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Check out Richard Linklater’s tough new anti-Ted Cruz ad

The director of Before Sunrise, Dazed and Confused, and Boyhood disputes the Texas senator’s claim of being “tough as Texas” with some choice words.

Check out Richard Linklater’s tough new anti-Ted Cruz ad

Beto O’Rourke may not be taking any campaign donations from corporations or PACs, but that hasn’t stopped a PAC called Fire Ted Cruz from making a new anti-Cruz ad. And they enlisted Texas film legend Richard Linklater to do it.

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This isn’t a Means of Production-style, appeal-to-your-sense-of-humanity, empathy, and social responsibility approach. It’s a hilariously WTF call-out of Ted Cruz’s claim he’s “tough as Texas.” Here, like so many political photo-op meet and greets, we’ve got a man in a coffee shop waxing real talk on politics. The guy is Sonny Carl, whose IMDB page includes classics like Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Thelma & Louise, and The Burbs.

“If somebody called my wife a dog, and said my daddy was in on the Kennedy assassination, I wouldn’t be kissing their ass,” snarls Carl, on the all-time weird dynamic between Cruz and Donald Trump. “You stick a finger in their chest and give ’em a few choice words. Or you drag their ass out by the woodshed and kick their ass, Ted.”

Linklater eschews name calling and instead expertly uses old-fashioned unspoken disdain and Cruz’s own name as the ad’s biggest insult. “C’mon . . . Ted.” As the Washington Post pointed out, the spot is a call-back to a scene from Linklater’s 2011 movie Bernie, in which Davis played another old-timer who, in a similar outfit, gripes about liberals in a restaurant.

Anyone else think this could be a present-day Wooderson?

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About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity. He lives in Toronto.

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