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The 10 greatest elections in movies

the campaign

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“The Manchurian Candidate” (1962)

The original, 1962 version of this film is widely regarded as one of the best films ever made, let alone a great film about the politics of an era. Frank Sinatra (yes, that Frank Sinatra) stars as one of several American soldiers captured during the Korean War and, unbeknownst to them and the American public, brainwashed into becoming tools of the Communist regime. The communists’ sinister plot unfolds as the soldiers’ return vaults them into the political arena, and a diabolical plot to give the nation’s enemies control over the country. The film is filled with high tension and an unbelievable cast that also includes Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh, and Angela Lansbury, who was nominated for an Oscar for her performance.

“Speechless” (1994)

This 1994 romantic comedy stars Geena Davis and Michael Keaton as speechwriters for rival candidates in a New Mexico political campaign. It’s a fun little film that takes a unique angle on the election process by looking at how the right word at the right time can shift public sentiment in dramatic ways. The movie also features a great performance by Christopher Reeve as “Baghdad Bob,” a television reporter covering the film’s campaign.

“The Ides of March” (2011)

A thriller starring George Clooney and Ryan Gosling, this film was directed by Clooney, who also co-wrote the screenplay. In the film, Gosling plays a junior campaign manager for the Governor of Pennsylvania (Clooney), who’s attempting to get the Democratic nod in the presidential election.. As one might expect, things take one dark turn after another as secrets from the candidate’s past come to light during the campaign, and Gosling’s character is forced to choose between his morals and his career.

“Game Change” (2012)

This HBO movie offered a fascinating examination of the 2008 United States presidential election campaign — specifically the campaign of John McCain, Sarah Palin, and the Republicans’ senior strategist Steve Schmidt. Even if you’re not interested in revisiting that wild election year, this one’s worth checking out if only to see the performances of Julianne Moore as Palin, Ed Harris as McCain, and Woody Harrelson as Schmidt.

“Gangs of New York” (2002)

Finally, while this film doesn’t actually spend a lot of time on the elections that occur over the course of the story, it does offer a fascinating look at the infamous political machine that dominated New York for decades (and according to some, still dominates the city). From the role of legendary “Boss” Tweed in the local politics to the elections that regularly resulted in candidates being elected by more voters than the number of people living in the city at the time (“Vote early, vote often!”), director Martin Scorsese didn’t shy away from showing the corruption that built New York City. In the end, it would be easier to list all of the awards this film wasn’t nominated for than the long list of accolades it received.

“The Campaign” hits theaters August 10.

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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

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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.

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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

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