Swing Vote

50. Swing Vote (2008) [Rated PG-13 for language.]

summary from imdb.com:

November, 2004, New Mexico. Bud is a slacker with one good thing in his life, his engaging fifth-grade daughter Molly. On election day, Bud is supposed to meet her at the polling place. When he doesn’t show, she sneaks a ballot and is about to vote when the power goes off. It turns out that New Mexico’s electoral votes will decide the contest, and there it’s tied with one vote needing recasting – Bud’s. The world’s media and both presidential candidates, including the current President, descend on Bud in anticipation of his re-vote in two weeks. Can the clueless Bud, even with the help of Molly and a local TV reporter, handle this responsibility?

directed by: Joshua Michael Stern

starring: Kevin Costner, Paula Patton, Kelsey Grammer, Dennis Hopper, Nathan Lane, Stanley Tucci, George Lopez, Judge Reinhold, Willie Nelson, Richard Petty, Mare Winningham

A Trailer

Conservo-Libertarian Reviews:
Kyle Smith
Sonny Bunch
movieguide.org Christian reviews

Abortion/Life Content:

[a Planned Parenthood booth with “Stand Up For Choice!” written on it]

Paula Patton: Let’s get to some real issues.

Kevin Costner: Okay.

Paula: Pro-life or pro-choice? Where do you stand?

Kevin: Well… Life’s pretty good. Right about now.

Paula: So, you’re pro-life then?

Kevin: Who isn’t?

Dennis Hopper: Artie? Artie?

Nathan Lane: What?

Dennis: I don’t feel comfortable with this. We’re headed in the wrong direction.

Nathan: No, it’s gonna be great.

Dennis: Artie.

Nathan: And action! Action!

woman: And action, Donald!

Dennis: What is our future? I’ll tell you what our future is. Children like these, like your daughter, Bud. Happy, free, full of promise. But imagine a world without all this joyous laughter. I’m talking about abortion. President Boone, he claims he’s pro-life. But yet under his leadership… no significant challenge has been leveled against Roe versus Wade. With your help, Bud, the Greenleaf administration… will lead a genuine effort to reverse this inhumane court decision. So, join me and the Democrats as we preserve all life… Thus fullfilling God’s intelligent design. I’m Donald Greenleaf and I approve this message.

Kevin: Well that don’t seem right.

Madeline Carroll: He’s only saying that because you said you didn’t like abortion.

Kevin: Yeah, but I didn’t say that.

Madeline: You told that you were pro-life.

Kevin: So what?

Madeline: Pro-life means anti-abortion. Roe versus Wade? Hello!

you can watch the political spoof ad here
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from D.F. Krause:

Both candidates, incumbent Republican President Andrew Boone (Kelsey Grammer) and Democratic challenger Donald Greenleaf (Dennis Hopper) descend upon Bud´s small New Mexico hometown – entourages in tow – to try to woo him during the 10-day interlude between Election Day and his scheduled re-vote. The resulting cacophony is the film´s satirical zenith. With the “help” of their respective political operatives, (played by Stanley Tucci and Nathan Lane), the candidates misinterpret and overanalyze Bud´s awkward public statements, resulting in a misdirected panderfest that has the Republican embracing gay marriage while the Democrat appears in an anti-abortion ad that can only be described as a hilarious spoof on the growing unseriousness with which the nation treats such a serious issue.

from collider.com:

Question: I understand that you wrote the speech at the end prior to the debate. I’m wondering what were the former drafts the writers had written? How much does your final version resemble them?

Costner: It was a collaborative thing. I insisted on it moving from where it was, but when I was able to explain to the writers what I was looking for, I did write on it as did they. The whole movie was just a good collaboration. It was interesting because I thought the razor edge they were able to ride—and I don’t mean that from a dramatic standpoint, I just thought it was interesting. They didn’t have to demonize either party to make their point. They were able to take hot button issues like immigration and gay rights and abortion, things where you can actually lose your friendship over a dinner table sometimes, and actually have you all laugh. You got it. You got what it was. It doesn’t change your stance, but you understand that nature of a political mind that to gain one vote might be willing to flip-flop themselves.

What was interesting is that they were able to capture that so gracefully, I think. When we got to that last speech, I thought a lot was riding on it. I felt it was a little bit too rah-rah, but was talking about ‘We can all be this, we can all be that.’ And I thought, ‘No, Bud’s got to look deeper into his life and realize that maybe he’s the enemy. That he’s the enemy of democracy. Complacency.’ And so we started to take away the words ‘we’ and Bud started to look inward at himself. We wanted to make sure he never out-stepped his own IQ, his own vocabulary. But I think in doing so, I think we really did something. I think we managed to, even the elitist, even the intellectual understood what Bud meant when he said, ‘We need a giant.’ It’s a thoughtful word. It’s a word that would not have been used by somebody who’s really going to lay it out for us. But when Bud says that maybe he’s the enemy, when Bud says we need people bigger than their speeches, I think he didn’t outstrip himself. And I think for Bud to understand and admit that he was embarrassed, it was much better that that speech be about what his feelings were, about what he was experiencing than suddenly him to become somebody else that he wasn’t capable of saying. And I think the triumph for Bud and his daughter was that that was him talking.

part of an article from politico.com:

Scheduled for release in August by the Walt Disney Co.’s Touchstone Pictures, the film depicts Republican strategists as nasty connivers without souls, willing to change their views on gay marriage and the environment just to get elected. Democratic campaigners are shown to be similarly hypocritical, spinelessly flip-flopping their long-held positions on abortion and immigration to win the election.

“Swing Vote” revolves around a low-life trailer park drunk (Costner) who, by virtue of his young daughter’s idealism, becomes responsible for deciding the fate of a closely tied presidential election. Both the incumbent Republican commander-in-chief (Kelsey Grammer) and the milquetoast liberal Democrat challenger (Dennis Hopper) descend on his small town and vie for his vote by shamelessly courting him, even going so far as to change their strongly-held beliefs to align themselves with what they mistakenly believe are his views.

A small crowd at an advance screening on the Disney studio lot in Burbank, California this week laughed loudest when Hopper’s character appears in political ads targeted directly at Costner’s redneck character. In one of the commercials, Hopper talks to the camera while illegal immigrants race across the border behind him. In another spot, the Democrat appears in a playground while children vanish in wisps of black smoke as he talks about revoking Roe v. Wade. Grammer’s Republican character also appears in mock ads, including one calling for the legalization of gay marriage.

Though the film skewers both Republicans and Democrats, the lion’s share of zingers are aimed at the GOP characters. While the Democrats come across as lightweight challengers, the conservative figures are depicted as storm troopers in business suits — willing to pollute beautiful landscapes in exchange for corporate payoffs and happy to cajole, badger and even bribe Costner’s character in exchange for his critical vote. If the Democrats come across as merely hapless, most of the Republicans are depicted as heartless.

In one of the movie’s opening scenes, the vile GOP campaign manager calls for hiring brawny bodybuilders with Aryan looks to scare away elderly Jewish voters from polling places in Florida. Later, when the Republican candidate has conflicted thoughts about all the hypocrisy, he asks his adviser, “What are we about?” The Rove-ian response: “Winning.”

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One Response to Swing Vote

  1. Pingback: Welcome | Abortion in Film

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