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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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Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.


Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:


The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.


They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!


Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.


Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.



Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”


IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?

Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!

Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.

Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 


IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.