Have you heard the news? Tom DeLay’s an evil guy. That and other sparkling revelations fill the overheated documentary The Big Buy, which serves up its lefty outrage with little nuance or attempts to actually persuade. Complicating matters is the unassailable fact that some of DeLay’s actions as Texas congressman and House leader—including the funneling of banned corporate money into his state’s 2002 elections—are worthy of deep investigation.
But even if the filmmakers’ methods of presenting such material weren’t more suited to an ’80s Cars video (press conferences are superimposed digitally on Houston skyscrapers), the doc would be seriously lacking in insight. Never mind DeLay’s underhanded redistricting of Texas voting zones; how was he himself reelected time and again by his constituency? What was his appeal to the voters? Talking heads like Molly Ivins and Jim Hightower effectively convey their positions; you’ll hear phrases like “grand scheme” and “master plan” often. But how about an opinion or two regarding DeLay’s popularity? Tellingly, the disgraced politician refused to sit for an interview, though we do get a nice shot of his burnished-wood office door. Hard as it is to admit, DeLay may have made the right call. (Opens Fri; Quad.)—Joshua Rothkopf