Dead Red Eyes Election picks (2012). Well not the actual election, but something that we are a bit more fond of. Here’s our ten picks for election based movies, just in time for that election day marathon when you don’t need to watch the news on every channel to see the same commentary over and over. The work’s been done, let me know who wins…. the day after.
1. The Candidate (1972) Apparently politicians were so impressed by Robert Redford’s performance as presidential candidate Bill McKay, they actually wanted him to run. A landmark American film (or so film school says) that captured the dark political scene of the time. Plus I love anything Peter Boyle is in.
2. Wag the Dog (1997) A Presidential advisor (Robert DeNiro) and a Hollywood producer (Dustin Hoffman) make up a fake war to distract the public from the truth through the media. Don’t worry, it’s just a movie.
3. An Unreasonable Man (2005) Consumer advocate Ralph Nader discusses the role (or lack thereof) of third party candidates and other topics such as him introducing something called the seatbelt and airbags. He’s got nerve for being such a good person!
4. Bulworth (1998) An entertaining political satire that is worth a watch if only to see Warren Beatty rap and smoke a blunt. Warren has since disappeared much in the same way the title character of this film did.
5. Advise and Consent (1962) Two words: Burgess Meredith.
6. The Ides of March (2011) George Clooney AND Ryan Gosling?! No, no, no! Too sexy! That’s probably why I haven’t seen it. Jokes aside, it did get some good feedback from critics and people we know, if you count a friend of mine saying “suprisingly decent”….as a sort of thumbs up.
7. The Last Hurrah (1958) Haven’t seen it but I’m sure it’s better than State of the Union (see below). Even old movies were often based on a book, such as this 1958 film adaptation of the novel The Last Hurrah by Edwin O’Connor. Also made in 1977 as a TV movie, which I’m sure I couldn’t find even if I tried.
8. State of the Union (1948) Haven’t seen it but I’m sure it’s better than Primary Colors (see Dishonorable mention). For those keeping score – It is directed by Frank Capra and starring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn about a presidential run.
9. Silver City (2004) I guess this was John Sayles’ attempt to mock George Bush and deter people from voting for him in 2004 when in fact it might have actually won him his second term.
10. The Campaign (2012) The last election movie before the end of the world? Almost hope so. Actually did see this quite recently, and while its not one of Ferrell’s best, Zach Galifianakis is brilliant in this movie. But flow-wise, it doesn’t compare to other similar “leader” comedies of the past year or so such as The Dictator.
Dishonorable mention: Primary Colors (1998) John Travolta as Bill Clinton? That detestable promo poster was enough for me to not bother. I’ll take Bulworth for 1998 political movies over this one any day.
Other more honorable mentions: Napoleon Dynamite (not exactly a US election, but Vote for Pedro gets half a point). Black Sheep, with Chris Farley and David Spade (plot not always necessary). Any others? Manchurian Candidate perhaps (which was remade in 2004)? I’m sure we’ve forgotten a couple, so let us know.