I don't know if you've heard, but there's an election coming up this week. People tell me it's pretty important to vote, whether you support Obama, Romney, or even a third party candidate. To help you get psyched up for the democratic process, these are the top 5 election movies of all time.
1) Black Sheep
This movie is an absolute classic from the glory days of Chris Farley and David Spade. After the success of Tommy Boy the previous year, Hollywood did some recycling with the release of Black Sheep. Farley plays the embarrassing, boorish, but well-intentioned brother of a gubernatorial candidate, and Spade is hired to keep him out of trouble until the election. Though I would give the slight edge to Tommy Boy, Black Sheep has plenty of memorable moments. If everyone watched his “voting kicks ass” speech, we'd have record voter turnout.
2) Napoleon Dynamite
Admittedly, this awkward tone poem of a film doesn't work for everyone. After the awesome opening credits (still my favorite scene), Napoleon Dynamite is an hour and a half of just plain weirdness. But even if ligers, sweet jumps, and Rex-Kwan-Do didn't make you laugh, there's no way to watch the climactic dance scene without at least breaking a smile.
The eponymous Napoleon performs his routine during a school assembly, single-handedly winning the election for his friend Pedro. “Vote for Pedro” became an instant meme, and the epic choreography even found its way into the World of Warcraft franchise, joining legends like Tunak Tunak Tun (Dahler Mehndi) and MC Hammer. I would imagine that if either Obama or Romney could bust these moves, they'd win the election by a landslide.
3) In the Line of Fire
OK, so maybe the upcoming election is an ancillary plot point in this Clint Eastwood film, but I'm including it because it's so damn good. Eastwood plays an aging secret service agent haunted by his failure to protect President Kennedy. When a would-be assassin, John Malkovich, starts calling the White House with threats, Eastwood has to face his demons and prepare himself to take a bullet for the president. This psychological thriller is magnificently well-acted, with Malkovich at his absolute creepiest.
Though the romantic parts of In the Line of Fire are sometimes a little hard to swallow (the 63-year-old Eastwood courts a 30-something Renee Russo), the back-and-forth between the leading men is grippingly entertaining throughout the film.
Tell me you didn't see this one coming.
Seriously though, Election is a pretty damn funny dark comedy. Matthew Broderick plays an unhappy teacher who throws himself into his work to keep his mind off of his personal failings. When the student body election, Broderick's favorite diversion, is threatened by a two-faced overachiever/seductress played by Reese Witherspoon, he takes action. Broderick's efforts gradually spiral out of control, along with the rest of his life, in dark but hilarious fashion.
This rather bold film tackles infidelity, homosexuality, and even the legitimacy of student governments with tongue-in-cheek commentary. Chris Klein is great as Paul, the slow-witted football player whom Broderick recruits to oppose Witherspoon. Certainly not a “feel-good” film, Election gets props for eschewing the standard Hollywood ending where the good guys triumph, if only because there really are no good guys in this movie.
5) Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Noooooooooooooooooot! (Said in a flawless Borat impression.)