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Tanner '88 

Not Rated | | Comedy | TV Mini-Series (1988– )
A behind-the-scenes look at a former Michigan U.S. Representative's campaign as he vies for his party's Presidential nomination.
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1  
1988  
Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Series cast summary:
Michael Murphy ...  Jack Tanner 11 episodes, 1988
Pamela Reed ...  T.J. Cavanaugh 11 episodes, 1988
Daniel Jenkins ...  Stringer Kincaid 11 episodes, 1988
Matt Malloy ...  Deke Connors 11 episodes, 1988
Ilana Levine ...  Andrea Spinelli 11 episodes, 1988
Cynthia Nixon ...  Alex Tanner 10 episodes, 1988
Jim Fyfe ...  Emile Berkoff 10 episodes, 1988
Veronica Cartwright ...  Molly Hark 10 episodes, 1988
Frank Barhydt Frank Barhydt ...  Frank Gatling 9 episodes, 1988
Sandra Bowie Sandra Bowie ...  Stevie Chevalier 8 episodes, 1988
Wendy Crewson ...  Joanna Buckley 8 episodes, 1988
Kevin J. O'Connor ...  Hayes Taggerty 7 episodes, 1988
Richard Cox ...  David Seidelman 7 episodes, 1988
Greg Procaccino Greg Procaccino ...  Barney Kittman 7 episodes, 1988
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Storyline

A behind-the-scenes look at a former Michigan U.S. Representative's campaign as he vies for his party's Presidential nomination.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Political Fable. See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Not Rated

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Criterion Collection

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 February 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Tanner '88 See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Home Box Office (HBO) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(11 parts) | (10 parts)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Garry Trudeau came up with the idea to cast Michael Murphy to play Jack Tanner. See more »

Quotes

Jack Tanner: You know, T.J., just before you called me last spring, Lexy and I went down to the Democratic Leadership Conference in South Carolina. The last night, we were sitting aroud with Kirk O'Donnell, and Hart, and Biden, a couple of the other candidates, who were shooting the breeze about how much the party had changed since the Sixties. And suddenly, out of the blue, Lexy turned to Hart and she asked him who his favorite Beatle was. Now, at first, Hart laughed, and then he stumbled around trying to ...
[...]
See more »

Alternate Versions

As a prelude to the first screening of the sequel _"Tanner on Tanner" (2004) (mini)_, the original mini-series was shown again on the Sundance Channel (in the US) and BBC 4 (in the UK). The re-release was subtitled "Once More in '04", and each episode was preceded by a newly filmed introduction, in which one of the main characters talks to camera about their memories of the '88 campaign, 16 years on. See more »

Connections

Followed by Tanner on Tanner (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Altman and Trudeau Are a Match Made in Movie Heaven
27 June 2008 | by evanston_dadSee all my reviews

After a contentious decade for Robert Altman, during which he was pretty much shunned by the Hollywood system and made some of his worst films, it's only fitting that he should cap the decade off with an absolute triumph, this absorbing mini-series made for HBO.

I don't know why it took so long for someone to pair "Doonesbury" writer Garry Trudeau with Altman, because in retrospect, it seems like a match made in heaven. Both have the exact same sarcastic sense of humor and the talent for seeing the absurd in the mundane. They crafted a fascinating look into the world of political machinations, following the story of fictitious 1988 presidential candidate Jack Tanner but setting it against the real world of the democratic primaries. Therefore, actual members of the political scene at the time interact with star Michael Murphy as if he's a real presidential nominee, and the viewer is never sure what action is authentic and what is staged.

Murphy is superb as Tanner, and he's perfectly cast. Tanner is handsome and charismatic enough to make a fairly successful run for the nomination, but he's too bland and too nice to make it all the way. The series examines one of the major conundrums about American politics: to have a candidate with conviction and good ideas isn't enough. He must also be a personality and be able to navigate the tricky terrain of the American media, with the result that those who go farthest are those who know how to work the system, not those who are most honest. "Tanner '88" captured perfectly my own feelings about presidential elections. On the one hand, they're of supreme importance, because they determine who will be the leader of one of the most powerful nations in the world. But on the other hand, they seem like such pointless exercises, and it's hard to muster up the energy to care time after time.

But one of the strongest and most serious points made by this series comes in an episode in which Tanner visits the slums of Detroit in his home state of Michigan. He realizes that he is completely out of touch with the very people he promises to help, and has no clue about what their lives are really like. That's painfully true about our own leadership -- it was in 1988 and still is today. There's a vast and probably insurmountable gap between the privileged few who ever have the remotest hope of being president and the millions of average Americans over whom they govern.

All of the acting in "Tanner '88" is sensational, to the point where I forgot I wasn't just watching real people being filmed by a documentary filmmaker. Most notable are Pamela Reed, as Tanner's campaign manager, Cynthia Nixon, as his overbearing and very young daughter, and E.G. Marshall, who makes a few memorable appearances as Tanner's awful father.

This is a must see for Altman fans, or really anyone with an interest in American politics.

Grade: A+


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