Election Movies – Episode 29

This week, Brian, John, and Elaine are nursing really bad post halloween hangovers.  Seriously, we overdosed on candy corn and peanut butter cups.  So as we recover, we decided to turn our attention to the coming apocalypse…I mean presidential election by examining some of the cinematic offerings of the more political and patriotic variety.  So buckle up as we navigate some of hollywood’s most revealing critiques of our political system as we dive into election films.  

Movie News!

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Election Films

History
  • Political films used to be more about the “everyman” going to Washington and serving the country in our political system (ie. Mr. Smith Goes To Washington)
  • Around the 60’s and 70’s political films started to reflect cynicism of the time due to The Vietnam War and Watergate.
Reflective of our time
  • Ultimately, all political films are reflective of not only their time but also the societal and political narrative of the time.
  • Cold War paranoia also seeped into movies like The Manchurian Candidate and The Dead Zone.
  • 1990’s became less cynical and more satirical with movies like Primary Colors, Bullworth, and Wag the Dog.  
The Contender (2000)
  • Joan Allen plays a politician who is potentially being vetted as vice President.
  • Becomes bogged down by sexual accusations and discrimination by her enemies.
  • Mirrors some of the sexist arguments brought up in our current election.
Election (1999)
  • Dark Comedy starring Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick
  • Notable for showing a girl who is aggressively going after political power in a high school election.
  • Tracy Flick is presented as a scheming opportunist and over achiever.
  • The movie presents utterly unlikable characters.
  • Matthew Broderick starts off as a popular teacher and ultimately is caught up in a male vs female battle to destroy Tracy Flick’s chances of winning the school election.
  • Reads as slightly disturbing in a time when candidates like Donald Trump our reflected in Matthew Broderick’s character of Jim McCalister.

Election (1999) Trailer

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