Monday, August 11, 2008


Our 39th Anniversary was Saturday, and we decided to go to a movie and buy the junk food P's: hot pretzels, popcorn, pop and a relish tray --without guilt! Plus hotdogs! That was our special dinner out! And it was my idea as we both had busy day and I liked the idea of leaning back in a theater seat over an uncomfortable dining room chair.

SWING VOTE stars Kevin Costner as a ne'er do well, working class drunk. At least, he drinks too much. His daughter is about 5th grade, I'd guess --and she's the grown-up in the house. And she REALLY wants Dad "Bud" to vote --so she registered him by mail. She also wants him to quit his chronic cussing --says "Jesus is the Savior for billions of people." This is not a laugh-line.

Due to a fluke at the polls, his vote doesn't fully register ---and the state of New Mexico's 5 electoral votes are the ones to determine the presidential election. And his one vote is the decider.

His re-vote is set for 10 days later, and Air Force one and the Republican team fly in to curry his vote --and the Democratic party throws a big party for him. All the social issues groups are camped out in the small town of Texaco, Mexico. The media is there --and the whole world is watching Bud and his daughter Molly.

The story points out that there is nothing sacred about party values when it comes to getting the vote. Campaign managers would sell the souls of their mothers. One of them denies that --and then in an after-thought, says, "Well, you don't know my mother!"

The Democrats do a pro-life ad for Bud's attention as he said about being pro-life, "Isn't everybody??" And the Republicans do a pro-gay marriage ad which gays won't like for the silly stereotypes --and it is comical --and probably too true that political campaign managers don't care about issues as much as winning.

But our candidates have pangs of conscience --and Bud concludes at the final debate, for which he asked, that both men are admirable, worthy leaders.

Bud makes a heart-felt speech about his own life of disinterest, his own lack of sacrifice for ideals and country, his own unworthiness to cast the vote --after a last minute epiphany prompted by his idealistic daughter.

The end is satisfying --and not at all politically polarizing. And the Republican president, played convincingly by Kelsey Grammar, comes across well in the end --surprising for a Hollywood movie. Both candidates are depicted as men of character, in the end.

It moves a little slowly at points, but overall is a thought-provoking, touching and humorous story on the value of every vote. The impact of bad parenting, particularly not keeping our word to our children is part of the story --the sadness and resentment it causes. We see the correlation between one's attitudes, effort and life habits with low income status --in a country that DOES provide opportunity, as Bud notes in his final speech. He had lost his job on election day --and deservedly (and humorously) so.

I like this movie. I think the performances are excellent and the message uplifting.


"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible


Jeanette said...

I'm registered and ready to vote to get this long campain finished.

It sounds like a good movie. I'll have to see if I can track it down, but since we got a blu ray DVD player I enjoy watching them at home, so I may have to wait.

Barb said...

You know, the little girl is a pretty good role model for youngsters --the only negative thing about the film for kids is the language Dad uses --he can't say much without profanity. but they don't make that look like a good thing. And it is reality for many children to hear this sort of thing.

which reminds me of the Nanny show I saw on TV tonight --the Nanny set up a cursing jar for the father --said he'd have to put in $5 for every cuss word said in front of the kids --and I liked that it was just taken for granted that bad language was bad language --and not defensible --and not appropriate around children --or for one's children to hear and use.

The only real reason to condemn bad language and swearing or to call it bad --is our religious beliefs and upbringing. If there really is no God, then there is no stigma to use His name profanely --although it is an offense to believers and thus disrespectful around them. Sadly, many films with kids in them, take God's name in vain routinely--Spielburg's Goonies film was one of the first to do this. The kids are always saying, "O my God!!!!" We taught our kids not to say that and resented that entertainment for children ignored traditional sensitivities about language. Which led to my husband calling Spielburg a corrupter.

Yankee Doodle said...

Sorry, I can't register to vote yet. I will cast my first ballot in the June Primary of 2010.