All great black leaders get killed.” — quote from Warren Beatty‘s Bulworth (’98).

As it turns out Beatty’s Senator Jay Bulworth, one of the blackest white politicians who ever served in a fictional feature, gets killed also — shot by an insurance industry villain played by Paul Sorvino.

Bulworth is a Democrat from California and a total liberal establishment guy with all the usual noble sentiments and allegiances (photos of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King on his office wall) that have never amounted to much.

The film begins with Bulworth in deep despair and sick of all the bullshit. The film is basically about Bulworth saying “fuck it” and and just stating plain and straight how things really are, and hang the freakin’ consequences.

Friendo: “Last night I rewatched Bulworth for the first time since it came out in 1998 — a quarter-century ago. Very funny, totally outrageous, sometimes cringe-worthy and…oh, yeah, Halle Berry was totally hot.

“I got to thinking how this film would be received today. I know you’re gonna say the wokesters would go off on it, but maybe, just maybe, they’d see it for the satire it is. And maybe they’d understand that it asks the question ‘What would happen if a politician finally told the honest truth about our political system?’

“On Rotten Tomatoes the film has a 76% approval rating, but not one of the critics listed is black. So how did black critics (outside of Elvis Mitchell) view it? How many influential black critics were even around back then?

“I know that black audiences didn’t attend screenings of Bulworth in droves, despite its focus upon black culture and featuring quite a few black characters. Maybe they felt vaguely alienated by Bulworth’s remarks about black behaviors (‘If you don’t put down the malt liquor and chicken wings and get behind someone other than a running back who stabs his wife, you’re never gonna get rid of someone like me!’). Or maybe not.

“Either way Bulworth, which cost round $30 million to produce, ended up with a relative slender gross of $29 million. It obviously didn’t connect with certain segments of the public for certain reasons. The only segment that seemed to support it were white, well-educated urban liberals.

Bulworth has to be one of the most audacious mainstream films ever made. I think it deserves a reassessment.”