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'It's a new day in America'



Truecolors TODAY'S RETRO-REVIEW: The best politics movie of the '80s didn't take place in the '80s at all. It's 1991's True Colors, starring John Cusack and James Spader. If you haven't seen it, promote it to the top of your rental queue. Now.

THE PLOT: Two people from different sides of the track find themselves as roommates in law school. One (Cusack) is looking for any shortcuts to elected office, which he believes can absolve him of a working class upbringing he'd rather forget. The other (Spader) aspires to use his law degree to fight the type of corruption that his friend is so willing to embrace.

MAYBE YOU REMEMBER: This would be the final film appearance for actor Richard Widmark, who plays an aging senator and father-in-law to Cusack.

SURELY YOU CAN'T FORGET: Mandy Patinkin is brilliant as the corrupt  "John Palmieri," a man whose crime connections guide Cusack to the brink of becoming a U.S. Representative.

WHAT THE CRITICS SAID: "The movie ... follows a predictable formula, but occasionally overcomes it through the skill of its acting, which redeems several scenes that seem to have been constructed out of durable Victorian novels." -- Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times.

WHY WE LOVE IT: It's the little things. Like Cusack playing a villain of sorts, and Spader playing the good guy. Not to mention the bit parts executed to perfection, like Imogen Stubbs' turn as the senator's daughter whose love conveniently moves from one friend to the other. Those treats, along with a nicely gift-wrapped ending, make this a can't-miss political flick.


5. "My father had a saying, that friendship is like morning dew. It settles on some roses, and it settles on some dog s--t."

4. "You know the old saying in Washington: There are only two things that can ruin your career, getting caught with a live boy or a dead girl."

3. "They say great men are embraced by thousands of strangers. I wanna be great."

2. "We may not always get what we want. We may not always get what we need. Just so's we don't get what we deserve!"

1. "It's a new day in America: Don't ... get ... caught."

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 2:40pm]


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