Swing Vote, appropriately released during the election year 2008, is an excellent piece about how the American political system works. Writer-Director Joshua Mitchel Stern definitely knew what he was doing when he created this movie. This movie is comedic, yet thought provoking. It brings up some excellent points about voting, the candidates, American Politics, and Americans. It describes exactly what a Swing Vote is and how it can occur.
In Swing Vote we are shown how the voting system works and how Bud Johnson (played by Kevin Costner), an ordinary beer drinking low-income American, finds himself in the least likeliest positions, where his single vote determines the fate of the United States for the next four years by being the deciding vote for which candidate will win the election and become President. Yes, this is possible; can happen in any American election. Why it is so important to vote. This movie shows the importance of issues, what platform each candidate has, and how important it is to each candidate to win. Shows how low our politicians are willing to sink as they campaign for one man's vote.
The candidates in the movie were awesome. Dennis Hopper portrayed the Democratic Party candidate Donald Greenleaf. Donald Greenleaf wanted to win because of an environmentalist agenda and was for "everybody no matter what race". Kelsey Grammer (aka as the character Frasier from the television series Cheers and Frasier ) was excellent as President Andrew "Andy" Boone who was running again for a second term for the Republican Party. His platform was conservative, with a pro-environment twist. Swing Vote showed how "human" and "thoughtful" a President is. Was great to see Bud Johnson, an Independent ordinary Joe, spend time with the President, and get to know him as a friend. Both Mr. Hopper and Mr. Grammer displayed their unique and expert acting skills in these roles; truly something to admire.
There was a subplot about family and parenting which I found very tender and endearing. This film is also about a daughter, Molly Johnson (played by Madeline Carroll), who loves her alcoholic father and from school is learning about America's voting and political system. Her teacher, Mrs. Abernathy (Mary Sue Evans), is exactly what a teacher should be and is truly inspiring. The subplot shows the ups and downs about rearing a child including its rewards.
Mare Winningham was great in her role as Larissa Johnson, Molly Johnson's mother who could not be there for Molly; was not in her to be a mother or wife to anyone. This was a tough role to play. Mare Winningham showed her expert acting skills!
Other co-starring cast members in order of appearance were: Paula Patton (as Kate Madison the local News Reporter who was the first to find out Bud was the "Swing Vote" voter), Nathan Lane (as Art Crumb), Stanley Tucci (played Martin Fox), George Lopez (was John Sweeney), Judge Reinhold (from the Santa Clause movie series once again showed flexibility as he portrayed a guy that works for an egg company, Walter, who was Bud's friend and co-worker), Charles "Chief" Asten (expert as Bud's boss, Lewis, who had to lay Bud off because he had proof of drinking on the job), Richard Petty (portrayed himself giving us all a treat as Bud and Molly rode in Mr. Petty's car), Willie Nelson (as himself gave Bud a message), Mark Moses (great as Attorney General Wyatt who was the President's Campaign Manager), and Nana Visitor (played Mrs. Galena Greenleaf, the wife of Donald Greenleaf - both she and Dennis Hopper were great in their portrayal as a couple on the campaign trail).
Swing Vote is rated PG-13, mostly for adult political content. This film is 1 hour 59 minutes in length. Great political satire and well worth every second. I highly recommend this movie; especially if you are an American voter.
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