Movie Review: Bob Roberts (1992)

Wrapping it in the flag and a folk song (9/10)
Directed by Tim Robbins

Original Review by Brian R. Wright, November 19, 2006

Bob Roberts is a timely movie about national political cynicism that was intended to satirize the Republican Revolution of 1994.  Others have contended the subject of the satire was the Reagan 80s, against the Gordon Gekko “Greed is Good” crowd.

But it could not be more appropriate to the rise and ascendancy of the Bush II clique.

Roberts, a Pennsylvania Senate candidate , is a rich, smarmy, guitar-strumming, media savvy corporate shill.  He sings folk songs about the joys of strip mining, stock-market success, and capital punish- ment for drug dealers.

The review on the IMDB site  states Roberts is eerily prescient of Rick Santorum, who won the 1994 Senate race in Pennsylvania by affecting the same style as Tim Robbins in the title role.  Like Bob Roberts, Santorum postured as a friend of the common man, yet was a front for powerful corporate interests (esp. the health insurance industry).

The cast is stellar, as writer-director Robbins skewers the lazy, posturing media—actors Fred Ward, Pamela Reed, and James Spader send up good roles—; malicious security hacks (Alan Rickman); and the gullible public itself. Continue reading

The Hot Kid (2005)

The feeling of authenticity is astounding
by Elmore Leonard

2005, William Morrow Co., 312 pgs.

HotA lot of readers confess to a guilty secret for, say, liking a particular romance writer or mystery-suspense-crime novelist. Well, no guilt is required when the author you enjoy is Elmore Leonard.  Especially in this particular book, where the jacket states:

“The next time the members of the Swedish Academy think about giving the Nobel Prize for literature, they should take a look at Elmore Leonard.” — Philadelphia Inquirer

Too true.

The Hot Kid is different from Leonard’s other work in being a historical period piece—the action takes place in oil-boom eastern Oklahoma during the late Prohibition-era 1920s and into the Depression-era 1930s. Continue reading