Bush's Brain (2004)



Critic Consensus: Most of the evidence is more circumstantial than conclusive, but it's still a disturbing portrait of misuse of political power.

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Movie Info

Filmmakers Michael Paradies Shoob and Joseph Mealey offer an in-depth look at the man many regard as the brains behind George W. Bush's political career -- Karl Rove, a political strategist who has been described as having a "junkyard-dog approach to politics." Bush's Brain is a documentary which follows Rove's career from high school (when he was accused of using dirty tricks to win debate competitions) through his guidance of Bush's campaigns for Texas governor and United States president (during which he used aggressive strategies to discredit Bush's opponents) to his role in the Bush White House and his possible links to the scandal in which the status of Valerie Plame as a longtime covert CIA operative was leaked to the press. Bush's Brain was based in part on the book Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential by James C. Moore and Wayne Slater; the film was shown at the 2003 South by Southwest Film Festival.
PG-13 (for brief strong language)
Documentary , Musical & Performing Arts , Special Interest
Directed By:
In Theaters:


Jacques Vroom
as Narrator
Jacques Vroom
as Narrator

Critic Reviews for Bush's Brain

All Critics (48) | Top Critics (20)

The accusations are alarming and juicy enough to strike up a watchable combo of fear and gall.

Full Review… | October 1, 2004
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Directors Joseph Mealey and Michael Paradies Shoob make a persuasive though not incontestable case that Rove directly sabotaged the 1986 Texas governor's race.

September 24, 2004
Seattle Times
Top Critic

This unapologetically partisan documentary is designed to inflame Bush opponents, and it ought to succeed like a bucket of gasoline tossed on a bonfire.

Full Review… | September 23, 2004
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

Enlightening and frightening.

Full Review… | September 17, 2004
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Littered with sloppy accusations and one-sided arguments, Bush's Brain, like so many political documentaries of late, is transparently manipulative.

Full Review… | September 16, 2004
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

They succeed in presenting a compelling series of dots, to use the current parlance, but they don't succeed in connecting them.

Full Review… | September 10, 2004
Washington Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Bush's Brain

This doc's title refers to Karl Rove, who served as advisor to both George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. The filmmaking team of Joseph Mealey and Michael Paradies Shoob look at Rove's beginnings as a school debating champion to an Republican attack dog, who led successful smears against Texas Gov. Ann Richards and Senator John McCain, among others. The film was completed before the 2004 election got into high gear, or else he'd be implicated in the swift-boating of Senator John Kerry. It's blatant propaganda, but one that makes quite a persuasive case.

Manny Casillas
Manny Casillas

If you only watch Fox New or listen to right wing radio this movie will confuse you, enrage you, cause you to foam at the mouth, cause you to scream at the monitor and make you run to Palin's chapter about the lame media seeking comfort. For the rest of us that are informed and educated you will find the movie compelling, informative and a compilation of facts that started surfacing when Rove started growing horns and a tail.

Jack lance
Jack lance

the best parts of the documentary pertain to rove's early career, it gets a little obvious at the end of the film.

Jason Dennis
Jason Dennis

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