Swing Vote (2008) Poster

Swing Vote (2008)

  • Rate: 6.0/10 total 9,755 votes 
  • Genre: Comedy | Drama
  • Release Date: 1 August 2008 (USA)
  • Runtime: 120 min
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Swing Vote (2008)


Swing Vote 2008tt1027862.jpg poster

  • IMDb page: Swing Vote (2008)
  • Rate: 6.0/10 total 9,755 votes 
  • Genre: Comedy | Drama
  • Release Date: 1 August 2008 (USA)
  • Runtime: 120 min
  • Filming Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
  • Budget: $21,000,000(estimated)
  • Gross: $16,284,360(USA)(12 October 2008)
  • Director: Joshua Michael Stern
  • Stars: Kevin Costner, Paula Patton and Kelsey Grammer
  • Original Music By: John Debney   
  • Soundtrack: Washington Post March
  • Sound Mix: SDDS | Dolby Digital | DTS
  • Plot Keyword: Vote | Election | New Mexico | Polling Place | Ballot

Writing Credits By:

  • Jason Richman (written by) &
  • Joshua Michael Stern (written by)

Known Trivia

  • Kate watches video, including the surreptitiously-recorded video of Molly, on a Chyron Duet, a broadcast graphics machine. It can use video files, but it’s generally not used for viewing video.
  • An unofficial remake of El disputado voto del seƱor Cayo.
  • Kevin Costner’s second movie with Dennis Hopper in a major supporting role. In Waterworld, Dennis Hopper played Deacon, the main antagonist.
  • Mare Winningham’s character makes references to a history of drug addiction. In Wyatt Earp she played Mattie Blaylock, a laudanum addict who was Wyatt (Kevin Costner)’s common-law wife.
  • Madeline Carroll received an introducing credit, although she had been in 4 other films prior to this.

Goofs: Revealing mistakes: When Bud and his daughter are first riding in their pick-up truck, the transmission is clearly in park.

Plot: In a remarkable turn-of-events, the result of the presidential election comes down to one man's vote. Full summary »  »

Story: November, 2004, New Mexico. Bud is a slacker with one good thing in his life, his engaging fifth-grade daughter Molly. On election day, Bud is supposed to meet her at the polling place. When he doesn't show, she sneaks a ballot and is about to vote when the power goes off. It turns out that New Mexico's electoral votes will decide the contest, and there it's tied with one vote needing recasting – Bud's. The world's media and both presidential candidates, including the current President, descend on Bud in anticipation of his re-vote in two weeks. Can the clueless Bud, even with the help of Molly and a local TV reporter, handle this responsibility?Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>  


Synopsis: Kevin Costner stars as Bud Johnson, an apathetic, beer slinging, lovable loser, who is coasting through a life that has passed him by, except for the one bright spot in his mundane existence, his precocious, over achieving twelve-year old daughter, Molly. She takes care of them both, until one mischievous moment on Election Day, when she accidentally sets off a chain of events which culminates in the presidential election coming down to one vote, her dads.

Suddenly, Bud Johnson, the nobody, becomes the voice for everybody when the world realizes that his vote will be the one that elects the next president. Politicians invade the small town of Texico, New Mexico and its unwitting inhabitants, waging war for Bud’s vote.



FullCast & Crew

Produced By:

  • Kevin Costner known as producer
  • Terry Dougas known as executive producer
  • Ted Field known as executive producer
  • Robin Jonas known as executive producer
  • Paris Kasidokostas Latsis known as executive producer
  • Todd Lewis known as line producer
  • Jim Wilson known as producer

FullCast & Crew:

  • Kevin Costner known as Bud Johnson
  • Madeline Carroll known as Molly Johnson
  • Paula Patton known as Kate Madison
  • Kelsey Grammer known as President Andrew Boone
  • Dennis Hopper known as Donald Greenleaf
  • Nathan Lane known as Art Crumb
  • Stanley Tucci known as Martin Fox
  • George Lopez known as John Sweeney
  • Judge Reinhold known as Walter
  • Charles Esten known as Lewis (as Charles 'Chip' Esten)
  • Richard Petty known as Himself
  • Willie Nelson known as Himself
  • Mare Winningham known as Larissa Johnson
  • Mark Moses known as Attorney General Wyatt
  • Nana Visitor known as Galena Greenleaf
  • Floyd 'Red Crow' Westerman known as Chief Running Bear
  • Shawn Prince known as Jed
  • Dale O'Malley known as Hank
  • Mary Sue Evans known as Mrs. Abernathy
  • Gary Farmer known as Curly
  • Adam Taylor known as Justice Brower
  • Bruce McIntosh known as Father In Classroom
  • Tom Romero known as Ad Exec
  • Tony Blankley known as Himself
  • Aaron Brown known as Himself
  • Campbell Brown known as Herself
  • Tucker Carlson known as Himself
  • James Carville known as Himself
  • Matt Frei known as Himself
  • Mary Hart known as Herself
  • Arianna Huffington known as Herself
  • Larry King known as Himself
  • Anne Kornblut known as Herself
  • Bill Maher known as Himself
  • Chris Matthews known as Himself
  • Lawrence O'Donnell known as Himself
  • Forrest Fyre known as Ted Drake
  • Ivan Brutsche known as Carl
  • Sheila Ivy Traister known as Vermont Reporter #1
  • Jeremy Jojola known as Vermont Reporter #2
  • Suzanne Michaels known as Vermont Reporter #3
  • Cynthia Ruffin known as Boone Staffer #1
  • Jason Henning known as Boone Staffer #2
  • Les Shapiro known as Network Reporter
  • Cynthia Straus known as Darlene
  • Chance Romero known as Pizza Delivery Guy
  • Charles Moore known as UPS Delivery Man
  • Colin Jones known as KNME Techie
  • Trista Callander known as Commercial Director
  • Richard M. Dereyes known as Market Reporter #1
  • Shauna Clark known as Market Reporter #2
  • Deborah Brown known as Market Reporter #3 (as Debra-Jayne Brown)
  • Price Hall known as Market Reporter #4
  • Olajida Kashu known as Gay Doctor
  • Jessica Morin known as Gay Female Cop
  • Tim Janis known as Gay Soldier
  • Scott Meyer known as Gay Partner #1
  • Brent Lambert known as Gay Partner #2
  • Christopher Dempsey known as Secret Service Agent #1
  • David Meeker known as Secret Service Agent #2
  • Janeal Arison known as TV Producer
  • Madelin Whelpley known as Female Student #1
  • Alyssa Gutierrez known as Female Student #2
  • Amber Midthunder known as Female Student #3
  • Taylor Warden known as Male Student #1
  • Angelo Martinez known as Male Student #2
  • Isaiah Bergert known as Male Student #3
  • Arron Shiver known as Greenleaf Aide #1
  • Kate Schroeder known as Greenleaf Aide #2
  • David Dalton known as Greenleaf Aide #3
  • Heather Hitt known as Greenleaf Aide #4
  • Pierre Barrera known as Henry
  • Todd Lewis known as ET Segment Producer
  • Dan Gerrity known as Trailer Reporter #1
  • Cris Ornelas known as Trailer Reporter #2
  • Esodie Geiger known as Trailer Reporter #3
  • Constance Hsu known as Trailer Reporter #4
  • Katalina Parrish known as Trailer Reporter #5
  • Joshua Michael Stern known as Commercial Director
  • Tony Stern known as Gospel Minister
  • Mara Holguin known as Waitress
  • John J. Coinman known as Bud Johnson's Band (as John Coinman)
  • Blair Forward known as Bud Johnson's Band
  • Teddy Morgan known as Bud Johnson's Band
  • Larry Cobb known as Bud Johnson's Band
  • Charles Park Chisholm known as Bud Johnson's Band
  • Bobby Yang known as Bud Johnson's Band
  • Robert Cain known as Secret Service Agent #3
  • Vicente Alirez known as Protester (uncredited)
  • Alexandra Andrews known as Photographer (uncredited)
  • Richard Barela known as Mourner (uncredited)
  • Chris Bentley known as Secret Service Agent (uncredited)
  • Robert Anthony Brass known as BBC Reporter (uncredited)
  • Keanu Briones known as Child on Playground Slide (uncredited)
  • Alex Castillo known as Funeral Extra (uncredited)
  • Bryan Chacon known as Funeral Extra (uncredited)
  • Dave Colon known as News Reporter (uncredited)
  • Jennifer Dunstan known as TV Reporter (uncredited)
  • Pamela Finley known as First Lady Boone (uncredited)
  • David Giammarco known as C.J. (uncredited)
  • Cliff Gravel known as Cheering Fan (uncredited)
  • Chaz Grundy known as Greenleaf Aide (uncredited)
  • Rachel Hroncich known as Reporter (uncredited)
  • Gene Hunt known as Presidential Supporter (uncredited)
  • Bob Jesser known as Softball (uncredited)
  • Alex Knight known as Waiter (uncredited)
  • Daniel Knight known as Presidential Advisor (uncredited)
  • Michael A. Lente known as Roswellian Alien (uncredited)
  • John Macho known as Sierra Club Member (uncredited)
  • William E. Marshall known as Reporter (uncredited)
  • Cameron Martin known as Jody Maroni Vendor (uncredited)
  • Charles Moore known as UPS Delivery Man (uncredited)
  • Therese Olson known as Walter's Party Girl (uncredited)
  • Brian Reece known as Secret Service Agent (uncredited)
  • Fred Resler known as Presidential Supporter (uncredited)
  • Janet Smith known as High End Reception Guest (uncredited)
  • Wes Trudell known as Randall (uncredited)
  • Rebekah Wiggins known as Lesbian Schoolteacher (uncredited)



Supporting Department

Makeup Department:
  • Enid Arias known as hair stylist
  • Jennifer Bell known as key hair stylist
  • Elle Elliott known as hair department head
  • Blair Leonard known as makeup artist
  • Dennis Liddiard known as co-makeup department head (as G. Dennis Liddiard)
  • Medusah known as assistant hair department head (as Anne Aulenta-Spira)
  • Francisco X. Pérez known as makeup department head (as Francisco X. Perez)
  • Danlee Winegar known as makeup artist (as Danlee A. Winegar)
  • Sara Bozik known as additional makeup (uncredited)
  • Elizabeth Gallegos known as assistant hair stylist (uncredited)
  • Jennifer McDaniel known as additional makeup artist (uncredited)
  • Jolynn Nieto known as assistant makeup artist (uncredited)
  • Deidre Parness known as makeup artist (uncredited)

Art Department:

  • Timothy Abreu known as propmaker (as Tim Abreu)
  • Chris Alvarez known as welding foreman
  • Brett Andrews known as property assistant
  • Arthur Arndt known as propmaker
  • Craig B. Ayers Sr. known as lead greensman
  • James Barth known as construction foreman
  • David D. Baumann known as property assistant
  • John Berger known as set designer
  • David Bird known as laborer
  • Lou Boggs known as welder
  • Marco Britt known as graphic designer
  • Mike Carrillo known as assistant property master (as Michael Carrillo)
  • James W. Center known as painter (as Jim Center)
  • Matt Chavez known as laborer
  • Victor Chavez known as propmaker gangboss
  • Lance Cheatham known as set dresser
  • Charles Chesser known as propmaker
  • Dennis Collins known as on-set painter
  • Sage Emmett Connell known as set dresser
  • Kenneth Cook known as propmaker
  • Mike De Luca known as mill foreman (as Michael Maloney)
  • Michael Deal known as set decorator: Los Angeles
  • Brian DeNike known as greensman
  • Chadney Everett known as set dresser
  • Graham Griswold known as set dresser
  • Wellyem Guerra known as set dresser
  • Miguel Gurule known as paint foreman (as Miguel C. Gurule)
  • Mark Gutierrez known as propmaker
  • Paul Haag known as set dresser
  • Paul Harman known as signwriter
  • Glenn Harris known as painter
  • Paul Arthur Hartman known as leadman (as Paul Hartman)
  • Virginia Hopkins known as lead painter
  • Arlen Johnson known as construction general foreman (as Arlen J. Johnson)
  • Lorin Johnson known as laborer
  • Lise Landeau known as set decoration buyer
  • Emily Latting known as on-set art department production assistant
  • David A. Lente known as greensman
  • Amahl Lovato known as set designer (as Amahl H. Lovato)
  • Roberta Marquez Seret known as art department coordinator (as Roberta Marquez)
  • John Marshall known as laborer
  • Jerry Martinez known as labor foreman
  • Geni McAndrews known as on-set art department production assistant
  • Randy Moffitt known as propmaker
  • Leigh Anne Montaño known as art department production assistant (as Leigh Anne Stoudenmire)
  • Orlando R. Montoya known as greensman
  • Kimberly Murak known as painter
  • Kirk Newren known as propmaker
  • Jesus Ornelas known as welder (as Jesus Ornelas Jr.)
  • Jesus M. Ornelas known as plaster gangboss (as Jesus M. Ornelas Sr.)
  • John Peach known as propmaker gangboss
  • David Phillips known as propmaker foreman
  • Jacob Reinwand known as art department production assistant
  • Zacheriah T. Rheam known as toolman (as Zacheriah Rheam)
  • Ernest Romine known as painter
  • Sebastian Rutkowsky Ruiz known as painter
  • John Shane known as propmaker
  • Jaime Souza known as paint foreman
  • Loren Stielstra known as propmaker
  • Travis Stroope known as propmaker
  • Mike Stull known as welder
  • Karen Teneyck known as graphic designer
  • David Thompson known as carpenter
  • Andrew Trujillo known as set dresser
  • David Trujillo known as set dresser
  • Robert P. Trujillo known as set dresser
  • Jim Twocrow known as propmaker
  • Steve Vigil known as propmaker
  • Benjamin M. Walsh known as set dresser (as Benjamin Walsh)
  • Bruce Wetherbee known as propmaker
  • Christopher Windisch known as construction coordinator (as Christopher D. Windisch)
  • Chris Windish known as laborer (as Chris 'Kit' Windisch Jr.)
  • Rick Young known as property master
  • Colin Zaug known as on-set dresser
  • Steven Maes known as graphic artist: New Mexico (uncredited)
  • Robbie Mueller known as set dresser (uncredited)
  • Dennis Riewerts known as draper (uncredited)
  • Gabriel Rivera known as props (uncredited)
  • Ted Slampyak known as storyboard artist (uncredited)




Production Companies:

  • Touchstone Pictures (presents)
  • Radar Pictures (in association with)
  • 1821 Pictures (in association with)
  • Treehouse Films (II)
  • Tig Productions
  • G&M Films

Other Companies:

  • AON/Albert G. Ruben Insurance Services  insurance
  • Albuquerque Studios  sound stages
  • Bendy  special sound effects design (as Bendy Music)
  • Central Casting  extras casting
  • Chapman/Leonard Studio Equipment  camera car
  • Chapman/Leonard Studio Equipment  camera dollies
  • Cinemoves  technocrane
  • Clearance Domain  clearances
  • Corbis  stock footage
  • Digital Entertainment Agency  foley recording facility
  • E-Z Up  E-Z Up tents
  • Eastman Kodak  film stock
  • Entertainment Partners  payroll services
  • Film Auditors  post-production accounting
  • Hear Kitty  adr (New Mexico)
  • Hollywood Babble On  voice casting
  • Hollywood Global Studios  sound post-production
  • Hollywood Records  soundtrack
  • Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro  legal services
  • Jo Anne Kane Music Services  music preparation
  • LaserPacific  digital intermediate services
  • Liquid Music  music editing
  • MS-Pro/MusicSupervisor.com  post-production (music services)
  • Mario's Studio Services  catering
  • Monkeyland Audio  adr recording
  • New Mexico State Investment Council Film Investment Program  financing
  • No Stone Unturned Security & Investigative Services  set security (as Angels Security)
  • On Tour Productions  special thanks
  • Paramount Transportation Services  provided secret service vehicles
  • Paramount Transportation Services  transportation services
  • Paskal Lighting  electric equipment
  • Right Lobe Design Group  main title design
  • Serious Grippage & Light  chapman camera dollies
  • Soundtrack  ADR facility
  • TM Grip Equipment  grip equipment
  • Technicolor  release printing
  • Turbosound  sound editorial
  • Walt Disney Studios  dubbing services
  • Warner Brothers Scoring Stage  score recording and mixing facility (as Warner Bros. Scoring Stage)
  • Weissmann, Wolff, Bergman, Coleman, Grodin & Evall (WWBCG&E)  legal counsel: The New Mexico State Investment Council


  • Kathy Morgan International (2008) (worldwide) (all media)
  • Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures (2008) (USA) (theatrical)
  • Delanic Films (2008) (UK) (theatrical)
  • Splendid Film (2008) (Germany) (theatrical)
  • Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures (2008) (Canada) (theatrical)
  • Dutch FilmWorks (DFW) (2009) (Netherlands) (DVD)
  • Gativideo (2009) (Argentina) (DVD)
  • Nordisk Film Theatrical Distribution (2009) (Finland) (DVD)
  • Paradise Group (2008) (Russia) (all media)
  • Shochiku Company (2010) (Japan) (DVD)
  • Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment (2009) (USA) (DVD)
  • Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment (2009) (USA) (DVD) (Blu-ray)
  • Wide Pictures (2008) (Spain) (all media)



Other Stuff

Special Effects:

  • Custom Film Effects (visual effects)
  • Gray Matter FX (additional visual effects) (as Zen Haven)

Visual Effects by:

  • Mandy Arnold known as digital restoration: LaserPacific
  • Michael Ashton known as additional visual effects: Gray Matters FX
  • Jamie Baxter known as digital compositor: Custom Film Effects
  • Ryan Beadle known as digital I/O: Custom Film Effects
  • Steve Caldwell known as digital compositor: Custom Film Effects
  • Michael L. Castillo known as digital visual effects supervisor: LaserPacific (as Michael Castillo)
  • Samuel M. Dabbs known as digital compositor: Custom Film Effects
  • Kyle DeVriendt known as digital film recording services: LaserPacific
  • Dennis Dorney known as digital editorial: Custom Film Effects
  • Mark Dornfeld known as visual effects supervisor: Custom Film Effects
  • Michele Ferrone known as visual effects producer: Custom Film Effects
  • Adam Gass known as digital editorial: Custom Film Effects
  • Sarah Grieshammer known as digital compositor: Custom Film Effects
  • R.J. Harbour known as digital compositor: Custom Film Effects
  • Shaina Holmes known as compositing coordinator: Custom Film Effects
  • Shaina Holmes known as digital compositor: Custom Film Effects
  • Nicholas Kim known as digital compositor: Custom Film Effects
  • Paulina Kuszta known as visual effects coordinator: Custom Film Effects
  • Vincent Lavares known as data manager: Laser Pacific
  • Evelyn Lee known as digital compositor: Custom Film Effects
  • Bruce Mann known as digital restoration: LaserPacific
  • Gray Marshall known as on-set visual effects supervisor: Gray Matters FX
  • Mark Sawicki known as digital compositor: Custom Film Effects
  • David Slaughter known as digital film recording services: LaserPacific
  • Amani Williams known as digital compositor: Custom Film Effects (as Amani Scott)
  • Lindsay Anderson known as compositor (uncredited)
  • Justin Israel known as compositor (uncredited)

Release Date:

  • USA 20 May 2008 (SIFF Supporter Preview)
  • USA 1 August 2008
  • Greece 4 September 2008
  • Turkey 12 September 2008
  • Brazil 26 September 2008
  • Ireland 26 September 2008
  • UK 26 September 2008
  • Mexico 7 November 2008
  • Spain 14 November 2008
  • France 6 January 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Germany 27 February 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Netherlands 3 March 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Peru 2 April 2009
  • Israel 9 April 2009
  • Finland 3 June 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Argentina 17 June 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Sweden 8 July 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Colombia 28 August 2009
  • Russia 5 November 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Australia 15 November 2009 (TV premiere)
  • Italy 25 November 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Japan 24 February 2010 (DVD premiere)
  • Poland 8 April 2010 (DVD premiere)
  • Hungary 9 April 2010

MPAA: Rated PG-13 for language



Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database

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Posted on March 30, 2012 by Harry in Movies | Tags: , , .


  1. marc from Denver
    30 Mar 2012, 8:00 pm

    Yes, the whole concept is absurd, and as a result the film willprobably take a lot of criticism, but I really enjoyed every minute ofit at an early screening this evening. I enjoy Kevin Costner's workexcept when he tries to go action hero and he is thankfully getting tooold for that unless he decides to buy growth hormone from Stallone orsomething. He was terrific in Mr. Brooks and he excels once again in atotally different role. It is the sort of character that he does best,more akin to his "Bull Durham" role.

    The real find of the film was Madeline Carrol who played his daughter.She joins Abagail Breslin, Dakota Fanning , and Anna Sophia Robb in acurrent crop of extremely talented tweeners.

    I enjoyed the entire cast and it was great to see Judge Reinhold forthe first time in awhile.

    The whole concept of how Costner's vote becomes so important is onethat is hard to swallow, but if you go along for the ride I promisethat you will have a great time.

    Late in the film Mare Winningham appears in perhaps the films mostpowerful though least appropriate scene. It is her only scene. Ibelieve it was used to hammer in a serious message though the scene hadlittle to do with the message of the film other than shift to a moresober mood. Sober may not have been the best choice of words todescribe the scene though.

    One of the nicer aspects of the film is its terrific music. A mix oftunes from several decades centered around Marshall Tucker's "Can't YouSee" really makes for a nice soundtrack.

    Ultimately the film has a great message about the importance of oneperson, one vote. And if it gets a lot more democrats(whoops I meanAmericans) to vote this year, then in my opinion it will have done agreat public service in addition to being solidly entertaining. And no,it does not have a liberal agenda, so all you Rush fans need to holdjudgment before slamming the film. Unlike this reviewer, the film isreally good at not taking a political stance. The film depicts allpoliticians as if they would stoop to anything to get elected, andgarners a lot of laughs with that premise.

    I want to add one last thing. I would call this a family movie exceptfor the profanity. I took my 9 year old precocious daughter and sheloved it, but there was actually a running joke about Costner'scharacter's love of swearing. So if a little swearing and somereferences to controversial issues (abortion, gay marriage, legal pot)are OK with you, bring the kids. Like I said, it does have a goodmessage.

  2. ohioblue-1 from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 8:00 pm

    Kevin Costner is adorable as the slacker father of a overachieving,12-year-old daughter. The kid-as-parent/parent-as-kid premise wouldn'thave worked nearly as well if Costner's character, Bud Johnson, weren'tso darn lovable. If you're looking for perfectly coiffed, cleaned upCostner, you won't find him here. He mostly looks like your husbandfirst thing in the morning — you know, the scruffy hair, unshavenface, and glazed over, half-asleep look where you wonder what you eversaw in him? But inside is a heart of gold? He pulls this role off toperfection. He's the lovable underachiever always with a clueless grin.

    When the attorney general shows up at his door to tell him basicallythat he has the deciding vote, Bud's only comment, in a half-whisperis, "Does this mean I'm going to have to do jury duty?" The movie isgood — in fact if you like Dave with Kevin Kline, you'll like SwingVote.

    However, it tried to combine two movies. One was the comedy with Budbeing the ONLY voting demographic needing to be catered to — hence,personal appearances by Richard Petty and Willie Nelson — the otherwas a sometimes hard-to-watch story of a daughter, played by MadelineCarroll, caring for her alcoholic father.

    Carroll is a wonderful actress, and would be stellar in a drama. Herwistful, knowing looks at her father's helplessness, and her astuteunderstanding of her mother's inability to be a mother wereheart-wrenching. That could have been an entire story in itself andoften took away from the comic elements. Mare Winningham was fantasticas the mother who ran away. She, Costner and Carroll really clicked onscreen in their one scene together as a family torn apart by theselfish indulgence of the parents to the detriment of the child whodeserves more. I marveled at that scene until I remembered thatWinningham and Costner were in the movie "The War" as parents tornapart by Vietnam to the detriment of their son, young Elijah Wood.Costner and Winningham should get together again in a more upbeat film.Their relationship is very natural.

    But in spite of the sad, child-having-to-be-the-adult part of SwingVote, it was 80% comedy, and Costner's antics made it laugh out loudfunny at times. It didn't seem to be politically bent one way or theother. It was patriotic and commented on immigrants from Mexico takingaway jobs from Americans. But it was also pro-environment and touchedon lack of health care for the many. The end was pure feel-good.Everyone changed appropriately, realizing the true (Hollywood) meaningof voting in America.

  3. Danusha Goska (dgoska@yahoo.com)
    30 Mar 2012, 8:00 pm

    "Swing Vote" is a good movie. It could have been great, but it isn't,but it is still good. At its best, it invokes Frank Capra's classicfilms on politics, including "Meet John Doe" and "Mr. Smith Goes toWashington." It never reaches their level, though, and that failure tohit the top is a bit frustrating.

    An older, dumpier, and shabbier Kevin Costner is the best part of thefilm. Costner is a star and that shows here. Even the grunge that ishis costume in almost every scene can't disguise his charisma.Costner's voice has not aged and he uses it to great effect, especiallyin a final speech.

    The film draws laughs by parodying our two major political parties,with a Democratic presidential candidate starring in the funniestanti-abortion TV commercial ever made (no doubt its competition wasslim, but it is very funny) and a Republican presidential candidatetouting his party's tender concern for the environment.

    These excellent scenes make you wish that the movie had gone deeper. Itdoesn't, though. It veers off into dead-end soap opera subplots aboutCostner's daughter's boyfriend from school and her attempt to live withher estranged mother (Mare Winningham, in a role that should have endedup on the editing room floor, as it contributes nothing to the film.)The casting wasn't great. The two presidential candidates and theiraids end up being cardboard cut-out stereotypes of Machiavellian evil(Stanley Tucci) and compromise (Nathan Lane). Kelsey Grammar and DennisHopper, as the candidates, never transcend their "Frasier" and "EasyRider" personas. Other actors, perhaps unknowns, should have been castin these two key roles.

    Paula Patton, the woman who played what would have been the BarbaraStanwyck role in the Frank Capra movie, was pretty as a little doll anda complete bore. This is part of a pattern in today's Hollywood; femaleleads must have the perfectly perky looks of a plastic doll; there's noneed for them to be talented. Male leads, like Costner, can be beat-up,and slovenly, but must be talented. Patton's role, that of thedesperate, sharp, female reporter who gains inside knowledge of anational story, is underwritten, and she does nothing with it. It's adead-end, and that's a shame. It makes me want to rewatch "Meet JohnDoe" in which Stanwyck worked so well as the female reporter.

    Overall, though, this movie is better than much else at the multiplex,and it at least ventures into the world of ideas.

  4. BoomerMovieFan1 from Atlanta, Georgia
    30 Mar 2012, 8:00 pm

    My son tells me that I don't understand what young people think isfunny. And he's right. I'm not into cringe comedies like Borat or teensex comedies like Superbad. So when I give Swing Vote 9 out of 10, Iguess I have to limit my recommendation to those over 50. If you're tooyoung to remember Kevin Costner's last great movie, I'm not so sureyou'll like this one. You see, no one gets humiliated and you don'thear any jokes about sex or bodily functions. It's an old-fashionedcomedy that my wife, my cousin and I, all near 60, loved. If you are inthat age range, ignore the critics and the IMDb rating. We laughed allthe way through. The editing is fast paced so that you never get bored.Some critics have criticized Swing Vote for being lightweight, but itis really more dramedy than straight comedy. There are several seriousthemes including divorce and civic responsibility. This is Costner'sbest performance in many years. And Madeline Carroll, who plays hisdaughter, is amazing. Watch out, Dakota Fanning and Abigail Breslin.This girl can play comedy and drama with equal aplomb. The scene whereshe cries in front of her class brought many to tears in our audience.

  5. smacarte from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 8:00 pm

    I expected little after the lukewarm critical response. The film is nota scathing satire of right-wing hypocrisy. But it is inspired. And rarefor this genre, balanced. It's target is voter complacency and thewinning-is-everything bloodsport of the presidential race. Believe itor not the film makes a good case for voting as a moral choice, achoice we should take seriously. Not the stuff of Hollywood hilarityfor sure. Yet it is well-acted, charming and original. Hard to guesswhere the story is going. Great laughs are better for being unexpected.

    Liberal-leaning viewers and critics may have been disappointed based ona trailer showing Dennis Hopper as a rapid pro-life candidate. Thestory here is about voters. And how far our major political parties arewilling to go to court the swing vote. The genius of this film is thatit takes targeted campaigning to its logical conclusion. This is thestuff professional persuaders are more and more paid to do.

    Not perfectly executed, but an inspired premise with better thanexpected follow-though. A treat. So glad I went.

    P.S. full disclosure, I am a very liberal Democrat.

  6. Roland E. Zwick (magneteach@aol.com) from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 8:00 pm

    If the 2000 Presidential election could be decided by a single countyin Florida (with a little help from the United States Supreme Court, ofcourse), imagine what it would be like if the decision ever came downto a single individual voter! That's the scenario put forth by "SwingVote," a political fantasy that will probably be remembered more forlaunching the career of a talented young actress than for any insightit might offer into the political process.

    Bud Johnson is a working-class divorced dad who lives in a broken-downtrailer with his bright, twelve-year-old daughter, Molly – a youngsterwho is as astute and savvy about real world issues and politics as herfather is ignorant and apathetic. Through a complicated fluke of fate,Bud finds himself in the unenviable position of being the sole swingvote in an otherwise deadlocked presidential contest. Suddenly, Bud isliving in the glare of the media spotlight, besieged by candidates,campaign managers, handlers, celebrities and various special interestgroups all vying for his vote.

    Political satire rarely works on screen for the simple reason that itis either so slanted (usually towards the liberal side) that it windsup preaching mainly to the converted, or it's kept so inoffensive andgeneric that it loses any edge it might have had and becomes anexercise in watered-down, self-congratulatory Capraesque populism."Swing Vote," oddly enough, falls into both categories at once – withconservatives likely to view it as little more than a two-hourcommercial for the Democratic Party (or at least the issues they standfor) and move on. In strictly cinematic terms, "Swing Vote," co-writtenby Jason Richman and Joshua Michael Stern and directed by Stern, isreally two movies folded into one. The first is a sometimes touchingstory of a father/daughter relationship in which the child is parent tothe father. Kevin Costner (who pretty much financed the projecthimself) pours on the charm as a boozy, irresponsible slacker who'smore interested in popping open a beer can and plopping down in frontof the TV set than in actively rearing his daughter. Relative newcomerMadeline Carroll is a real find as the no-nonsense,wise-beyond-her-years Molly who takes care of her dad and isn't afraidto speak truth to power when the situation calls for it. Whenever thefilm is concentrating on the interplay between these two characters, ithits a responsive chord in the viewer. In fact, the scene in whichMolly confronts the alcoholic mother who abandoned her (wonderfullyplayed by Mare Winningham) makes for some genuinely powerful andgripping human drama.

    Unfortunately, the second and much larger portion of the film (that isto say, the political part) doesn't fare nearly so well. Its revelationthat politics is a dirty business – i.e. that it often prizes emptyplatitudes and sound bites over exploring issues of substance, and thatit appeals to voters' greed, fears, ignorance and prejudices to winvotes – is hardly an earth-shattering one at this late stage of thegame, true though it may be. The film has lots of big-name stars -Kelsey Grammar, Dennis Harper, Nathan Lane, Stanley Tucci, GeorgeLopez, Judge Reinhold – and a number of actual TV pundits andcommentators throwing themselves into their roles with admirableaplomb, but the material isn't clever or sharp enough to really deliverthe goods. Everyone, except for the two main characters, is quicklyreduced to a "type" and the attempts at political parody are fairlyobvious and lightweight compared to what we find in venues like "TheDaily Show" or "The Colbert Report."

    "Swing Vote"'s clarion call for all individuals to take theirresponsibility as citizens seriously and to become actively involved inthe political process can't help but be uplifting and inspiring,especially in a presidential election year. The filmmakers just neededa bolder, more sophisticated vehicle from which to sound that call.

    My advice is to look past all the political nonsense and concentrate onthe beautiful performance by the young Ms. Carroll instead – and bepresent at the birth of a brand new star.

  7. kindalikesorta from California
    30 Mar 2012, 8:00 pm

    It sounds implausible and impossible—that a man's accidental flub-up inthe voting booth causes his vote to stall the election andcoincidentally determine the next U.S. President. But Swing Vote has agreat time using that as a platform to tell a really cool tale.

    Besides, the movie wants to move past that impossibility anyway(suspension of disbelief, right?), and into the fun stuff. Swing Voteisn't necessarily about the likelihood of the above-mentionedphenomenon occurring; it's about bigger things, things like the natureof freedom in America, the right to vote, politicians and theircampaigns, and various issues that unite and divide America as anation.

    Ernest "Bud" Johnson (Kevin Costner) is a beer-drinking, blue-collarsimpleton whose wife left both him and his daughter, Molly, for aNashville singing career. Molly (Madeline Carroll), a precocious littlegirl who is passionate about politics and the preservation of hercountry, and unfortunately for her, Bud couldn't care less, even if herwere sober. Molly seems to be the parent in the relationship, takingcare of Bud's daily hangovers and prodding him to get up for work.

    Molly is in constant frustration with her father's apathy toward lifeand her interests, and is perturbed when Bud seemingly sets in motionan ironic, history-making turn of events where his vote actually endsup being the deciding factor in the election. This forces thePresidential candidates to campaign only to win Bud's vote. Along theway we are treated to a satirical look at the lengths campaign managersand the candidates will go simply to get a vote.

    How this plays out is both hilarious and sobering, as well as inspiringand totally enjoyable—thanks to some good storytelling and direction,as well as an excellent cast of talented actors who make this movieshine. The brightest stars on the screen, however, are Kevin Costnerand Madeline Carroll as Bud and Molly. Costner has found a perfect rolein the dimwitted Bud, and Carroll as Molly is a brilliant young actorwhose performance almost brought me to tears at one point.

    Like I mentioned before, though, Swing Vote is not a simple "voting isyour civic duty" story. While the importance of voting is emphasized asboth a privilege and a blessing in a great country, Swing Vote goesover the issues that affect daily life in America, and through thestory reminds us how we can take some sort of action to better thatlife.

    However, Swing Vote is careful not to play too much on the emotionalarguments regarding various issues like abortion, immigration and gaymarriage, making the movie all the more charming. There are a fewemotionally charged scenes in the movie that give weight to thehilarity throughout, but within the context of the film, the storynever speaks in self-righteousness.

    At one point, Molly makes a simple yet convicting commentary about howmuch she appreciates her father at a "Bring Your Father to School" Day.Without giving too much away, Molly's emotional message about herfather is a hopeful and heart-wrenching commentary about the beauty andfreedom of America, along with the tragic complacency and apathy of itspeople.

    And rather than going down the typical Hollywood route and picking amore liberal stance, Swing Vote instead manages to poke fun at everyoneon both "sides" of various issues. It carefully gives respect to allAmericans, while pointing out absurdities in America's politicalprocess. Although the mockery is at times absolutely hilarious, thefilm's humor never ventures into the vile and mean-spirited. There ispurpose behind all the fun, and it is carefully crafted into the story,with the goal of giving a message of hope and focusing on the(hopefully) common goal of compassion, care, peace, and freedom to allpeople (to all Americans, anyway).

    In that sense, Swing Vote could almost be seen as patriotic (even themovie's production design seems to have red, white, and blue huesthroughout). There are many inspiring moments that make you think,"Wow, America is a great country," and "Shame on me for taking myfreedom for granted." Okay, well, that's a little simplistic; butyou'll understand what I mean: Swing Vote is an American story with aclear and powerful message.

    It may be convicting in its truthful satire and simple wit, but it isalso encouraging in that it promotes the hope that we can make a bettercountry by actively changing (ourselves and our country) and refusingto passively observe our nation's future unfold… not only for us, butfor generations to come.

  8. mattkratz (themattk@hotmail.com) from Richardson, TX
    30 Mar 2012, 8:00 pm

    This was obviously meant to remind you of the 2000 election fiasco inFlorida. The film basically centers around Kevin Costner's character,who is lazy, irresponsible, and a mess-but he's lovable and fun. Hisvote will make the difference in giving either candidate (KelseyGrammar or Dennis Hopper) New Mexico's five electoral votes, which willpush him over the limit to win. Both candidates then devise a series ofads pitched specifically at him. There were themes aboutresponsibility, being informed, and hogging your time in the limelightduring your 15 minutes of fame during this film. I think it washilarious and was truly surprised by the ending. See it!!! *** out of****

  9. user-30167 (337831098@qq.com) from China
    30 Mar 2012, 8:00 pm

    First of all, I should state that I love pretty and lovely kids verymuch. Therefore I was attracted deeply by cute Molly at first sight andspoke highly of this film.

    Molly is indeed a smart girl in my opinion and in many scenes herbehavior are far more appropriate and pleasant than her father's. Sheeven acts as a housekeeper and arranges almost everything in good orderwhile her father—Bud—are always drunk and addicted toentertainment.

    The plot "a nobody becomes the voice of everybody" is too unbelievableand dramatic, but it does happen. As the plot unfolds, I saw manyridiculous decisions by two candidates for the presidency in order tocater to Bud. In addition, I also realized how freedom was widespreadin USA and learned more about the policy on selecting the president.

    What I highly praise is the impressive plot that Molly suggest Bud tohave a debate between two candidates which is an extremely excellentidea personally. In addition, it shows when you become a voice for manypeople or have a responsibility, you must look before you leap and takeyour responsibility as well as you can. What I am also unexpected isthe extraordinary ending. I love this feeling very much when I watch afilm or other media texts with a creative plot.

  10. Michael DeZubiria (miked32@hotmail.com) from Luoyang, China
    30 Mar 2012, 8:00 pm

    I'm going to go ahead and assume that it's not an easy task to make acrowd-pleasing movie centered on politics that goes to such strenuousefforts to be non-partisan and maybe chalk up my dissatisfaction withthe movie to that. Then again, it might also have something to do witha critical decision that they made in how to end the movie, which issure to make every single solitary person who watches it throw up theirarms in disgust.

    But the movie is not about who wins the presidency, it's about the purechaos of the American political system and its millions of weaknessesand faults. Sure, the premise of a presidential election coming down toa single vote is as preposterous as they come, but man if this moviedoesn't get you thinking critically about the electoral process thenit's safe to assume that probably nothing ever will.

    Kevin Costner plays Bud, an American nobody from New Mexico who hasnever done anything with his life except have a daughter with adelusional drug addict who thinks she has a big singing career in hernear future. He works as an egg inspector at an egg packaging plant,and he and his co-workers mourn the loss of their friends' (and soon,their own) jobs to "insourcing," the process of bringing Mexicans in totake their jobs rather than ship the factory and all those egg-layingchickens to Mexico.

    Bud staggers through life in a drunken daze most of the time, routinelyletting down his daughter Molly (Madeline Carroll), who raises him likea child. She gets him out of bed in the morning, criticizes hislaziness and irresponsibility, reminds him to vote because it's part ofa school project that she has to do, and through sighs of exasperationattempts to keep him at least a little bit in line. And of course it'sthe only thing in life that she fails at. When Bud gets drunk ratherthan show up to vote, she manages to almost cast his vote herself dueto the sleepy voting booth security of beautiful Texico, New Mexico,which Google Earth has just informed me is a real place. Population1,065.

    In a clever plot development, it turns out that Bud's vote didn't gocompletely through but it appeared that he was there, so he is givenanother opportunity to cast his vote. Not right away, mind you, eventhough he evidently already tried to vote and thus probably had hismind made up. No, he is given ten days before he has to vote, thusproviding plenty of time for a movie to happen.

    Young Madeline Carroll steals most of the scenes that she's in as Bud'sdaughter, so it's interesting that her character is one of the biggestweak points in the movie, the other one being her dad. Bud is supposedto be a typical American, but I just saw a drifting drunk who never didanything with his life and never would have had he not been forced to.It's true that the vast majority of Americans live lives that arecloser to Bud's than President Boone's (Kelsey Grammar), but does hehave to be a TOTAL loser? How about just making him be a likable,regular guy? Like the guy he played in Field of Dreams? When I imaginethe average American, I imagine something like Ray Kinsella. Althoughmaybe with a slightly smaller house and less whispering from the sky.

    The other problem is that the screenwriters overshot the character ofMolly by about 160 IQ points. So much for the average American, right?This girl writes a school essay that doesn't merit a special award fromthe principal to show her dad, it grants her NATIONAL TELEVISEDRECOGNITION. But to be honest, I had more of a problem with the factthat not only does she wake her deadbeat dad up in the morning so hecould take her to school, she also treks to the bar and, finding himpassed out in his truck when he should have been voting, she pushes himover and then drives him home herself. She's about 11 years old.

    But where the movie succeeds is as a scathing revelation about certainrealities of the American electoral process, such as the electoralcollege, which simplifies the vote-counting process even whilemassively distorting the actual numbers of who voted for who. The wholemovie is about how one man's vote really does matter, but it leaves youwith the feeling that you are supposed to forget that once he votes,every single vote in his state for the other candidate WON'T matteranymore, because they'll be switched to the other candidate. Isn't itinteresting how that works? Can't we just count every single vote andaward each candidate one huge number of individual votes? Seems alittle more accurate to me.

    Anyway, I do appreciate the way the movie highlights the fact that bothsides, Republican and Democrat, are equally willing to stoop to anylevel and do absolutely whatever it takes to win, and that no one isabove hitting below the belt and making hugely unethical decisions.There is a lot that needs to be changed in American politics, and evenwhile clearly being based on the Election of 2000, one of the mostcontroversial in American history, it calls those things to attentionwithout ever even hinting that either side is right or wrong. The movieinsists that America is the greatest country in the world but that insome ways, we're doing it all wrong, but the fact that a movie likethis has the freedom to get made proves that even though we haven'treached a level of pure cohesive harmony, underneath all of ourimperfections is a clear desire to get there.

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