Jimmy Carter Rock and Roll President Review – Four Stars! An Entertaining, Engaging, Oscar Bound, Biopic

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Jimmy Carter Rock and Roll President, from CNN Films and Not Just Peanuts Productions, present the unlikely story of a peanut farmer who became president and the southern rockers who would propel this simple man to the Oval Office.

 

Recently screened at the AFI Docs Film Festival, Jimmy Carter Rock and Roll President, directed by Mary Wharton, weaves together a series of interviews while chronicling President Carter's rise to political power.


 

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The film includes interviews with Willie Nelson, Greg Allman, Bono, Bob Dylan, Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Jimmy Buffett, Roseanne Cash, Chuck Leavell, Paul Simon, Jann Werner, Andrew Young, and Madeleine Albright as well as great performances from his time as president, while running for elected office, and for pleasure.

The film begins with President Carter in New York City, in 1976, and a single sentence quoting Bob Dylan from a speech he delivered before he accepted the nomination for President. "I have never had more faith in America than I do today. We have an America that, in Bob Dylan's phrase, is busy being born not busy dying."

With that the film retreats to modern times, to Plains, Georgia, and to the home of President Carter, explaining his love of music. Set to a lively soundtrack, President Carter explains his life, his humble beginnings, the opportunities to learn, explore, become, before his focus would shift to a political career.

A man of faith, with a moral compass, throughout the film he explains his roots in southern gospel music and recalls tent meetings where church and all-night singalongs would become foundational in his love for the traditional hymns.


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As the film shifts to Carter's political career, he talks of a time when in Georgia, segregation and the Klan ruled. After he became governor in 1971, he moved the constituents of his state accept integration, the Civil Rights Act, and which gave was the rule, and he refused those whom he counts as instrumental in helping his

He tells the story of Greg Allman and the Allman brothers, who at the time were the pulse of the southern rock and an endorsement could propel this unknown Georgian son into the national political arena. Carter's genuine appreciation for music, and his man of the people persona, are obvious throughout the film as archival footage show him just hanging out.

These icons of rock and roll all tell stories of this really cool guy, a simple man, no airs about him, who enjoyed the music, like to hang out and swap stories. After his surprising Presidential victory, which had always been considered a long shot at best, the White House became an extension of Jimmy Carter.

His home, even as it was the White House, was open to his friends and those who gave so much to him throughout the campaign where welcome, even if they just wanted to drop by unannounced, which many did.

As the film mirrors the turbulent time that was Carter's presidency, the Carter's held many events, paid tribute to artists across all genres, from jazz, gospel and rock, inviting to the stage many who had never expected the opportunity to play at the White House.

With unending global and national crisis including the Iran Hostage Crisis, the Energy crisis, gasoline shortages, a recession and a general consensus America was in a decline, Carter lost his re-election bid in a scathing, stinging, upset.


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The good which he accomplished, including the historic peace accord between Egypt and Israel and the many other milestones became a footnote to these pressing issues.

Many have remarked on Carter's post presidency work. The film continues to reveal a man dedicated to his goals, his wife and family, of bettering the world through initiatives set out by The Carter Center and through Habitat for Humanity. In this segment Trisha Yearwood, Garth Brooks and Bono talk about the man they know.

Honored for his tireless work he was recognized by the Nobel Prize committee "for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development." His lifelong friend Willie Nelson, providing entertainment at the ceremony, paid tribute to a man who used his life, with each opportunity, to improve life for the disenfranchised, vulnerable, and marginalized everywhere.


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Jimmy Carter Rock and Roll President, an entertaining, engaging biopic with a solid gold soundtrack!

More than the surprising, and refreshingly, tame revelations, the documentary highlights a man of character, a humanitarian, with integrity, and someone who genuinely liked people, enjoyed music, wanted to share his good fortune and ability to leverage resources to eliminate disease and provide housing for those in need.

President Jimmy Carter said, "When Chris and Mary came to Plains to show the film to me and my family, it was entertaining and emotional for all of us. The film exceeded my expectations in every way.  I'm thrilled that "Rock & Roll President" will reach a broad audience on CNN.  Despite the difficult times we are in, the film highlights my personal belief that we should remain hopeful and that music is a powerful source of hope in trying times."

Four Stars! See this film.

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