territory, but with a large dose of steamy sexual situations and tabloid
scandal thrown into the mix.
Director Rod Lurie keeps the story moving at a quick pace with the
help of actors well cast in their roles. Joan Allen does a great job as
Laine Hanson, a liberal female senator who is nominated to become vice
president after the sitting vice president has died.
Of course, she comes under heavy fire from right wing Republicans
during her confirmation hearing. Committee chairman Shelly Runyon (Gary
Oldman) is the chief inquisitor with a style reminiscent of Joe
McCarthy's 1950s witch hunts for communists. But Hanson keeps her cool
and her dignity through all the unsavory allegations.
Jeff Bridges is excellent as Jackson Evans, a Clinton-like president
anxious to leave a positive legacy at the end of his term. Sam Elliot's
strong presence and deep booming voice bring gravity to his role as
Kermit Newman, the president's closest advisor and bearer of bad news to
those who are out of favor with the current administration.
Although this film strives for Hollywood's version of political
correctness, it does raise valid questions about the double standard that
still remains in judging the personal behavior of men and women in their
A lively and enjoyable movie, "The Contender" might even get a few
nods at Oscar time.
o7 "The Contender" is rated R for strong sexual content and language.
* JOHN DEPKO, 48, is a Costa Mesa resident and a senior investigator
for the Orange County public defender's office.
The naked truth about "Dr. T and the Women"
It's hard to believe that 25 years ago, Robert Altman's classic
"Nashville" was released. It's even harder to believe that 30 years ago,
"M*A*S*H*," Altman's most popular film, hit the screen. As we enter into
the 21st century, Altman returns with "Dr. T and the Women."
"Dr. T" is set in the upper crust of Dallas, Texas. Richard Gere plays
Dr. Sullivan Travis, a popular Dallas gynecologist who is either wanted
or desired by the women in his life.
At home, his daughter Dee Dee (Kate Hudson) is about to get married,