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Feed Movie Review

candidates whines trying television

With 27 days to go in the 1992 presidential campaign, Kevin Rafferty and James Ridgeway's Feed could not have been released at a better time. Here are the candidates as they would rather you had NEVER seen them, getting ready to go on television and trying to create a Presidential impression. Only Jerry Brown just can't seem to cover that dang bald spot of his, no matter how much he combs forward what's left of his hair. He wanted his campaign to seem effortlessly low-key, but he whines, whines, whines when a female aide can't straighten his tie just right. And HE can't do it, either. Bob Kerrey, sucking soda through a straw, just can't seem to erase the image of a choir boy, as a television moderator observes, supposedly off the record, but preserved forever on film. The late Paul Tsongas made the mistake of being photographed in swimming trunks, not even trying to suck in his stomach, and he also made a wild guess at the 1992 cost of a gallon of milk: $1.79! Ross Perot tells interminable dull jokes, always looking as if he's ready for an alien from outer space to give him advice. Bill Clinton doesn't seem to have any off-guard moments. He can always think of something to say, no matter how many times he's drilled about Gennifer Flowers. (Flowers makes an appearance, too, enthusing about Clinton's soft lips.) And George Bush can, does, and will sit in front of a television camera for long, long moments on end, rarely saying a word to break the ice. People click off to candidates for the most inconsequential of reasons: one voter rejected Tsongas because he wore a pocket protector. A Democratic candidate makes the mistake of trying to shake the hands of two Republican voters and is sternly admonished by one woman: “A lady always presents her hand first.” All the footage comes from the 1992 New Hampshire primary when the candidates apparently felt that most of what they said and did would be unseen by the rest of the country. Seeing the candidates like this, unvarnished and totally dependent on the folks from the media who surround them is far more absorbing than watching them blather prepared speeches for hours on end. Even if it IS dated, Feed is fascinating and well worth a video search.

1992 76m/C D: Kevin Rafferty, James Ridgeway; C: Jenny Darrow. VHS

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