November 24, 2006
Volume 34
Issue 47
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Saturday, Sep 26, 2020



Huge ensemble cast overwhelms Bobby
Huge ensemble cast overwhelms Bobby
by Lorelei Quenzer - SGN A&E Writer

Directed by Emilio Estevez
Starring Harry Belafonte, Nick Cannon, Emilio Estevez, Laurence Fishburne,
Heather Graham, Anthony Hopkins, Helen Hunt, Joshua Jackson, Ashton
Kutcher, Shia LaBeouf, Lindsay Lohan, William H. Macy, Demi Moore,
Freddy Rodríguez, Martin Sheen, Christian Slater, Sharon Stone, Elijah Wood
Opened Thanksgiving Day

First, get all of the Brat Pack jokes out of your system. Bobby is a serious movie. Directed by Emilio Estevez.

Okay, I just re-read those last two sentences and my eyes crossed. I know it's not the point of the movie, but any hands from those who don't think it's right that someone who starred in Young Guns I and II is directing a movie about the assassination of RFK? Hey, I had to get it off my chest.

Bobby looks at the lives of 22 people - all fictional - who, on the day of the 1968 California Primary, are at the Democratic Party Headquarters at LA's Ambassador Hotel. There's the hotel manager (William H. Macy) and his wife, the hotel's hairdresser (Sharon Stone); the bigoted head of catering (Christian Slater); the kitchen staff (Laurence Fishburne, Freddy Rodríguez, Jacob Vargas); the liquored-up headline singer and her agent husband (Demi Moore and Emilio Estevez). There are young campaign aides and volunteers (Joshua Jackson, Nick Cannon, Shia LaBeouf) whose levels of commitment range from "rabid" to "rather get stoned." There's the couple getting married (Lindsay Lohan and Elijah Wood) and the couple on their second honeymoon (Martin Sheen and Helen Hunt). And there are a couple of duffers just playing chess in the lobby (Anthony Hopkins and Harry Belafonte).

Sheesh. That's a lot of story, right? And yet, not so much. With so many characters to follow over one day, we hardly get enough info to care that much about any one of them. Freddy Rodríguez ("Six Feet Under," Harsh Times) gets an interesting story line as a Hispanic waiter pulled in for a double shift on Election Day; the movie could have focused on the hotel staff and I would have been satisfied. Lindsay Lohan is effective as a youngster marrying a high school friend to keep him out of Vietnam, and Demi Moore looks like she's having a lot of fun being a bitchy boozehound. But between identifying the A-list actors and keeping track of the timeline, I found myself waiting for the ultimate shoe to drop.

Estevez is clearly passionate about his subject, and by using selective archival footage of Robert F. Kennedy he portrays a candidate with the potential of crossing the color and class lines that divided the. The cynic in me wants to question whether RFK was the saint Estevez paints, and in a way it's exactly that cynicism that the movie is addressing. I don't know about you, but I certainly don't lust - in my heart or otherwise - for any politician who's been around since I've been allowed to vote. Even right out of high school, as the black sheep of my Republican family voting against Reagan, I wasn't inspired to quit my job and take up any candidates' cause. But people did just that for Bobby Kennedy, and it's one of the few times I can remember being jealous of my parents' generation; I'm nostalgic for an idealism I never experienced..Bobby isn't an even-handed look at RFK. It's a right-wing love song to a fallen idol. Then again, no Republicans were hurt in the making of this film.

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