Bob Roberts

Tim Robbins is a genius.  In 1994, he made a satirical movie called Bob Roberts that documented a fictional right-wing candidate’s (Bob Roberts – played by Tim Robbins) run for senate in Pennsylvania against a 30-year incumbant democrat (played by Gore Vidal) in the 1990 election cycle.  Amy and I saw it in Boston when it came out and both “kind of remembered it.”

We watched it tonight.  We’re both tired from the week and I’m sick, so it was an easy decision to lay on the couch and melt our brains with a movie.  Oops – wrong movie.

Bob Roberts is incredibly handsome, charismatic, a son of hippies who runs away and goes to military school, makes a fortune on Wall Street, and then becomes a folk singer who decides to run for office while trading Nikkei futures (“you can always get information before everyone else – you just have to know how and work for it,”) travelling around in a campaign bus that says “Roberts PRIDE” on it, and starting each day with a fencing match of indeterminate length before hopping on his motorcycle to lead the tour bus to the next campaign stop.

It’s magnificent.  And frightening.  And depressing.  The songs are poetry (in that sick, twisted way) – Robbins performs them all.  As a character, Bob Roberts is incredible and goes to any end to get elected, including faking his own attempted assasination.  Robbins plays him flawlessly, which is deliciously ironic given how liberal Robbins is.

It’s amazing that 10 years later it’s right on the money.  Bob Roberts is a winner when you get sick of watching the CNN or Fox election coverage.


  • Jenny Lawton

    So, maybe you should watch the original Manchurian Candidate while you’re on a roll …

    I was sitting in my bed listening to Nick just giggling away at GROUNDHOG DAY today and that was a welcome relief from the NYT in my lap.

    Nov 2 can’t come soon enough.

  • Adam DuVander

    I wrote a paper on Bob Roberts in college, so I bought the VHS and watched it many, many times. Then I put it away for a long time and it moved with me several times.

    I grabbed it a few months ago and watched it again. Wow. Bob Roberts’ entourage is a lot like a factual right-wing candidate. And he pulls the emotional strings in similar ways.

  • jackson

    Art imitating life imitating art. We’re in it deep friends.

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