Yesterday we had visits from a termite inspector, a sump pump inspector, a chimney inspector (who told about playing an extra in De Palma’s Untouchables), and yet another home inspector, and so you can well imagine how happy we were to get out of the house last night and go to the funky Glen Ellyn Art Theater.
We saw Kevin Costner’s Swing Vote. What a sweet, good-hearted movie! There’s a bit of cursing because the protagonist, Bud, is a lowlife, but he’s not an angry lowlife, just a confused, put-upon lowlife — his cursing expresses his eternal befuddlement. No one in Swing Vote is killed. No one even fights. No men dress in spandex and pretend to fly. We didn’t know this sort of movie was even allowed any more.
We’ve come to expect two, maybe (if we’re lucky) three laugh lines in the films categorized as “comedy” lately. Swing Vote had lots. One of the presidential candidates whose future will be decided (because of a wildly improbable fluke on election day) by unemployed goofus Bud, is making a “tough on illegal immigration” ad, against his own convictions, because he has been informed (wrongly) that Bud hates Mexicans. The extras playing illegals are waiting to begin filming. “Are these my undocumented workers?” asks the candidate. “Well,” quietly corrects the PC handler, “we prefer ‘undocumented actors.'”
Swing Vote is not so much a political film as a fable (with politics as the setting) about responsibility. If you lean Right, you may see the film as a bit left-leaning. If you lean Left, you may see the film as a bit right-leaning. But in fact, Swing Vote, like lowlife Bud, is purely American: it hates no one, wishes everyone well.