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Pennsylvanian Bob Roberts (Tim Robbins) is running for a seat in the U.S. Senate and is quickly winning votes as a folk-singing rebel – but his agenda is radically right-wing. The same year as the American people elected Bill Clinton president, Robbins directed his first feature, a political satire that portrays the fictional flip side of Clinton, a dangerous politician who can charm voters into believing anything. Gullible members of the media who are too lazy and inept to see through the propaganda are also effectively targeted. Not entirely believable, but still sadly relevant. Amusing faux campaign songs accompany Robbins’s slick performance.
1992-U.S. 101 min. Color. Produced by Forrest Murray. Written and directed by Tim Robbins. Songs: Tim Robbins, David Robbins. Cast: Tim Robbins (Bob Roberts), Giancarlo Esposito (Bugs Raplin), Ray Wise (Chet MacGregor), Rebecca Jenkins, Harry J. Lennix, John Ottavino… Alan Rickman, Gore Vidal, David Strathairn, Jack Black. Cameos: James Spader, Susan Sarandon, Helen Hunt, Peter Gallagher, Fred Ward, John Cusack, Bob Balaban.
Trivia: Black’s feature debut. The character of Bob Roberts first appeared in a Saturday Night Live skit.
Last word: “I used to live in Greenwich Village, and I returned there after about an eight-year absence and had seen how my neighborhood had shifted. A lot of the artists and bohemian iconoclasts had just drifted away. I noticed a lot of franchises opening up. I started thinking about what would happen if all of these businessmen picked up guitars. So I wrote him [Roberts] as a businessman folk singer, and as the eighties came his ambition grew, and by the nineties he was running for office.” (Robbins, The Tech)
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