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Anytown, USA (Unrated)

Release Date: December 9th, 2005 (NJ-Cedar Lane Cinemas and Valley View Theatres) by Film Movement.
Directed by Kristian Fraga.

BASIC PREMISE: A documentary tracking the campaign of three candidates who run for mayor of Bogota, New Jersey.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Even though the election takes place in the small town of Bogota, you will feel as if it were a presidential election. First, there’s Republican candidate Steven Lonegan, who runs for re-election. As the present mayor of Bogota, his budget cuts got rid of football, which angers many Bogotians. Then there’s Democrat Fred Pesce, who is quiet and back unlike the final candidate, Dave Musikant, the write-in. Director Kristian Fraga mostly focuses on Musikant’s strategy because he’s the most lively and charismatic of all the candidates. Also, by coincidence, he and Lonegan both happen to be legally blind. You really end up rooting for Musikant because, after all, he’s the underdog. He lives in one of his family member’s basement and, essentially, he’s unemployed. Eventually, the campaign turns war-like when his promotional signs disappear. Then, when he finds out that Pesce suffers from an illness, he makes it public—although Pesce’s wife doesn’t like him doing that. Fortunately, Musikant has Jesse Ventura’s political aide, Doug Friedline to support him. What makes Anytown, USA so exciting is that it simply makes politics into a fun game without hitting you over the head with Michael Moore-ish, preachy political theories. Nor does director Kristian Fraga make any of the candidates particularly unlikable—even Lonegan shows some hope. Whether you live in Bogota or not, you will care about who wins or loses up until the very last minute.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: The game of politics can be unfair and even quite dirty at times. The most difficult struggle is for the grass-roots, write-in candidate Dave Musikant. He was once played football in high school and was pretty famous with the cafeteria ladies who cheer him during his campaign. He’s not rich, has very few friends, and no experience or education when it comes to politics. However, comes across as a sweet and kind gentleman who’s courageous enough to face Bogotians door-to-door even though he’s legally blind. The ending is quite moving and even heartbreaking, but nonetheless satisfying.



THE BOTTOM LINE: Riveting! A lively, exciting documentary that will keep you guessing until the very end!

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)

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