Tanner on Tanner

DIRECTOR(S): Robert Altman
WRITER(S): Garry Trudeau
PRODUCER(S): Wren Arthur, Matthew Seig, Robert Altman
AIR DATE(S): October 5, 2004
DISTRIBUTOR(S): Sundance Channel
LOCATIONS: New York City, New York; Boston, Massachusettes, USA

Sixteen years after making Tanner 88, Robert Altman and Garry Trudeau have teamed up again to make a brand-new follow-up, shot during the 2004 presidential race.

Michael Murphy reprises his starring role as Jack Tanner, a former congressman whose bid for the White House ended at the 1988 Democratic Convention. Now, Tanner is the subject of a documentary film directed by his daughter Alex (Sex in the City’s Cynthia Nixon) focusing on the toll paid by failed contenders.

As with Tanner 88, Tanner on Tanner mixes fact and fiction, and cameos include Robert Redford, Martin Scorsese, Howard Dean and Ron Reagan Jr. But whereas Tanner 88 satirised politics, it’s the media that comes in for the most stick in Tanner on Tanner.

The media circus reaches its climax at the Democratic Convention in Boston, where Alex Tanner encounters Alex Kerry – who is herself making a documentary about her father – John Kerry. As Altman has said in a recent interview, “We were really unknown when we were running around in ’88. All we had to attract anybody with was a camera. This year, we were one of 40 documentary crews with accreditation. It’s silly. We were pretty much following each other around.”

• Michael Murphy . . . Jack Tanner
• Cynthia Nixon . . . Alex Tanner
• Pamela Reed . . . T.J. Cavanaugh
• Matt Malloy . . . Deke Connors
• Llana Levine . . . Andrea Spinelli

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