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

Movie Review: The Lucky Ones (2008)

Intelligent comic drama about war and real people (7/10)

The Lucky OnesKind of a road picture for soldiers home from the Iraqi front, I don’t think writer/director Neil Burger intends to make an antiwar statement… but pretty much any human being with a heart will take it as such. The quote above, “No, thank you,” occurs at several points in the story as these three soldiers, on leave—Fred Cheaver (Tim Robbins), T.K. Poole (Michael Peña), and Colee Dunn (Rachel McAdams)—make their way across the US. What happens is they have a transaction with a civilian who learns they’re from the front, and the soldier will say thank you to end the exchange, to which the civilian will say, “No, thank you.” With emphasis, expressing the fairly common sentiment that we have toward those in uniform.

In my previous review of the two (anti)war movies in the WW2 genre—Bridge at Remagen and A Bridge Too Far—I brought up the little used quote from Herbert Spencer:

“When men hire themselves out to shoot other men to order, asking nothing about the justice of their cause, I don’t care if they are shot themselves.” —Herbert Spencer. Continue reading

Movie Review: Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Shawshank Redemption
Second best movie of 1994? ___ 10/10The Shawshank Redemption

Red: [narrating] I have no idea to this day what those two Italian ladies were singing about. [Le nozze di Figaro Sull’aria] Truth is, I don’t want to know. Some things are best left unsaid. I’d like to think they were singing about something so beautiful, it can’t be expressed in words, and makes your heart ache because of it. I tell you, those voices soared higher and farther than anybody in a gray place dares to dream. It was like some beautiful bird flapped into our drab little cage and made those walls dissolve away, and for the briefest of moments, every last man in Shawshank felt free. Continue reading