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Swing Vote (2008) WS R1 Retail DVD
Joshua Michael Stern
As I look back at the 2008 election, both congressional and presidential, I feel disgust not at the result but at the manner in which the campaigns were conducted. Elections are no longer about the people deciding their future leaders (assuming it ever was) but when we are divided the most with mud slinging, personal attacks, and silencing differing opinions by any means necessary. Course, this is nothing new but there is a point when a person needs to say "enough."
Enter Swing Vote (SV).
SV is the story of an absolute slob "Bud," (Costner) who, by no means, should be allowed to decide anythingmore… of any importance. Bud can't keep a steady job, remember anything about his daughter, is apathetic to those around him, and is generally the very definition of a loser. By a string of weird coincidences, and a voting machine mishap, he vote will ultimately be the one deciding the president of the United States.
The rest of the film follows the two presidential candidates doing positively everything they can to win one vote from getting celebrities to endorse them to betraying their own principles, which is the crux of the message behind SV. I won't give away any more, but the moral of the story is that in our quest for power to do good, we ultimately became what we despise in what is nothing more than a political game.
SV portrays both sides, republicans and democrats, fairly evenly although there were far too many liberal television pundits and could've used some balance from the other side. However, both candidates were portrayed by staunch republicans Kelsey Grammer and Dennis Hopper so I guess you give and take.
The acting was done fairly well. Who better to play a slob than a slob (Costner)? It's like getting Robert Downey Jr. to play a drunken superhero (Iron Man). Grammer and Hopper did a great job playing phony political drones trying to appease one man for power while Nathan Lane was a great down-and-out campaign manager. It was a stellar cast.
What struck me as odd was the benevolent nature of Bud's daughter, who seemed to run the house (er... trailer), rescue Bud from the bar, and have a much more intelligent view on the world than even the candidates. While I've known such people growing up, they typically arose from very supportive families and not on their own so I'm wondering, like many other reviewers, how the hell did this girl get so good in such a dump? Whatever cereal she eats, send every politician a case.
Now, many reviewers have said the jokes were bland and I have to respectfully disagree. I thought the awkwardness jokes of a simpleton being pampered by the largest candidates was hilarious since they are doing what they normally do but on a MUCH smaller scale. I particularly loved the ads Hopper ran on abortion and illegal immigration.
All in all, SV tells the story we, as Americans, do not want to acknowledge is actually happening right now. While our own countrymen are having trouble keeping their very livelihood intact and our values scattered, we engage in the most vicious tactics of silencing those we disagree with because our own stubbornness suggests we must be right and all others are wrong. Through this we often forget that in the end, we are all Americans and in this together.
Thus endeth the lesson.
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- Swing Vote (2008) WS R1 Retail DVD
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- 24/01/10 by Stochem
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