Wednesday, July 4, 2007
You know how new plays and probably movies get a reading first - they work out the kinks in rehearsals or in front of audiences to gage what works and what doesn't? Well, Bobby doesn't feel like it made it past that stage. They still had a lot of kinks to work out. There were lots of story lines that were supposed to mirror the complicated lives of Americans at the time RFK was shot the night of the California primary. However, not all Americans are equally interesting or worthy of being acknowledged as part of this story. There were probably seven major story lines -Emilio Estevez and Demi Moore, William H. Macy and Sharon Stone/Heather Graham, Lindsay Lohan and Elijah Wood, Shia LeBeouf and friends, Helen Hunt and Martin Sheen, Freddy Rodriguez (from Six Feet Under) and Jacob Vargas, and Nick Cannon and Joshua Jackson. Oh, and Anthony Hopkins, Harry Belafonte, Christian Slater, Laurence Fishburne, David Krumholtz and Ashton Kutcher were also in the movie. The 3 story lines I liked and wanted to keep coming back were the Helen Hunt/Martin Sheen story of a socialite wife who is trying to figure out who she is beyond the perfect dress/shoes/bag combo and actually has a husband who seems willing to encourage that discovery. They probably only had 2-3 short scenes, but they were really touching. However, they weren't really closely tied to Bobby Kennedy or his assassination - or any of the other characters. The second story I would have liked to hear more about was actually the Lindsay Lohan/Elijah Wood story - they're high school friends getting married so he can avoid going to serve in Vietnam. However, the story is again, very minimally explored, even in the context of RFK - little mention of whether they're against the war or just dying in general. They have excellent chemistry, and LiLo actually does a good job portraying a nervous bride getting married under less than ideal circumstances (her family won't give their support). The last story worth watching was between Freddy Rodriguez and Jacob Vargas working as busboys in the kitchens at the Ambassador Hotel. It actually still had some poignancy in today's world that the other stories lacked. They spent a lot of time talking about the lack of respect "mexicans" or latinos get for working hard. Rodriguez plays a man trying to assert some of the civil rights blacks are fighting for, but he does it in a quiet way that rings a little more persuasively that the black characters working in RFK's campaign fighting angrily for their own place in the world. He says he just wants the respect of being asked to work a double shift, rather than being told he's going to because otherwise he'll be fired. He and Laurence Fishburne have a moment only Fishburne can create talking about how Rodriguez's attitude will win out someday and he'll be "the once and future king" which is echoed when RFK is shot. So other than those three stories which probably totalled less than 45 minutes of a 2-hour movie, the movie was pretty slow, but had some hilarious moments of Shia LeBeouf and a friend dropping acid with hippy Ashton Kutcher. So, as a whole movie, Bobby doesn't work, but as a workshop piece for a few great scenes that really should be developed into full-blown stage or screen stories, the kinks could easily be removed.
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