Monday, August 20, 2012

Swing Vote directed by Joshua Michael Stern

Ok, I admit that I haven't been reading much lately. I have a chronic headache from the raging flood of robocalls, television ads and mailings made by political parties trying to convince me how to vote in November's election. I found that watching a few movies improved my mood, made me think, and even taught me a few things! If you feel like giving up and not voting this November, just remember that your vote (yes, yours!) could be the Swing Vote that determines our next president.

In this humorous, heartwarming film set in small town New Mexico, Kevin Costner plays Bud Johnson, the irresponsible single dad to a precocious and very civic-minded twelve-year-old daughter. Bud has a good heart, but he's lazy and apathetic about much of life, especially politics. His daughter, Molly, who is passionate about the upcoming presidential election, tries unsuccessfully to get her dad interested. When Bud fails to meet her after work at his voting precinct, she makes up her mind to sneak into the booth and vote with his ballot. But, as luck would have it, a glitch registers Bud's vote with no candidate designated. Unbelievably, the result of the election comes down to one vote...Bud's! The candidates began to woo him and the media hounds him. The fate of the nation rests on his shoulders and, above all, he wants to make Molly proud. Can you imagine the pressure?

Bud's situation is fictional (thank goodness!), but our country found itself hanging in limbo when something very similar happened in the 2000 presidential election. This event was dramatized in the award-winning film Recount. You can also explore the life of the ultimate victor in the movie W., directed by Oliver Stone.

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