Daily News header

Grassroots Movie Review

By     get stories by email

You don't have to look too far these days to notice that quite a number of films abound with jobless and financially struggling characters, in stark contrast to the often recession-proof movies they inhabit. Top that off with the emergence of big election year themed movies turning up lately to stir into the volatile when not moody mix. And, enter Grassroots.

So is a movie about a local Seattle City Council election, however far fetched even if it actually happened, sufficient dramatic fuel for a feature film? Yes and no. Though a number of dismissive reviews for Grassroots lately, seem to confuse disdain for the topic of political campaigning itself - or even the real people these rabble-rouser characters are based on - with an assessment of the actual movie. Reality check, colleagues.

grass
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Situated chronologically in a post-millenial America in 2001, a few years after the explosive Battle Of Seattle protests against the WTO and just before 9/11 ensued, a rather unremarkable Seattle City Council election is gearing up. That is, until two unemployed alternative weekly journalists join forces to shake things up by running perhaps one of the most improbable but enthusiastic campaigns ever. Well, not exactly enthusiastic, at least for starters. The goofy pair consists of self-declared manic candidate out of nowhere Grant Cogswell (Joel David Moore), and glum pal Phil Campbell (Jason Biggs) whom he has to nearly drag into the race kicking and screaming, as his campaign manager.

Coasting along on mostly unfocused, giddy hyperbole having something or other to do with the city monorail, Cogswell's greatest challenge may be locking horns with his rather laid back and affable incumbent opponent, Richard McIver (Cedric The Entertainer). And since McIver is is African-American in an overwhelmingly white liberal city, any political attack against his rival has the potential of seeming insensitive, to say the least. Which it does.

But the defiant duo thanklessly presses forward - Cogswell high on daffy rhetoric, and Campbell concurrently nursing a broken heart over the woman who just dumped him in frustrated reaction to the entire fiasco. And all the while fueled by an imagined youthful people's power that does in fact materialize. Sort of.

Written and directed by Stephen Gyllenhall (Waterland, Homegrown) and adapted from Phil Campbell's book, Grassroots: Politics...But Not as Usual, this spunky political satire does its earnest best to invigorate a fairly slim story, and does in fact succeed in squeezing some lemons into lemonade in the process. But possibly most surprising of all, is Grassroots' inadvertent prophetic conjuring of the Occupy Wall Street Movement to come, without even knowing it.

Samuel Goldwyn Films
Rated R
2 1/2 stars

Trailer of Grassroots:

Prairie Miller is a NY multimedia journalist online, in print and on radio, and on WBAI/Pacifica National Radio Network's Arts Express. Read more reviews by Prairie Miller. Contact Prairie through NewsBlaze. Read more stories by Prairie Miller.

  Please click this get stories by email button to be notified about future stories, and please leave a comment below.

  Please leave a comment here     If it does not display within 10 seconds, please refresh the page

Related Movie Reviews News

Brendan Gleeson, the Irish actor who plays Father James Lavelle in the modern morality play, Calvary, is interviewed by Kam Williams.
Movie reviewer Kam Williams gives Calvary 4 stars. It is a modern morality play that walks a fine line between playful whodunit and sobering parable.
Movie reviewer Kam Williams review the film, 'The Almost Man'. Williams gives the film, 3 stars and says it is a droll dramedy that examines the male metamorphosis from bachelor to family man.
Kam Williams presents his Top Ten DVD List for July 29, 2014, including Next Goal Wins, Secret State, Noah, D-Day 360, and Half of a Yellow Sun.
Prairie Miller talks to Actor Mandy Patinkin about Wish I Was Here and Homeland. Also on the script, A Most Wanted Man, a German spy thriller
Movie reviewer, Kam Williams interviews actor, songwriter Keith Robinson about his new film, 'Get on Up' for NewsBlaze readers around the world.

 

NewsBlaze Writers Of The Month



Popular Stories This Month

newsletter logo

NewsBlaze
Copyright © 2004-2014 NewsBlaze Pty. Ltd.
Use of this website is subject to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy  | DMCA Notice               Press Room   |    Visit NewsBlaze Mobile Site