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» Film-Tech Forum   » Community   » Film Handlers' Movie Reviews   » The Contender

Author Topic: The Contender
Gracia L. Babbidge
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 709
From: Bowdoin, Maine
Registered: Aug 2000

 - posted 10-14-2000 12:59 AM      Profile for Gracia L. Babbidge   Author's Homepage   Email Gracia L. Babbidge   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Ever since I first saw the previews for this film, I have been anxiously awaiting its release.
I was not disappointed with the film in any way. (Nor was the quality of the presentation disappointing, after all, I viewed at the theater I work for, I assembled the print, and the only other operator that has run it thus far has even more experience as a projectionist than I do! The numb parents that had sent their kids into a feature that ended earlier, prompting the kids to dash in and out of the auditorium was irksome though - yet the movie was too intense for to want to hop up and fetch a manager to straighten them out!)
What will be disappointing is that the film more than likely, will not appeal to the public enough to be a success at the box office.

The film is intelligent, well written, and well acted. The plot is something that you can really sink your teeth into. It is not the same old rehashed fluff that the studios keep cranking out.
I dare say that this is one of the best films that has been released this year. (I know that may not be saying much...but still...)

I may very well go see this one again.

~The Purple-Tressed Booth B*tch

In some cultures, what I do is considered normal.

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Dwayne Caldwell
Master Film Handler

Posts: 323
From: Rockwall, TX, USA
Registered: Apr 2000

 - posted 10-15-2000 02:28 PM      Profile for Dwayne Caldwell   Email Dwayne Caldwell   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
When I saw the trailer for this, I thought it could go either way having real promise or real suck potential. And when I viewed the film, because there was nothing else interesting to screen, I found it to be the latter. This film was a true piece of shit.

SPOILERS AHEAD for those actually interested in watching this thing.

First of all, I was led to believe Jeff Bridge's character as the President was a bad guy. I mean here is this Governor that tries to save a person's life (keep in mind at this point, the President has no knowledge of the fact said Governor paid said person to drive her car over the bridge) and he gets punished for it because his failure looks bad. Then the President basically patronizes and threatens Christian Slater's character about his honest feelings for Senator what's her name (Joan Allen's character. I cared so much about this movie, I forgot all the characters' names) and states he won't make it in the Oval Office and that's okay because Slater followed his heart. There can be no sense of morally (except in front of a camera). It's just playing the game. That's politics for you, right? Oh but wait! Then Bridges makes this moving speech about how its wrong to slander a politician (how common is that?) basically because Oldman's character is intimated that a woman will serve as V.P. and it's not a terribly nice thing to do to a person anyway. Well he was in front of the cameras. But needless to say, the movie has failed to reach me in caring for the President which I know I was supposed to because of the uplifting music at the end of the show during his speech.

Then we're introduced to some behind the scenes man at one point of the show (he'd be the one that said they must realize they are going to obliterate a person's life) and we never see him again. Nor the opposing Governor for that matter. I mean this man is only Oldman's goldenboy and Allen's opposition and a politician with a terrible secret to hide. And there's the F.B.I. Agent snooping around asking questions in no particular order, but the case of the Governor and his Negligent Homicide happens to be solved in the background while we're subjected to Allen's woes of being labeled a slut. I mean I know Allen is the focus of the story but that climax in the office with the Director of the F.B.I. reading the Govenor his rights is unexpected because the writing is bad, not because it was a clever unexpected plot twist. Coherency. The scriptwriter should really look it up.

But I will admit Allen did a good job. I was really worried that she'd come off as a pushy bitch, but she came off looking like a professional competent politician who knew when to be strong and when to cry. And Sam Elliot really surprised me with his performance as the straightforward Adviser who had no delusions that they were all politicians here, and therefore backstabbers and cheats. He did a good job. And then there's Oldman. Need I say more? But in the end, even these talented actors can't save the political piece of crap that is the Contender.

The man with the magic hands.

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Mike Spaeth
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1112
From: Hampton, GA
Registered: Jul 2000

 - posted 10-15-2000 03:35 PM      Profile for Mike Spaeth   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Spaeth   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I enjoyed the film, despite the leftist agenda that was pushed. Ever notice how the "good guys" were the lovable President and the poor VP candidate, who was treated like a "hero" (for not following party lines and switching parties). Then you had the bad Republican hound dog trying to destroy the case because of a personal agenda against the nominee. However, it was a very intense film, and, even though I don't agree with the political standpoints that were alluded to, I still enjoyed it.

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Nic Margherio
Film Handler

Posts: 91
From: St. Louis MO, USA
Registered: Dec 1999

 - posted 10-15-2000 10:14 PM      Profile for Nic Margherio   Email Nic Margherio   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The liberalist propaganda at the heart of the poorly written script is what made this a "bad" movie as opposed to a "decent" movie. It did have some potential but it shot itself in the foot with sections of implausible plot and strong left-wing motives. Any free-thinking citizen will admit that this movie was simply a vehicle to push left-wing veiwpoints.

Aside from that, Gary Oldman turned in an exceptional acting performance, Joan Allen was fairly good, and the rest of the cast held their own with characters that didn't really have a whole lot to them. For me, it was extremeley hard to beleive Jeff Bridges as the President, being an enormous fan of The Big Lebowski, in which Jeff had his definitive roll. ("I'm The Dude, man, ya know, so thats what you call me - that or Duder, His Dudeness, or El Duderino, ya know, if your not into the whole brevity thing.") I suppose seeing him in any other roll will always be hard for me, (and it didn't help having Sam Elliot, who played "The Stranger" in The Big Lebowski, right there next to him as one of his aides) but the President of the United States? Come on.

Another thing that bothered me was the score. It sounded to me that (I can't remember the guy's name right now) was trying to much sound like John Williams, playing on emotions that just weren't there, ultimately interfering with style and the flow of the movie.

All and all it might be worth seeing just for the acting, but the rest of it was just a bunch of rubbish, just like (almost) everything else that we play.

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