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The War Room Documentary

Looking Back at the Bill Clinton Documentary That Inspired “The Bunker”

Documentary Now! returns to IFC this Wednesday, September 14th at 10P with the campaign classic "The Bunker."

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Photo Credit: October Films/Everett Collection.

Before presidential campaigns were dissected by every news channel, website and Twitter troll, the Oscar-winning documentary The War Room exposed the inner workings of the 1992 Clinton/Gore ticket.

To get you ready for “The Bunker” —  Documentary Now!‘s season premiere which takes a look at the heated Ohio Governor campaign that also garnered a good deal of buzz in ’92 — here are a few things you need to know about the film that inspired Fred Armisen, Bill Hader and the rest of the Doc Now! team.

Meet the Ragin’ Cajun

Bill Hader James Carville speech

Released in 1993, The War Room introduced the world to James Carville, Clinton’s cantankerous lead campaign strategist and possessor of a Cajun snarl that could bring weaker men to their knees. (He also knew how to rock some multicolored ’90s outfits.)

A wiz with a catchphrase (you can thank him for “It’s the economy, stupid!”), Carville quickly became a hit on the cable news and late night TV circuit. Saturday Night Live took notice, with everyone from John Malkovich to Documentary Now!‘s own Bill Hader spoofing his bulldog political tactics and colorful Cajun aphorisms.


NBC

Hader once again perfectly captures Carville’s mannerisms and unique turns-of-phrase with Teddy Redbones, the “Mississippi Machiavelli” campaign guru he plays in “The Bunker.” Watch these clips of Carville from The War Room and Hader in “The Bunker.” They could easily be Cajun cousins!

Ladies Love Cool George

Fred Armisen Bunker

The other breakout star of The War Room was Clinton’s Communications Director/handsome gent George Stephanopoulos. With a laidback demeanor that offset Carville’s intensity and a haircut that rivaled that other George who everyone loved in the ’90s, Stephanopoulos quickly became a political heartthrob.

In “The Bunker,” Fred Armisen plays Stephanopoulos surrogate Alvin “Boy Hunk of the Beltway” Panagoulious as an aw-shucks player — casually flirting with news hosts and decrying supermodel posters on the office wall for only featuring “nines out of 10.”

Clinton’s Campaign Played Dirty

Like Obama, Clinton ran on a campaign of “change versus more of the same,” a slogan coined by Carville.

In one scene in The War Room, Carville and the team work on an attack ad that took aim at George Bush’s backpedaling on his “No New Taxes” promise. (Watch the attack ad from “The Bunker” above.) As Carville said, their aim was to go after “the whole sleazy cabal” of the wealthy elite, and The War Room shows Clinton’s team slamming Bush’s every misstep, like the time he was confused by a grocery store scanner.

The Birth of “Slick Willie”

Remember Gennifer Flowers? Reports of Bill Clinton’s affair with the Penthouse model surfaced during the making of The War Room, and the film captures the way his team dodged the illicit allegations and spun voters towards focusing on the issues. (Bill could’ve used his “War Room” a few years later during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.)

Filmmakers Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker were only given minimal access to Clinton, who comes out looking far more rosy than the wheeling and dealing duo of Carville and Stephanopoulos. “The Bunker” nods to this in the way Councilman Herndon keeps his hands clean as Redbones and Panagoulious smear incumbent Governor Lester.

To see how well Documentary Now! captures The War Room, catch the premiere of “The Bunker” Wednesday, September 14th at 10P on IFC. It’ll change the way you think about elections.

Bill Hader Bunker

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at IFC.com

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

Uncle-Buck

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…