Tim Robbins’s mock-doc political satire tracks a tight senate race between folk singing neo-con populist Bob Roberts (Robbins) and bow-tied fuddy-duddy Brickley Paiste (Gore Vidal), on the eve of the Persian Gulf War.
This is Spinal Tap for politicos, the film imagines Roberts as Bob Dylan with an M.B.A., as he turns the “Subterranean Homesick Blues” cue card video into “Wall Street Rap” and performs songs like “The Times-They-Are-A-Changin-Back” to an audience of rapt glassy-eyed yuppies. A deeply cynical Op-Ed, the film wages a vicious attack on conservative folly and flashily insipid media coverage, where the only voice of reason is a tin-foil-hatted muckraker named Bugs Raplin (an especially twitchy Giancarlo Esposito). Twenty years later Bob Roberts remains eerily prescient and incredibly funny, with Robbins (in his writing-directing debut) owing a clear debt to mentor and fellow cynic Robert Altman, and aided by dream cast, notably Jack Black as a psychotic fanboy and Alan Rickman as a sinister Rove-like campaign manager.
Director: Tim Robbins. 102 min. 1992. 35mm.
Followed by a post-election panel discussion including Ken Layne, former Managing Editor of Wonkette; David Freedlander, Senior Political Correspondent for The Daily Beast; Alex Pareene, journalist for Salon; Andrea Seabrook, host of Decode DC; and Elinor Lipman, author of Tweet Land of Liberty: Irreverent Rhymes from the Political Circus. Moderated by Daily Show correspondent Larry Wilmore.
Part of the series Basic Cable Classics.
Buy tickets to this and Jacob’s Ladder at 10pm, and get a free beer in between screenings!
Ticket Price: $12, Film Club Member: $8.
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