Tanner '88 (The Criterion Collection)
The Criterion Collection
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During the 1988 presidential campaign, Democratic hopefuls spiritedly canvass the country, jostle for their partys nomination and the honor of opposing Republican Vice President George Bush, when Senator Jack Tanner suddenly emerges from the shadows of a lengthy political hiatus to challenge candidates such as Al Gore, Jesse Jackson, Gary Hart, and Michael Dukakis. Filmmaker Robert Altman and Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Garry Trudeau created this mock-documentary television miniseries, which brought a fictitious presidential candidate out on the campaign trail and shed a revelatory light on Americas political process and landscape. The Criterion Collection is proud to present Tanner '88 in its entirety, from New Hampshire to the convention... and beyond.
It still looks like one of the most adventurous projects ever undertaken for television: to concoct a fictional presidential candidate and follow him as he mingles (often improvising) amongst the real-life candidates on the campaign trail. Tanner '88 was the brainchild of director Robert Altman and "Doonesbury" cartoonist Garry Trudeau, who executed this on-the-fly series for HBO during the 1988 primary season. Thus we get "former Michigan congressman" Jack Tanner (Altman regular Michael Murphy) sorting out his messy professional and personal life as he hobnobs with the likes of Bob Dole, Pat Robertson, Kitty Dukakis, and real-life journalists. Some of these meta-fictional encounters are cameos, but some are remarkable full-blown sequences, such as Tanner's heart-to-heart with Bruce Babbitt as they stroll beneath Washington's cherry trees. (But then you always knew politicians were basically actors.) The deft supporting cast includes Pamela Reed and Cynthia Nixon. For fans of satire, Tanner is smart and sometimes mind-bending; for fans of Altman, it's the director at the top of his characteristic game: a multi-layered, many-sided ensemble picture that happens to be all about America. --Robert HortonSee all Editorial Reviews
- New video discussion between series creators Robert Altman and Garry Trudeau
- Episodic introductions from the original cast members created for 2004 broadcast
- Essays by film critic Michael Wilmington, video critic/curator Michael Nash, and culture critic Gary Kornblau
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Top customer reviews
and self conscious. The acting is generally good, but a little uneven.
Some characters are very real, others come off as pure caricature. The
series felt longer than it needed to be to make its points. The middle
episodes were a bit boring.
But then there's the episode where Tanner goes into the hood and meets
w/real mothers of murdered kids, in a lengthy improvised scene of pain and
anger which is simply devastating, and the whole series felt redeemed.
Overall, while watching it, I liked it, not loved it. But looking back,
it left me with a much more powerful and lasting impression. And on
2nd viewing the sad power of the piece seemed much more important
than the occasional flaws.
it hasn't aged all that well, and frankly, it's overly comical, but nontheless very interesting
Truly Excellent. I hope they do it justice in the DVD release.