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IFC.com’s 2012 Fall Movie Preview Guide

IFC Fall Movie Preview Guide

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We’ve finally exited the bombastic season of summer blockbusters, but by no means is Hollywood through with us. September through December is when studios release some of their most original and interesting films, often with an eye towards Oscar gold. Given that dozens of films are on the release calendar during this period, we’ve put together a handy guide showcasing some of the best and brightest of the fall fare. So with that in mind, take a gander at our substantive Fall Movie Preview Guide.

Select a monthSept | Oct | Nov | Dec

9/7 – “BRANDED” (Roadside Attractions – Jamie Bradshaw and Aleksandr Dulerayn – Sci-Fi)

A scene from BrandedWhat use does anyone have for subtlety when Max Von Sydow is out there forcing us to eat hamburgers, buy smartphones and have sex in cars? A variation on John Carpenter’s “They Live” with something resembling a “Matrix”-sized budget, “Branded” stars Ed Stoppard as just another working stiff in a sprawling (and vaguely green-tinted, as these things usually go) metropolis who suddenly starts seeing the world as a series of Xbox 360 cutscenes gone stark raving mad, a glimpse behind the curtain of the Big Brother corporation that’s controlling our instincts, desires and even personalities via some sort of implant. Consumerist satire is nothing new to science fiction (did we mention “They Live”?), but “Branded” at least has what looks like a unique gonzo visual style courtesy of the writing and directing team of Jamie Bradshaw and Aleksandr Dulerayn. Jeffrey Tambor and Leelee Sobieski are also in this, which just makes it all the weirder.


9/7 – “THE INBETWEENERS MOVIE” (Wrekin Hill Entertainment – Ben Palmer – Comedy)

A scene from The Inbetweeners MovieSuburban teenagers Will (Simon Bird), Jay (James Buckley), Neil (Blake Harrison) and Simon (Joe Thomas) pack up their adolescent angst and raging libidos and trade the rainy doldrums of England for the sunny climes of Malia, embarking on a much-needed vacation that doesn’t quite end up being what they expected. Seedy hotels, public humiliations, run-ins with drug dealers and more than a few sexual misadventures are the name of the game in this feature film adapted from the popular British television series (which this film brings to a definitive end), an inspired-looking bit of cinematic mayhem that could very well dethrone “Project X” as 2012’s number-one party movie that parents hope their kids will never see. What better way to take the edge off of going back to school than by spending some time on a Greek island with a quartet whose coming-of-age always takes the most extreme route possible?


9/7 – “THE WORDS” (CBS Films – Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal – Drama)

A scene from The WordsWant to plunge yourself into the deepest existential crisis you could ever imagine? Commit plagiarism! “The Words” follows an aspiring writer (Bradley Cooper) who finally achieves the success he’s been craving when he publishes the next great American novel – an epic romantic tome that he didn’t write himself. The consequences are dire when the truth comes a’callin’, made all the more ominous by being embodied by a strange old man on a park bench (Jeremy Irons) whose cryptic storytelling reveals the reality behind the fiction … and vice-versa. After “Limitless” and now this, Bradley Cooper can play a grinning doofus whose new ultra-life comes with a very high price in his sleep, though the film itself seems a bit confused when the sudden appearance of the song “Demons” by Imagine Dragons over the last part of the trailer makes it seem like an MTV movie that should be starring Zac Efron and Miley Cyrus. Still, “The Words” earned some good buzz from Sundance earlier this year, and it’s not like anyone should turn down the chance to see a supporting cast that includes Zoe Saldana, Olivia Wilde, Dennis Quaid and J.K. Simmons, who plays a businessman who has to tell his perpetually broke, pushing-40 artiste son that maybe writing should just be a “hobby.”


9/14 – “THE MASTER” (The Weinstein Company – Paul Thomas Anderson – Drama)

Philip Seymour Hoffman in The MasterPaul Thomas Anderson’s first film in five years (following 2007’s excellent “There Will Be Blood”) comes with a bit of pre-packaged controversy as his post-war fable about a wandering soul (Joaquin Phoenix) who’s “saved” by a spiritual guru (Philip Seymour Hoffman) bears more than a passing resemblance to the life story of L. Ron Hubbard and the rise of Scientology. Indeed, Anderson has tried to cut off any potential (and probably inevitable) grumblings at the pass by already showing the film to what could be either his greatest ally or worst enemy in this endeavor: his “Magnolia” pal and number-one Scientology celebrity champion, Tom Cruise. Cruise reportedly has “some problems” with the film but certainly doesn’t seem to be all up in arms about it; hopefully, we’ll be able to judge “The Master” on its own terms and not as the “propaganda film” some might claim it to be. The fact that Anderson has never made a bad movie certainly sets the bar pretty high; personally, we have a feeling this one might even end up being his all-time best.


9/14 – “RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION” (Sony Pictures – Paul W.S. Anderson – Action/Horror/Sci-Fi)

Milla Jovovich in Resident Evil: RetributionMilla Jovovich is back doing what she does best in the fifth (!) installment of the action horror series that no one really likes but apparently can’t help but watch. It looks like business as usual (and once again in 3D, as with the 2010’s “Afterlife”) as Alice (Jovovich) grabs her double guns and teams up with a resistance movement that’s determined to take down the ever-corrupt, ever-untouchable Umbrella Corporation, the uber-conglormerate responsible for turning most of the world’s population into ravenous zombies and other mutant monsters. “Retribution” makes for something of a reunion as several series alums are making appearances (whether they died in previous installments or not), including Michelle Rodriguez (absent since the 2002 original), Sienna Guillory (as fan favorite Jill Valentine), Oded Fehr and Shawn Roberts (as supervillain Albert Wesker). What, no Mike Epps? What kind of show is Paul W.S. Anderson running here? Anyway, “Retribution” reportedly marks the “beginning of the end” for a franchise that somehow keeps getting resurrected almost in spite of itself.


9/21 – “DREDD 3D” (Lionsgate – Pete Travis – Action/Sci-Fi)

Karl Urban in Dredd 3D“I AM DA LAW!” Sylvester Stallone made a go at Judge Dredd, the judge, jury and executioner of the popular British comic book series “2000 AD,” back in 1995 with a failed film adaptation that didn’t stand a chance against opening opposite “Apollo 18” (or opening opposite anything, really). The character’s definitely got a cult following, so it was only a matter of time before someone gave him an upgrade and a hearty R rating for some rather extreme “RoboCop”-level violence. Karl Urban, who can play anything from a Middle-earth warrior in “The Lord of the Rings” to a scowling Russian assassin in “The Bourne Supremacy” to, well, Bones in “Star Trek,” plays Dredd this time around, a mighty and at times merciless enforcer of justice in the irradiated future world of Mega City One, a sparawling metropolis overwrought with crime and corruption. The film screened earlier this summer at the San Diego Comic-Con, where it received some praise for not pulling any punches in bringing to life a city where bullets fly like there’s no tomorrow.


9/21 – “END OF WATCH” (Open Road – David Ayer – Drama/Mystery)

A scene from End of Watch“So why do they call you Big Evil?” “’cause my evil’s big.” Writer-director David Ayer once again hits the mean streets of Los Angeles with this crime drama in which two LAPD officers (Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña) make what seems like the bust of their careers when they confiscate a bunch of money and guns during a routine traffic stop. Unfortunately, this act of protecting and serving makes them the targets of a powerful drug cartel that likes to do things like shoot up homes with machine guns in the middle of the night – for starters. Ayer, who wrote “Training Day,” “S.W.A.T.” and “Dark Blue” and wrote/directed “Harsh Times,” is obviously right at home with this kind of gritty cop tale, and with “End of Watch” he goes for a “found footage” kind of look to up the sense of realism and intensity. If only we didn’t have such a hard time accepting Gyllenhaal as a grown-up – we still only see the kid from “Donnie Darko” every time we look at him.


9/21 – “HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET” (Rogue – Mark Tonderai – Horror/Thriller)

Jennifer Lawrence in House at the End of the StreetIt was probably only a matter of time before someone put Jennifer Lawrence, the rising star of “Winter’s Bone” and “The Hunger Games,” in a white tank top and made her stake her claim as a modern-day Scream Queen. Lawrence plays Elissa, a teenager who moves with her newly divorced mother (Elisabeth Shue) to an upscale (and almost surely isolated) country community, where she becomes involved with the cute guy next door (Max Thieriot) who harbors a deadly secret involving murder and mayhem. Lawrence’s perfectly art-directed grimy, sweaty cleavage should sell some tickets, though whether she’s a true movie star outside the realm of Panem remains to be seen; meanwhile, we’re having trouble with the fact that the hottie from “Adventures in Babysitting” is now old enough to have a teenager of her own. The film’s already been nominated for Best Sound Editing by the Directors Guild of Canada, so we know all those creaking floors, high-pitched wails and various bumps in the night will at least sound good.


9/21 – “TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE” (Warner Bros. – Robert Lorenz – Drama)

Clint Eastwood in Trouble with the CurveIt’s been a while since baseball was used as a metaphor for the various unpredictable victories and defeats of … well, life, so leave it to Clint Eastwood, Hollywood’s seemingly tireless MVP, to take us back out to the ball game. Eastwood plays Gus, a longtime talent scout who’s got one good trip left in him; his estranged daughter (Amy Adams) accompanies him on his last swing for the fences, during which he encounters a longtime rival (Justin Timberlake) who’s got eyes for his little girl. “Trouble With the Curve” marks Eastwood’s first acting gig since 2008’s “Gran Torino” and his first starring role in a movie he didn’t direct himself since 1993’s “In the Line of Fire”; calling the shots (and pitches) is Eastwood’s longtime pal and producer, Robert Lorenz, making his feature directorial debut. Expect this one to be a grizzled yet gentle fable that might do for fathers and daughters what “Field of Dreams” did for fathers and sons.


9/14 – “THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER” (Summit – Stephen Chbowsky – Drama)

Emma Watson and Ezra Miller in The Perks of Being a WallflowerStephen Chbosky directs his own adaptation of his own novel, a “period piece” of sorts (it takes place in the early ’90s, which, in many ways, might as well be 100 years ago) about a high school freshman (Logan Lerman) who’s taken under the wing of two seniors (Emma Watson and Ezra Miller) as he deals with first love, the suicide of his best friend and other seemingly insurmountable challenges of transitioning into adulthood. The exceptional book definitely has its fans, but the real draw here is seeing Emma Watson in her first major post-“Harry Potter” role; she’s apparently determined to still be seen as a student, unlike her colleague, Daniel Radcliffe, who jumped right into playing a widowed father in “The Woman in Black.” Early buzz says that Chbosky has been blessed by John Hughes, which is certainly a “Perk”; God knows we’re extremely overdue for a truly insightful, witty and unironic film about teenagers.


9/28 – “SOLOMON KANE” (Radius-TWC – Michael J. Bennett – Adventure/Fantasy)

A scene from Solomon Kane“I am not yet ready for hell!” An old-fashioned morality tale told as an epic fantastical action-adventure, “Solomon Kane” stars James Purefoy as a brutal mercenary of Queen Elizabeth I who changes his violent ways when he finds out that he’s headed straight for you-know-where. He successfully lives a life of peace until he’s called back into action after an evil sorcerer (Jason Flemyng) kidnaps a Puritan girl (Rachel Hurd-Wood) and has her family slaughtered in front of her. Time to set stuff on fire and turn dramatically to the camera to say “Follow me!” in the mostly grimly determined way possible! This one’s been held at U.S. customs for three years now, as other countries have been enjoying “Solomon Kane” since late 2009; the film now serves as a warm-up of sorts before director Michael J. Bennett unveils his big Hollywood debut, “Silent Hill: Revelation 3D,” a month later. “Solomon Kane” also marks one of the last films of the late, great Pete Postlethwaite, who, along with Max von Sydow, provides old-timer gravitas to all the sword-swinging chaos.


9/28 – “LOOPER” (TriStar Pictures – Rian Johnson – Action/Sci-Fi)

Joseph Gordon-Levitt in LooperWe’ve been waiting almost 17 years for something to be referred to as “the next ’12 Monkeys,'” and it looks like we’re finally getting it in the form of Rian Johnson’s new sci-fi action film – which, appropriately enough, also features the doomed hero of “Monkeys,” Bruce Willis. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the writer-director’s unofficial muse (they previously rocked the house – or the high school, rather – with the noir mystery, “Brick”), plays the title role, a future-world assassin who incorporates time travel into his work; things go completely meta-bonkers when his latest target ends up being his older self (Willis), who manages to avoid being the victim of what would’ve been the most mind-bending case of murder-suicide in history. The trailer released a few months ago was amazing enough, but the extended look given at this summer’s San Diego Comic-Con promises a film that’s going to be as exciting and entertaining as it is thought-provoking and smarty-pants cool (just like “12 Monkeys” before it).

Continue to October >>

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Bill Hader as Stefon Breaking Character

The Break-Up

Watch Bill Hader and Other SNL Favorites Break Character

Catch Bill Hader on the new season of Documentary Now! premiering September 14th at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: NBC/YouTube

Aw, Friday. A day of happy hours that begin at 4PM and “too rotten to miss” movies like Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey on IFC’s Rotten Fridays. A truly magical day where the possibilities are endless and the regrets are just around the corner. So as we partake in the pre-weekend, sit back and enjoy another gaggle of funny videos to run out the clock.

From a despondent croissant to unintended giggling on SNL, here are the five best videos of the week.

1. SNL Cast Breaks Up

Saturday Night Live head honcho Lorne Michaels famously decries ad-libbing during the live runs — though with hilarious folks like Will Ferrell and Documentary Now!‘s Bill Hader, there are bound to be some unscripted moments that cause the cast to lose it during a sketch. Some of the greatest SNL moments involve the players or guests breaking character, as this compilation clearly shows. (Fortunately, the shame of ruining the scene has been replaced by video viralbility.)


2. Croissant Man

Pity the breakfast pastry, for its existential ennui is too much for this world. In this short courtesy of the NY Television Festival, our favorite light and flakey morning pal waxes melodramatically to his therapist and compatriots regarding the hopeless, Sartre-level gloom that hangs over every search for Life’s purpose. (Click here to see more great shorts from the NYTVF.)


3. That Time Ray Charles Beat Willie Nelson in Chess

For your guaranteed smile of the day, here’s the tale of a game of chess between crooners Ray Charles and Willie Nelson. Turns out ol’ Ray was a bona fide chess master on par with Bobby Fischer — or maybe he was just good at evening the field by making them play in the dark. As Willie puts it, “He kicked my ass three games in a row!”


4. Why Jump Scares Suck

Ever since primitive man leapt out of a bush to scare his friend, jump scares have been employed as a cheap and easy way to jolt your audience. As YouTuber Jack Nugent explains in the latest Now You See It video, it’s far more difficult to instill a growing sense of dread and suspense than just simply having a cat screech across the foreground of a dimly lit basement.


5. Best Supporting Weirdo

“Here’s to the crazy ones,” Steve Jobs famously said, paying homage to the oddballs and misfits who stand out from the pack and, more often than not, define their surroundings. In this rapid-fire supercut, some of our favorite nutjobs (like Beetlejuice, Cameron Frye and Death) are paid homage for keeping pop culture protagonists on edge and the audience entertained.

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Rotten Journey

5 Reasons Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey Is Too Rotten to Miss

Have an excellent time with Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey tonight at 8P during IFC's Rotten Fridays.

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Photo Credit: Orion Pictures/Everett Collection

We live in an age of unimaginative sequels. Filmmakers know the easiest way to cash in is to trot out the same plot and characters and hope we don’t notice. Which is why what we need now more than ever is Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, airing tonight at 8P as part of IFC’s Rotten Fridays.

Sure, the 1991 sequel to Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (coincidentally airing on IFC tonight at 6P before Bogus Journey) scored a meager 54% on the Rotten Tomatoes. (Even before the “Tomatometer” was a thing, Bogus Journey was the definition of a lackluster sequel.) But its mix of head-scratching craziness (Robots! Aliens! William Sadler as Death!) and solid gags (“You sunk my Battleship!”) have earned the flick a cult following among fans of oddball sequels. Before you tune in tonight, check out some reasons why Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey earns the coveted title of being one of IFC and Rotten Tomatoes’ movies that are “too rotten to miss.”

5. It’s Visually Most Triumphant.

Bogus Journey
Orion Pictures

The first movie may be a classic, but there’s no doubt the look of this scorned sequel took things to a whole other level. Instead of resting on Excellent Adventure‘s laurels, new director Peter Hewitt decided to go for broke creatively, offering up a vivid visual style that highlighted the film’s themes of life, death, failure and regret. While it may not be the popular opinion, there’s no doubt that as pure eye candy Bogus blew the first flick out of the water. Just ask Michael Wilmington, who wrote in the Los Angeles Times that “Bogus Journey is better than the original: more imaginative, more opulent, wilder and freer, more excitingly visualized.” Righteous review, dude!


4. Evil Bill and Ted Robots? Excellent!

Bogus Journey robots
Orion Pictures/Everett Collection

Bill and Ted have to be two of the most loveable doofuses to ever grace the silver screen, so it shouldn’t come as a shock that seeing them go full-on bad guy is a real treat. The evil robot clones of Bill and Ted still have their sleepy-eyed, stoner outlook on life — they just also happen to be bad to the bone. This fun twist brings new life to the franchise, another example of how screenwriters Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon really mixed things up. Plus, they rock!


3. Bill and Ted Go To Hell. Outstanding!

Bogus Journey
Orion Pictures

If Tim Burton ever directed a Freddy Krueger movie, it might end up looking something like Bill and Ted’s journey to Hell. While the sequence is righteously funny — with an unending descent into Hades going from terrifying to boring in the blink of an eye — it also has a dark, nightmarish quality that’s like an M.C Escher painting that knows your deepest, darkest secrets. Alex Winter’s turn as young Bill’s toothless “Granny Preston” wanting a kiss still gives us nightmares.


2. The Grim Reaper is Bodacious.

Bogus Journey
Orion Pictures

William Sadler, who’s played everything from a badass terrorist in Die Hard 2 to a loveable convict in The Shawshank Redemption, kills it as, well, Death. Heavily influence by Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal, Sadler plays the Grim Reaper as a stoic force of nature who learns to loosen up thanks to some righteous new friends. The scene where Bill and Ted best him in a batch of board games may seem a bit broad at first blush, but what are Ted “Theodore” Logan and Bill S. Preston, Esq. supposed to do? Play chess?


1. The Dudes Truly Become Wyld Stallyns.

Bogus Journey Wyld Stallyns
Orion Pictures

One of the few shortcomings from the most unrivaled first film is that we never really get to see the boys become rock legends. Thanks to some time traveling shortcuts — and a 16-month sabbatical of guitar lessons and baby making — Bogus Journey ends with the Wyld Stallyns finally living up to their righteous reputation, ready to make the music that will put an end to war and poverty and align the planets into universal harmony. Also, it’s excellent for dancing.

Catch Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey this Friday at 8P on IFC’s Rotten Fridays!

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Choose or Lose

The Funniest Political Comedies From the ’90s

Documentary Now! tackles '90s politics with "The Bunker," premiering September 14th at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox/Everett Collection

While this election season seems like the greatest source of political comedy ever, it’s got nothing on the ’90s. During the original recipe Clinton Era, there were a large number of films that shined a light on the dark humor of politics.

As we gear up for the September 14th premiere of “The Bunker,” the season premiere episode of Documentary Now! that takes a look back at the tumultuous 1992 Ohio Governor race, let’s flashback to a simpler time when Donald Trump was just a rich guy happy to be in Home Alone 2. It was the time of flannel shirts, Beavis and Butt-head and politicians with their heads up their own butts. Grab some Crystal Pepsi and check out the funniest political comedies of the ’90s.

10. My Fellow Americans (1996)

Legendary actors James Garner and Jack Lemmon play two politically opposite ex-Presidents thrust together in an attempt to prove that the current President (played by Dan Aykroyd) is behind a bribery scandal that Lemmon’s Pres. Kramer is being framed for. My Fellow Americans was supposed to star Lemmon and his Grumpy Old Men costar Walter Matthau, who backed out of the project due to health problems. As great a duo as they were, James Garner seemed like the perfect choice for Pres. Douglas — with his natural Southern charm, his character is like an older Bill Clinton.


9. The Distinguished Gentleman (1992)

The Distinguished Gentleman might be the last movie you would shout out if you were ever on Family Feud and “Eddie Murphy movies” was a category, but it’s still a fun comedy with Eddie bringing the cool factor that made him a huge star in the ’80s. Here Murphy plays a con man who decides to run for a Florida Congressional seat because he shares the same name as the congressman in his district up for re-election who just died of a heart attack. After getting the backing of a Florida seniors organization (the Silver Foxes), Murphy’s appropriately named Thomas Jefferson Johnson runs as the “name you know” and ends up winning. He starts out buying into the idea of “playing the game” in order to get paid by lobbyists but eventually ends up changing his con-man ways. Hey, it’s a ’90s Eddie Murphy comedy. Things tended to work out in Eddie’s favor.


8. Black Sheep (1996)

The second buddy road trip comedy starring Chris Farley and David Spade suffers from being compared to the much funnier Tommy Boy, but there are still some hilarious moments here. Farley, in one of his final roles, plays Mike Donnelly, a well-meaning but goofy mess who manages to repeatedly muck up his brother’s campaign for Governor. Casting Tim Matheson, of Animal House fame, as the smarter and handsomer brother was a great choice and Farley and Spade get into plenty of shenanigans including encountering Gary Busey as a crazed Vietnam Vet. The scene where Farley takes the stage at a “Rock the Vote” concert will have you snorting Crystal Pepsi out of your nose.


7. The American President (1995)

Before he created The West Wing, Aaron Sorkin honed his presidential speech writing skills with the screenplay for The American President, a romantic comedy where Michael Douglas’ single Prez romances Annette Bening’s plucky environmental lobbyist. Directed by rom-com master Rob Reiner, the movie is loaded with sweet and funny moments, like when Pres. Shepherd (Douglas) calls Sydney (Bening) to ask her out the first time and she hangs up thinking it’s a prank call. We even get a sneak peek of President Bartlett, as Martin Sheen turns up as Shepherd’s no-nonsense his Chief-of-Staff. Sorkin claims he wrote the screenplay during a time when he smoked a crack. If that’s the case, every screenwriter should be give that method a try.


6. Wag the Dog (1997)

Before Dustin Hoffman joined Robert De Niro’s “circle of trust” in Meet the Fockers, the legendary actors co-starred in the David Mamet-scripted dark comedy Wag the Dog. You can’t capture the era of ’90s politics better than a film dealing with the cover-up of a Presidential sex scandal. Oddly, the movie actually came out before Monica Lewinsky and her dress entered the minds of Americans. Today, the plot of Wag the Dog might be an episode of Scandal, but if you look back to 1997, it was a biting political satire of what goes on behind-the-scenes of power and politics. De Niro plays D.C. spin-doctor Conrad Bean, who hires a Hollywood producer to stage a fake war in Albania as a distraction to help insure the President’s re-election. In a stellar cast that also includes Anne Heche and Woody Harrelson as a psychotic ex-soldier turned war hero, Hoffman stands out as a Hollywood bigwig who has a strong resemblance to Godfather producer Robert Evans. (Look for Bill Hader’s take on Evans in the new season of Documentary Now!.)


5. Bulworth (1998)

Warren Beatty was born with the looks of a guy who should run for Senate, and in Bulworth he plays a veteran senator who has lost his way and hires a hit man to kill him. Faced with his impending death, Senator Bulworth has an almost religious conversion to honesty and starts railing against the corruption of corporate money in politics. (We imagine Bernie Sanders has this one in his Netflix queue.) Like a lot of ’90s movies comedies, there is a gimmicky scene where Bulworth raps during a speech. Still, the film is so sharply written, the scene is both hilarious and a prescient look at the way white establishment types would go on to co-opt hip-hop culture.


4. Bob Roberts (1992)

If you love a good mockumentary with conservative folk songs (who doesn’t?), Bob Roberts is the movie for you. Tim Robbins wrote, directed and starred in this underrated comedy, which was inspired by a SNL sketch he had appeared in a few years earlier. Bob Roberts is a folk-singing, conservative self-made millionaire running for Congress in Pennsylvania who appears to be 100% All-American. Robbins is great at using his wholesome grin to mask the fact that his character is a drug smuggling tyrant with fits of rage. Look for everyone from Alan Rickman as Roberts’ campaign manager to a young Jack Black (see above) as a scarily enthusiastic fan.


3. Dick (1999)

Before the Watergate scandal informant was revealed, there were plenty of theories over the years as to who “Deep Throat” really was. The 1999 comedy Dick posits a possible alternate history of Nixon’s downfall as it follows two adorably upbeat and politically clueless teenage girls (energetically played by Kirsten Dunst and Michelle Williams) who randomly become “Tricky” Dick’s dog walkers after ending up meeting him on a White House field trip. Over the course of the rollicking disco-fied comedy the girls come in contact with every player in the infamous White House scandal, including a hilarious Woodward and Bernstein, played by Will Ferrell and Bruce McCulloch of Kids in the Hall fame. (The duo’s ’70s hair alone is worth watching for.) Dan Hedaya is perfectly cast as Nixon, showcasing a softer side of the infamous president after he unwittingly eats some pot cookies. An underrated comedy, Dick is a blast of ’70s fun and a great showcase for its cast of rising stars.


2. Dave (1993)

Dave is a classic everyman-turned-hero story with a winning Kevin Kline as an affable guy who just happens to be a dead-ringer for the leader of the free world. When Pres. Mitchell has a stroke while fooling around with his mistress, his Chief of Staff (Frank Langella) hatches a plan to temporarily have Kline’s Dave fill in for the President. Langella and Kline are great together, and the scene where Dave calls his accountant friend (played by Charles Grodin) to come over to the White House and balance the budget is just one of the sharp ways director Ivan Reitman and screenwriter Gary Ross (Big) poke fun at politics. Look for Sigourney Weaver, reteaming with Reitman after the Ghostbusters movies, as the First Lady who slowly begins to realize something is off about her Husband-in-Chief.


1. Election (1999)

If you think national politics is cutthroat, just wait until you meet high school president candidate Tracy Flick. Tracy, as played by Reese Witherspoon, is like a teenage version of Amy Poehler’s Leslie Knope, but without the likeable personality. Mathew Broderick hits all the right notes as the teacher who starts off being respected but finds his whole life falling apart while overseeing the election. A dark comedy that shows the downside of driven political candidates, Election is a film that remains topical with every new voting season.

Watch MTV’s Tabitha Soren covering the heated 1992 Ohio Governor race below. To find out who wins, catch the season premiere of Documentary Now! September 14th at 10P on IFC.

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