From cheesy burlesque to hardcore US politics and then meta-philosophical monologues, Nichols sure didn't stand dealing with certain topics for far too long. Which is a shame, he knows how to construct an intriguing story and follow it through, but ultimately lacks in more profound insights. "Primary Colors" still feels too much like a pun on Clinton family then an ambiguous study of idealism versus opportunism.
Nichols has a unique knack for making films that feel authentically American. A bleak, near-great meditation on the different ways idealism can destroy itself. Sharp screenplay, tons of great acting; Thompson, Travolta, Hagman, and Thornton are all fantastic. But Bates, a few missteps aside, gives the performance of the film and acts as its heartbreaking moral center. She probably deserved the Oscar.