, President Bartlet (Martin Sheen).

"Our gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worth while. And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans." 1967 RFK For a generation it was Bobby who represented dashed hopes and dreams of a better world we might have had, which was cruelly taken away. At the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on June 4th 1968, he left the ballroom after having won the all important California and South Dakota Primaries. He went through a service area to greet supporters working in the hotel's kitchen. While moving through a crowded kitchen passageway, Sirhan B Sirhan a 24-year-old Palestinian, fired a .22 calibre revolver directly into the crowd surrounding Kennedy. Kennedy, who was shot in the head at close range and also six other people were wounded. Although wounded he remained conscious for about 20 minutes where his concern was about others he was heard to say "Is everybody all right?" He was taken to Central Receiving Hospital and then Good Samaritan Hospital for emergency brain surgery. I was at school at the time in Melbourne in Derbyshire and the school put a room aside for any children to watch the news throughout the day to see if he survived lessons were put aside. He died there at the age of 42 in the early morning hours.

With his death the darkness seemed to descend having lost Martin Luther King already that year.

"A revolution is coming--a revolution which will be peaceful if we are wise enough; compassionate if we care enough; successful if we are fortunate enough--But a revolution which is coming whether we will it or not. We can affect its character; we cannot alter its inevitability." 1966 RFK He had just completed three and half years as one of the Senators for New York. He had helped to start a successful redevelopment project in poverty stricken Bedford Stuyvsant in New York City bringing business back into areas of New York they had left years before.

He had an ability to speak to people across divides in US society of the time which were strong. He managed to pull together a coalition of poor -- black and whites, middle class he spoke forcefully in favour of what he called the "disaffected," the impoverished, and "the excluded,".

The film gives a wondrful feeling as if you are really still living that hope.

"Few will have the greatness to bend history; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation ... It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is thus shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centres of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest " RFK It is my hope that this film will help to inspire a new generation for public service.
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10/10
very worth seeing
alansaxon27 November 2006
"Bobby" brings you back (if you were ever there) to the 60s, when those who protested the Vietnam War and racial injustice were motivated from their heart and torn by anger and grief in their efforts to change both. Yes the ensemble characters in the film are quite ordinary and their (sometimes) tawdry or pathetic shortcomings all too obvious and easy to sneer at, yet who could not recognize themselves in one or more of these vignettes. Robert Kennedy's assassination was felt by those who cared about him or his mission to the presidency as a deep wound to our own vision of a more compassionate and just America. The pettiness and simplicity of the characters in this movie are expertly directed to reveal our own pettiness and let us identify with them, if not consciously, then unconsciously. Remember, the top Hollywood actors in this movie were paid basic union scale (virtually free for them) so this was made for love. Our own little soap operas are put into such deep perspective that when he is killed, so were we, or at least the film lets you feel that. You find yourself loving this man, Robert Kennedy, for what he stood for and what he said during his candidacy, which is brilliantly threaded throughout the movie in his own words. The humanity you discover in him is of course your own humanity and isn't it refreshing to cry for yourself and your lost dreams as you cry for his.
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9/10
Captures the Era and the Man
AuntieEm0327 October 2006
I saw the movie "Bobby" as part of the Vienna International Film Festival last week and thought it was an incredibly powerful film. The movie focuses on around 20 people in and around the Ambassador Hotel the day that Robert Kennedy was shot there. The large cast never seems overwhelming. The characters are clear enough that we remember what they were doing the last time we saw them, but we never feel like they are merely one-dimensional. Emilio Estevez really hit the jackpot with his cast - they all are 100% committed to their roles and the audience simply gets lost in the era.

The cast is phenomenal - the standouts include Sharon Stone (who has a a chance at a Supporting Actress Oscar nomination if the Academy can overlook Basic Instinct 2), Nick Cannon as a young Black-American working on the campaign, and Freddy Rodriguez as a young Latino working in the kitchen. The later two, combined with Lindsey Lohan as a woman marrying to save a man's life, serve as the heart of the movie and bring a well-balanced view of many of the hot issues of the day.

The movie has an incredible, emotional climax that is enhanced by an actual speech of Bobby Kennedy. The audio and visual clips of Kennedy serve as snapshots into his life and the work he did during his short time in the public eye. You can read whatever you want to into the political agenda of the movie, but in the end this movie is a tribute to Robert F. Kennedy and his time.
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9/10
Admirable, moving effort
nlw82024 November 2006
It's easy to get caught up in the "too many characters" argument or that there are too many stories left unfinished or incomplete. IMO, it's important to remember this is a snapshot of just ONE day. How much are we expected to know about any of the characters in that time period? How much do you learn about the guy sitting next to you on the plane with whom you visit during a three hour flight? I admit that at first I was thinking, "Okay Emilio, where are you going with this and why do I care about all these people?" It seemed a little disjointed to me. But then I found myself going with it and appreciating the idea that we were getting a glimpse into the lives of a few of the people at the Ambassador hotel that day. I thought the performances by all were very strong, although I'll admit it was next to impossible to get beyond the all-star cast, simply because the plot isn't structured to bring you close enough to the characters to lose sight of who is playing the role. But again, in the end it didn't matter because the artistry of it all--the music, the camera shots, the inclusion of film and audio footage of Bobby Kennedy, the significance of these characters we've been following throughout... it just worked for me. It is also hard to ignore how much RFK's message resonates in our political climate today. As the credits rolled, at least half of the audience remained in their seats, from those sitting in stunned silence to others almost sobbing. Complete strangers were gathered outside the theater, talking about the movie or their own memories of Kennedy. It is clearly a labor of love for Emilio but I think he did a fabulous job.
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2/10
One of the most profoundly disappointing movies of the year
Gregory Eichelberger18 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Another movie that was even more of a disappointment than "The Fountain" is the magnum opus from Emilio Estevez (better known as Martin Sheen's son and Charlie Sheen's less talented brother) about the life and times of the late New York Senator Robert F. Kennedy.

Well, actually, it's about 10 minutes in the life and times of Robert F. Kennedy; the rest of the movie's 112-minute running time is filled with boring, unnecessary fictional vignettes about idiots working in Los Angeles' Ambassador Hotel, where the senator was assassinated in 1968.

Why on Earth would someone name a film "Bobby," proposing it to be a homage to the brother of a recently assassinated president coming into his own, and then stuff it with the most banal and uninteresting stories? I have no idea, friends.

All of these tales take place on June 6, 1968, the day of the California primary, in which Kennedy is battling another anti-war dove, Minnesota Senator Eugene McCarthy, and LBJ's conservative vice-president, Hubert Humphrey.

This little description is about the only real history you will get from this mishmash of a film, which soon meanders off into a wildly-spinning series of unrelated concoctions; very loosely tied to the upcoming assassination. In fact, had it not been for several actual newsreels of Kennedy on the campaign trail, this picture would have had nothing whatsoever to do with his life (and death).

I only wish they would have just spliced these images together and we would have a film to remember. These small clips give more insight and revelation on what Robert Kennedy was and what the country lost than anything Estevez could have dreamed up. Don't believe me? Then take a look at some of the vignettes:

Anthony Hopkins (portraying another old American) is a longtime hotel employee who now plays chess with an addled Harry Belafonte; Estevez (wearing an ascot and carrying a poodle) is the effeminate husband of drunken singer Demi Moore; Heather Graham is a hotel switchboard operator having an affair with aging manager William H. Macy (the biggest work of fiction in the whole movie); Macy, on the other hand fires kitchen manager Christian Slater for racism, but is chastised himself by beautician wife, Sharon Stone, for infidelity; long-winded cook, Laurence Fishburne, lectures everyone on the meaning of life; two Mormon missionary-types, Shia LeBeouf and Brian Geraghty, who work for the Kennedy campaign, buy LSD from Ashton Kutcher; Helen Hunt and Martin Sheen play a middle-aged couple who come to celebrate the primary; and Lindsey Lohan is a woman who marries Elijah "Frodo" Wood to keep him from going to Vietnam.

Who cares about any of this?!

The only compelling story was the one surrounding Mexican busboy, Juan Romero (Freddie Rodriguez) one of the few actual real people portrayed in this film, who ended up cradling the mortally-injured senator. Still, this particular part of the quilt is given as much time as the rest of the ridiculous, made-up stories. Yeah, I really care that Helen Hunt forgot to buy shoes or that Anthony Hopkins once met FDR or that a waitress from Ohio dropped acid once.

And speaking of that, the LSD freak-out scene was one of the most insipid and embarrassing pieces of trash ever slopped onto celluloid. It's something even "Mystery Scinece Theatre 3000" would have gladly passed on. I actually though I was hallucinating while watching it.

Finally, however, after almost two hours of nothing happening, even I was almost ready to take a few shots at some of these people.

In fact, when Sirhan Sirhan finally arrives at the hotel, most of the audience was relieved to see the only likable character who could end this colossal mess. Sirhan should have first gone after Estevez (who seems to direct this film with a circus mallet), though, and spared us from an intellectual and cinematic assassination we may never get over.

Bobby Kennedy was one of the most unique and compelling men of our generation. I can't say I would have agreed with all of his politics had he lived, but he deserved a much better honor than this ham-fisted, unfocused, passionless motion picture gives him.
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8/10
Stories of racism, infidelity, aging, the effects of the Vietnam War, drugs: Why RFK's death was so impactful
gradyharp11 April 2007
BOBBY as written and directed (and starring) Emilio Estevez is not simply a recreation of the fateful night June 6, 1968 when Bobby Kennedy was shot, though that event is meticulously dissected as the sun dawns on Los Angeles' Ambassador Hotel on that day. This film is a series of vignettes of the lives of many people (22 examples shine) whose hope for a better future than that of a country undergoing disintegration on many levels were shattered. It is about 'little people', people with choices whose responses to the death of a hero is devastating.

Racism (Christian Slater vs Laurence Fishburne vs interaction with Freddy Rodríguez and Jacob Vargas); hippie/white collar drug abuse (Ashton Kutcher dealing LSD to Brian Geraghty and Shia LaBeouf, Demi Moore's alcoholism defeating her marriage to Emilio Estevez and career as a lounge singer); aging and the problems of 'useless old people' (Harry Belafonte and Anthony Hopkins); adultery (hotel manager William Macy married to beautician Sharon Stone yet having an affair with switchboard operator Heather Graham); marriages teetering on commercialism (Martin Sheen and Helen Hunt); young political aspirants basing futures on RFK (Joshua Jackson and Nick Cannon); and the extremes to which young men will go to avoid being sent to Vietnam (Elijah Wood and Lindsay Lohan) - these are the main characters we get to know as they prepare for the evening's party for RFK and then suffer the explosive effect of the shooting by Sirhan Sirhan (David Kobzantsev). The power of the film lies in the impact Bobby Kennedy had on all of these people who represent the rest of a nation.

Estevez wisely uses film footage from life to project the speech and presence of RFK: using an actor to depict him would have made the effect less sharp. But in the end, as it seems apparent from Estevez' script, the power comes from the messages in the voice-over of Kennedy's own speeches, words to offer hope and a chance for resolution of the many conflicts that threatened to destroy the US. Would that there were minds with such thoughts speaking today when a leader is so desperately needed! The film has flaws (it would be difficult for a two hour enactment of a well known yet partially fictionalized incident not to). But the message is pungent and clear: we MUST care for each other as a country and forgo the alienation that is so rampant. A very fine film for thought. Grady Harp
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5/10
Tedious hagiographic ensemble piece
gus12097028 January 2008
What is it about L.A and ensemble films? The Player, Short Cuts, Crash...Emilio Estevez makes a ham-fisted attempt to fashion a memoriam to the ill-fated brother of JFK using the multi-strand plot and character technique associated with Robert Altman. But Estevez clearly lacks Altman's ability to maintain interest and build character through the use of trivialities, revelations and encounters as the film progresses.

The premise is the 'last day in the life of' Bobby Kennedy as he campaigns in the California Primary of 1968. Except, it's the goings on in the Ambassador Hotel, where he will be shot that evening, that feature rather than the character itself. It's a structural device, perhaps even influenced by the obvious and somewhat alienating reverence that Estevez has for Kennedy.

Excerpts of speeches and public reactions to his visit are inter-cut into the movie, that almost portray him as this Ghandi-like presence, on the cusp of commencing a national transformation that will not only end the war in Vietnam but apparently bring an end to 'hatred and violence' and a new sense of community. What is overlaid across the film with the intent of being inspirational, often comes across as simplistic. Estevez simply does not have a sufficiently detached critical sense to connect to more sceptical viewers. L.A liberals and ageing hippies will of course by weeping into their popcorn buckets.

However, there are a couple of nice turns, which you inevitably get in a film with such a cast. Mentionably, Sharon Stone, whose jaded beautician provides a relatable, pathetic character amongst a range of cyphers who are basically inserted to represent the body politic - old and young, black, white and Hispanic, druggie and idealist.

The final portion is compelling and well shot but the rest of the movie, despite it's attempt to portray America poised on a knifedge, as Kennedy would have it, lacks zest.
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1/10
Worst movie I have ever seen
drumar259 December 2006
This has to be the worst movie I have ever seen. Lets get every actor and actress in Hollywood, a popular historical figure to base the movie on and add many disjointed uninteresting stories into it and see what happens. What happens is you get a very bad movie. The historical value of the movie is next to bill, so I was at least expecting a decent story, but it does not deliver there either. How this has a composite score of 7 is beyond me. Stay away from this garbage. Has Hollywood really run out of ideas? I hope the talents that brought us this severely lacking piece of cinematic sewage stay far away from directing and cameras in the future.
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1/10
Bobby deserved better than this
don dutton12 April 2007
The first hour of this painful miasma can best be described as failed Altman light. The lives of "everyday people" written in the worst and most clichéd way. Mexican waiters who speak English to each other, dumb Black-Latino racial banter, ho hum sexual pecadillos. You've seen it all before and better written (try Crash or Casino) Emilio Estevez should find a day job and stick to it because this is a bomb. The first hour of the film has nothing to do with Bobby and you know the stories are not going to develop because of the coming assassination. Stereotypes abound and the film relies on sixties music to try and create a sixties atmosphere that feels inauthentic, like Estevez was somewhere else when the first acid trip went down. A major disappointment given the respect I have for Bobby Kennedy and a major disservice to his memory.
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1/10
A sham of fiction and Estevez's political agenda
fx-4024 November 2006
As someone who idolizes Bobby Kennedy and lived through that terrible day in 1968, (as well as JFK's assassination in 1963, too), this was a very poor effort by Estevez that is truly not fitting to the memory of Bobby Kennedy. Other than the inspiring actual quotes and clips of Bobby Kennedy, this movie is a disaster of fiction and Estevez's political agenda. Why not just tell the real story, Emilio? Is it too hard to do the research to get the story right? Your fiction makes Oliver Stone's conspiracy theory-based JFK look like a Pulitzer Prize winning documentary. The only chance that this movie has is that younger audiences may not care that there's no basis in truth in Estevez's story about RFK and what happened at the Ambassador Hotel on June 4, 1968. If you ask me, Estevez should NEVER be allowed to direct a movie again. He is a hack as a writer and director who didn't even care enough about Bobby Kennedy to get the story right. What's the matter, Emilio, the actual five people (including RFK's friend Paul Schrade who was shot in the forehead directly behind Bobby) weren't interesting enough characters for you to base your story on? Or were you just too lazy to research their real lives. So you just made up people to get shot including pretend characters: two Kennedy college volunteers who dropped LSD for the first time that day? Or a kid who wanted to avoid the Viet Nam war by getting married to a school friend to get a fake marriage certificate? Or a honorable Kitchen Manager who was kind to illegal immigrant Latino's who was fired that very day by his boss who was cheating on his marriage with former Austin Powers hotie Heather Graham? Gee, Emilio, what terrific characters (yeah, right.) It's beautifully filmed and edited, but this entire film is a big lie designed to promote Emilio's political agenda to a) Get out of Iraq, and b) to promote amnesty for oppressed Latino illegal immigrants. The only actual real people portrayed in the film are Sirhan Sirhan (on camera for less than a minute) and Latino bus boy Juan Romero... who Emilio calls "Jose'." Shame on Emilio Estevez and Martin Sheen and the ultra-liberal Hollywood elite who helped bring this work of leftist propaganda to the big screen masqueraded as a true story of the events at the Ambassador Hotel on June 4, 1968. Shame on you all. I can't even watch a true documentary about Bobby Kennedy without shedding tears… but your film (except for the actual clips of RFK) disgusted me.
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1/10
Love Boat meets 'I wanna be Robert Altman but will never achieve this'
trixie303@hotmail.com26 November 2006
Sorry, this movie means incredibly well. Yes, the end is effective, moving even. But what comes before is truly horrid. Look it's Sharon Stone! Look there's that guy from Six Feet Under! Anthony Hopkins! Helen Hunt! Oh wow, Ashton Kutcher as a druggie hippie that is more false and less entertaining than his sitcom work! The writing is false, schmaltzy, cringeworthy. I don't recommend this movie but I guess there are a bunch of folks who are please with it.

Oh ya and the entire film, THE ENTIRE FILM, is scored with this "hey this is such an important, emotional moment so pay attention!" music...it's insipid, draining.
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2/10
Got it!
cadmandu4 December 2006
This film is about people working and staying at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, the day Robert Kennedy was shot there.

There are actually two films here. The first is a narrative about a bunch of truly uninteresting and useless personalities who work in a hotel. The other is a collection of film clips from the RFK campaign. Putting the two of these together could have been a good idea. In this case, it results in nothing less than a disaster and travesty, which insults us the audience, and even worse, it immerses RFK into the worst kind of soap opera trash. It's an insult to all concerned.

I gave this film two stars, instead of zero, because of the film clips, and Laurence Fishburne's acting, which almost saved the character he was playing. In all honesty, it's been a long time since I've seen a film this bad. Furthermore, I lived thru the 60's, and this film does nothing whatsoever to capture the atmosphere of the times. The doper scenes are caricatures. There's no tension whatsoever, either between the characters, or about the politics of the day. Believe me, 1968 was anything but a dull year. People were truly freaking out. The whole country was falling apart. From this film, we're led to believe that the biggest crisis of the day was a dullsville hotel manager cheating on his wife, and an alcoholic lounge singer.

What were the people who made this garbage thinking?

====================

Well, that's the review I wrote immediately after seeing this film. However, upon further reflection, I'm having a very different take.

Particularly irksome was the casting in this story. It's all big names. In fact, it's totally topheavy. This is most annoying. "Oh, there's the Hobbit!" "Oh, there's the West Wing!" "Oh, there's Morpheus!" If a Hollywood film has two of these people, that's normal; they're balanced by the lesser known actors.

But these are not stupid people. So it dawned on me; this is exactly what they wanted to do. This is not really a film about RFK, or the assassination, or the Ambassador Hotel. It's a political statement from Hollywood. Laurence Fishburne's Uncle Tom routine has nothing to do with the story line; it's seriously out of whack with the politics of race of the day. That's clear. This also explains why none of the subplots ties in at all with the assassination. They're not supposed to. I kept wondering what the heck the Czech reporter had to do with any of this. Now it's clear. She was there to show that tho the message is anti-right establishment, but they're not Commmie Pinkos, the traditional retort of the conservative right. And that stuff about the CHADS! obvious in retrospect.

This film is an in joke. It's a message from the Hollywood elite about how little we've progressed, and how off track politically and socially we've become, how we're still embroiled in stupid wars, racism, poitical duplicity, etc. That's the only explanation that makes any sense to me. These are not stupid people. Taken at face value, this film is nonsense.
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5/10
Love Boat for instance
pierlorenzodangelo23 January 2007
I applaud intentions. Ambitious and all the rest but, Oh dear, Oh dear...The work from an artist of the TV generation. Everything reeks of TV. The banality of the interconnecting stories seem destined for an audience who has never read a book. Huge demographic, I agree, but Oh dear, Oh dear I didn't know if to escape after Freddy Rodriguez and his friend discuss the plea of the Mexicans or just before Helen Hunt realizes she didn't bring her black shoes. I think, and please forgive the impertinence, this would have worked much better as a TV miniseries. At least it would have reached the natural targeted audience and I would never have seen it. Oh well, too late I guess
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5/10
Great Cast, Shame About The Film
zofos27 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This is a good idea for a movie that is beyond the limited talents of writer/director Emilio Estevez. He's bitten off more than he can chew here. He tries to encapsulate not only what was going on in the hotel on the day Robert Kennedy was assassinated (with fictional characters), but he also tries to capture the America of 1968 and then try to make it all relevant to today's world. It's as if he sat down and thought: "Hmm, 1968, what happened?...Vietnam, hippies, drugs, draft-dodgers, Civil Rights struggle, etc." So the script he wrote just sets about ticking off all these subject boxes and then ends. As a director, he paints the era in broad strokes instead of sketching it precisely (his use of fictional characters robs the film of any authenticity and gets Estevez off the hook of doing proper research).

The film is also a totally uncritical, sentimental view of Robert Kennedy. Estevez completely glosses over Robert Kennedy's ruthless style when he was Attorney General during his brother's Presidency and his countless affairs during his marriage to give us a bleeding-heart martyr who was gunned down before he could save America. Robert Kennedy is clearly a hero in Estevez's eyes, as the affectionate title "Bobby" proves.

Having said that, at the end Estevez does give us a sort of "Bobby Kennedy's Greatest Hits" by editing together the best bits of his speeches and interviews and its compelling stuff.

The cast is terrific also, clearly Estevez has many friends willing to do him a favour and appear here including ex-girlfriend Demi Moore. He even gives his dad, Martin Sheen, a job (even though Sheen's role, like the role of Anthony Hopkins, is really unnecessary). That's one of the problems with this film, there are simply too many characters in it. The film flies off on tangents just when you are starting to connect with the people in it. If Estevez hadn't been so in love with his characters, he could have stripped the script down to its essentials and got to the point a lot quicker.

In the end, you feel this was a missed opportunity. The specifics of the assassination are not tackled at all. Kennedy's murderer, Sirhan Sirhan, is nothing more than a symbol of doom lurking in the background waiting to pounce. Although the use of Simon and Garfunkel's "Sound of Silence" from "The Graduate" at the end is inspired and appropriate.

"Bobby" is entertaining without being factual. It's running time is long, but if you can take its simple-minded nostalgia and you're feeling in a generous mood, you may enjoy it.
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4/10
Grand Hotel: The Remake
RodReels-24 August 2007
Early in the film, Anthony Hopkins' character makes a reference to having seen "Grand Hotel." It apparently is also a reference to director Emilio Estevez having seen the movie as well. Like that 1930's Oscar winner, "Bobby" is stuffed with stars of the day, each telling minor little melodramatic stories woven together by the slightest threads. This movie was ultimately disappointing because it seemed it could have been a great movie in more capable hands. Kennedy is definitely a great subject, but his life, candidacy, and even his assassination are poorly handled here.

The decision to have Bobby Kennedy appear only through grainy stock footage of the period (and not have him portrayed by an actor) truly hurts the film in the ending scenes. It's like a documentary is being played alongside the soap opera you've been watching. The two films don't go together. In fact, when it comes to movies where actors are interacting with the title character, "Roger Rabbit" seemed more realistic.

Many viewers are obviously touched by the words of RFK, which are spoken in unabridged form at the end of the film. But I was reminded of Pauline Kael's criticism of Sir Richard Attenborough's "Gandhi." She remarked something to the effect that the movie might have been better if Attenborough had not directed it on his knees. There is such reverence and "idol worship" attached to the project that the viewer doesn't get a fully-rounded portrait of the subject. I say that not to argue the greatness of Bobby Kennedy but to wish that his name had not been invoked as the title of this one. He deserves much better.
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1/10
Waiting for Bobby
jasongbeale29 February 2008
A ponderous, disappointing movie. Actually, apart from some marginal stock footage, Bobby Kennedy isn't a character in the story at all. It should be called "Waiting for Bobby", since that's what you'll be doing. The different characters and situations have no space or time to be developed very much, and it must be said, they fail to grab the imagination or emotions.

Overall the various narrative strands are presented with hardly any real tension, suspense, or excitement (despite the overdone soundtrack that drowns out half the dialogue). In fact, the whole movie has no narrative or thematic drive, and limps along like a sick dog - it drags and drags and drags and drags and then he's shot and thank god it's over!
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1/10
"Bobby" – an awful version of "Magnolia"
Pete-13515 November 2006
Tonight I suffered the great displeasure of seeing a free sneak preview screening of the movie "Bobby".

I walked into the movie with only the vague knowledge that the film was an ensemble piece about people that were in the Ambassador Hotel on the night of Bobby Kennedy's assassination.

As the movie started, I was very impressed with the casting. I couldn't help but think that the writer/director Emilio Estevez has a LOT of friends in show business.

Unfortunately, absolutely none of these characters were compelling or interesting in any way whatsoever and very hard to really care for. Furthermore, there was little in the way of a cohesive story or narrative. Scene after scene started to play like a vignette in an acting class and the vast majority rang falsely due to the atrocious writing.

I found myself waiting for Bobby Kennedy to be integrated into the story in some meaningful way, but that never happened. Whatever you do, don't go to this movie thinking it has much to do with Bobby Kennedy.

Finally, towards the very end of the movie when Robert Kennedy, the great orator and only charismatic character in the movie, starts to speak – the director decided to mute Kennedy's voice and play the Simon & Garfunkel song "The Sounds of Silence" over his speech! The last movie that Emilio Estevez wrote and directed was "Men at Work", an unsuccessful comedy about garbage men. He is completely out of his league with this material, and misses the mark by miles. I contemplated walking out of the theater several times as this mess unraveled on the screen.

Bottom line: avoid at all costs.
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1/10
A Painful Failure On Almost Every Level
bigfanofthebob4216 December 2006
If Bobby Kennedy was the reincarnation of Nostradamus instead of the reincarnation of Jesus that this movie makes him out to be and knew this movie was going to be made one day, he would have done a Matrix move that night and dodged those bullets. Headlines around the country would have read "BOBBY DODGES ASSASSIN'S BULLETS; BECOMES AWESOMEST PERSON TO EVER LIVE;CHUCK NORRIS ROUNDHOUSE KICKS SELF IN DEFEAT".

Emilio Estevez, attempting to make a Robert Altman movie about that tragic night when Kennedy did not dodge those bullets while forgetting that Altman makes (well, made, rest his soul) movies about real people as opposed to symbolic mouthpieces for misguided speechifying and transparent, heavy-handed period-evocation, has made what some might call this year's Crash: a big ensemble drama that is About Things with all the subtlety of one of Charlton Heston's climactic outbursts at the end of almost every movie he was ever in. But Crash was competently written, acted, and directed, and is a fairly interesting and lucid piece of thought-provocation, regardless of its contrived, sledgehammer tactics. I'm not sure what Bobby wants to be about. It would appear to be an attempt to explore via cross-section what was probably the most turbulent passage of 1960's American history, but the writing is so awkward and the interconnected stories so hamfisted that the final product seems to suggest that the second Kennedy assassination of the decade was simply the only thing that wasn't boring and ridiculous about the day on which it occurred.

The final passage, in which the characters shut up and the event the whole mess has been building up to finally occurs, has an undeniable power, but all that's left after the smoke has cleared is inept pseudo-liberal pornography, saying nothing in particular with anything approaching actual eloquence. The most laughable passages involve two campaign workers doing acid with possibly the most glaring and unintentionally hilarious hippie stereotype seen on film since the anti-drug propaganda of the day, played perhaps fittingly by master thespian Ashton Kutcher. His performance suggests a degree of self-awareness that the more respectable actors in the cast (let's see...that's all of them, barring perhaps Christian Slater, fresh off his performances in Uwe Boll's apocalyptic semi-masterpiece Alone in the Dark and the direct-to-video Hollow Man 2) miss entirely in their desperate, flailing grabs for emotional resonance in Estevez's graceless prose. While Kutcher's (possibly unintentional) aura of self-awareness is perhaps the only thing that sustains his career, here he seems to be the only one who realizes that he's being Punk'd by this well-meaning garbage.

It also has been made with a disrespect for non-Kennedy-related history and plain old facts. A large part of it tells the stories of the other people who were shot that night, but their stories here are entirely fictional. The subplot involving Elijah Wood marrying Lindsay Lohan to get out of the draft is completely worthless, not just because Lohan is a bad actress and every subplot in this mess is worthless, but because even the users of the IMDb apparently knew more about this than the filmmakers did and have, God bless them, pointed out the fact that the marriage loophole was closed several years before the events in the film. The film traffics in faux-liberal "truthiness" like Stephen Colbert's faux-conservatism does. While I can get behind artistic license being taken when it makes a true story more cinematic, here it just allows the creatively bankrupt but morally righteous Estevez to drag the proceedings into a mire of clichés that might not have been there in the first place.

The whole cast, even the talented portion, (William H. Macy, Anthony Hopkins, Morpheus) does work ranging from mediocre to outright embarrassing. It's hard to tell whether Demi Moore's horrible performance as an alcoholic singer was just because of Estevez's script or the fact that she should be kept as far away as possible from a camera at all times. There's also some inexplicable rambling from the inexplicable Helen Hunt, whom within her first minute of screen time I wanted to reach through the screen and sucker punch in the ovaries. It gets so bad that her husband, Martin Sheen, grabs her and says "YOU ARE NOT YOUR SHOES!" This isn't what I would have done, but it makes about as much sense as the rest of the script.

Bobby is the worst film I've sat through in a theater all year. This might say something about how choosy I am with which films I see, but here the writing is so bad and the storytelling so misguided that I was squirming in my seat for long stretches of the film, and I never do that. That it's been nominated for Best Drama at the Golden Globes says more about the relevance of the Globes than it does about the quality of this abortion.
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1/10
The movie was embarrassing.
phast10 December 2006
This movie's representation of what RFK meant was hugely disappointing. This movie would have been much more interesting as a documentary. A shame it didn't include the real lives of those who were also shot that night. The lives of those shown in the movie were boring and irrelevant. The flavor of the movie was not at all nostalgic, and didn't come close to helping us remember what we lost. not even close to the inspiration RFK left us. Not only did the movie not represent why RFK was inspirational, it did not even come close to addressing the issues of the time. The issues of the times, which were intense, seemed to be merely represented as incidental events.
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1/10
Utter Garbage
sherz120008 July 2007
I'm rather appalled that this has gotten even one good rating on this website--read the reviews from people who know. There's a reason this film was universally panned. The script is vapid--I knew when I heard the first of many anachronisms (body double? in 1968??) that this wasn't a film worth watching. It felt like a first draft that Estevez tried to pawn off on us. What's worse, it was a real tragic event, and here it is totally exploited to make room for a "drama" that is lousy with cliché. One of the worst films of the year. Ashton Kutcher as a drug dealer? Demi Moore as a chanteuse? It's laughable. What other flubs can I recount here? Oh Yes: "Shelf life," a term from the late 1990s. Oh god there are so many. And all these tangential dramas, and nothing about Sirhan B Sirhan? it makes no sense. It's almost offensive that Estevez would use this occasion to make his first film, only to employ his friends, and not have anything to say, and not put his script through a second draft.
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8/10
Good Snapshot of history
BCCDiva3 November 2006
I recently had a pre-screening for "Bobby" at my college and I have to say this was a good film. I didn't know what to expect with Emilo Estevez directing, writing and acting. But he pulled it off. To me he wrote a very real movie. He had everyday people with everyday problems. The characters even talked like "real" people, profanity and all. The movie didn't feel like a docudrama and that I think that made it even better. All the stories were complete and made you care about the characters. Most importantly you could tell how important Bobby Kennedy was to all these characters and America as a whole. This movie will be a great movie for high schoolers to see so they can know how life was during that time.(it was like a snapshot of history) I hope this movie does well at the box office. I gave it an eight but I almost gave it a seven. I gave it an eight because the next day my friends were still quoting the movie. That is a very good sign. Esp. if college students are doing it. If you like any of the actors in the movie it is worth a shot.
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