Miles on Movies


reviewed by R. Miles Mendenhall

The critics are wrong. I saw Emilio Estevez’s “Bobby” yesterday and found it to be a series of snapshots of a cross section of Angelino’s at the Ambassador Hotel the day and evening of the night Bobby Kennedy was assassinated. The film is less an exploration of who Robert F. Kennedy was as it is a psycho/sociological slide show of various people from different classes, races and life situations. It also has one of the funniest acid trip sequences I’ve ever seen in a film. It is moving and brings out the volatile state of the U.S. in March of 1968.

Yes, it perpetuates the “Kennedy Myth” of, “if only they had lived the country would have been pulled out of Vietnam and the War on Poverty would have been won and all would be good in the land.” The Kennedy reality was much more complicated and had plenty of grey areas, but the film is only a work of fiction that shows the hopes and fears of that time, and draws very clear parallel’s to our own.

The acting of Laurence Fishburn, Freddy Rodriguez, William H. Macy, Nick Cannon and Sharon Stone all stand out in a cast with Emilio, Anthony Hopkins, Harry Belefonte, Demi Moore, Ashton Kucher (who’s hilarious as a spaced drug dealing hippy shaman/priest and what the hell is that stuff in his teeth!?)  Heather Graham, Helen Hunt, Lindsay Lohan, Elijah Wood and many others.

It is interesting, if not the most effective technique, how Estevez juxtaposes news shots of Bobby with the back of an actor’s head to give the real RFK a supporting role in the film.

By the way if you’ve never seen Estevez’s “Men At Work” (1990) it’s a great slapstick eco-comedy about government corruption and toxic dumping. And his role in “Repo Man” (1984) should be near the top of all time great quirky performances in one of the all time great quirky films.

See also Bobby review by William P. Meyers'

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