What’s Good: Bob Roberts

By Christopher Turner
Other Side Drive Segment Producer

 

Have you ever been trying to find something to watch on Netflix or Amazon and you find yourself scrolling…and scrolling…and scrolling? With so many options at your fingertips when it comes to streaming movies, how are you supposed to decide what to watch? On What’s Good, I will do the scrolling for you. Each episode will give you a heads up as to what’s worth your valuable time in the world of streaming entertainment. So give your scrolling finger a rest and find out What’s Good.

This pick for this episode is a political satire film from 1992 (fitting for the end of the election.) Bob Roberts is a faux-documentary that follows the title character as he runs for Senate in Pennsylvania.

bob-roberts1Bob Roberts (Tim Robbins) is a conservative politician who campaigns for Senate by singing folk songs about his distaste for drugs and lazy people. The scenes where Roberts belts out these ballads to crowds of people is wonderfully absurd.

One of Roberts’ nemesis in the film is sitting-Senator Brickley Paiste (Gore Vidal). Paiste has an intense and serious presence, which clashes with Roberts’ insane campaign.

Bob Roberts was created by Tim Robbins, who directed the film and starred as the main character as well. Robbins was able to assemble a star-studded cast, including: Giancarlo Esposito, Helen Hunt, Jack Black, Susan Sarandon and Alan Rickman.

Robbins has always been open about his liberal political beliefs, but his intent of this film is seemingly not to mock the Republican party. Rather, as the film grows darker, it seems that he is attacking the political system as a whole. Robbins is showing that the electoral process favors showmanship over dialogue.

In the 24 years since this film was released, not much has changed with our electoral process. Some may say that it has even gotten worse, but this film reminded me of how we persevere in spite of our horror-show political system. The cycle will start over, and we will have another chance to get it right.

Bob Roberts is currently available for streaming on Amazon Prime.

 

Holly Henrichsen

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