The 10 greatest elections in movies

the campaign

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“The Campaign” opens in theaters this weekend, offering a spin on the modern election process as only Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis can. And while their take on the North Carolina congressional campaign is sure to be memorable, it’s far from the first peek behind the curtains — funny or otherwise — that Hollywood has given us.

Here are ten of our favorite movies that feature an election as a prominent plot device, and take a unique angle on the inevitable mud-slinging, pandering, and uncertain alliances that have made political campaigns the stuff of great storytelling fodder.

“Election” (1999)

Appropriately enough, this dark comedy is widely regarded as one of the best movies about an election you’ll ever see. It stars Matthew Broderick as a high-school teacher whose decision to help out with the school elections adds no small amount of stress to his already troubled life, while Reese Witherspoon plays the over-achieving student who will stop at nothing to become class president. A supremely clever satire of suburban life and politics, the film is an adaptation of a 1998 novel by Tom Perrotta, and received an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay, among other accolades.

“Wag The Dog” (1997)

Another dark comedy about modern politics, this film stars Robert De Niro as a Washington spin doctor who hires a Hollywood producer (Dustin Hoffman) to create a fictional war that will distract the public from a scandal threatening a presidential candidate’s bid for reelection. It’s a fascinating look at the marketing machine behind political campaigns and the very real process of manipulating public opinion on a massive scale. While the film differs greatly from the Larry Beinhart novel that inspired it, it’s still an eye-opening look at how politicians can curry favor and the fantastic illusions that have become an integral part of today’s politics.

“Primary Colors” (1998)

John Travolta plays a charismatic Southern politician vying for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in this drama based on Joe Klein’s popular 1996 novel of the same name. As his run to the White House gains momentum, his campaign is joined by an idealistic advisor played by Adrian Lester and a tough veteran played by Kathy Bates, and each discover in their own ways how much their candidate’s personal and political personas differ behind the scenes. Bates’ performance in the film earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress, while the film itself received a nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.

“Bulworth” (1998)

This weird 1998 film was co-written, co-produced and directed by its star, Warren Beatty, and follows a lifetime politician who sees the end of his career drawing nigh, and decides to go out with a bang — only to find out that giving up on traditional politics could be the best way to get reelected. While the film wasn’t exactly well received, it does hold the distinction of having not one but two scenes in which Warren Beatty raps. (No, seriously.)

“Black Sheep” (1996)

Before Ferrell and Galifianakis hit the campaign trail, there was Chris Farley and David Spade in this painfully funny film about a guy (Farley) who just wants to help out his brother’s political campaign, but ends up doing more harm than good. While it’s not the best of Farley’s buddy films, it has more than a fair share of memorable scenes featuring the big guy and serves as a great reminder of why he always kept us laughing.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”

Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”

But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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Draught Pick

Sam Adams “Keeps It Brockmire”

All New Brockmire airs Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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From baseball to beer, Jim Brockmire calls ’em like he sees ’em.


It’s no wonder at all, then, that Sam Adams would reach out to Brockmire to be their shockingly-honest (and inevitably short-term) new spokesperson. Unscripted and unrestrained, he’ll talk straight about Sam—and we’ll take his word. Check out this new testimonial for proof:

See more Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC, presented by Samuel Adams. Good f***** beer.

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