Top 5 political movies
Given the madness of the current political cycle, I thought it might be fun to list good political movies to binge on. Naturally, the choices are very subjective! And unlike clickbait that starts at the bottom and makes you click through the entire list, I will start with my favorite and work my way down. Here goes:
- Primary Colors based on Joe Klein’s novel, with pitch perfect performances by John Travolta, Emma Thompson, Billy Bob Thornton, Kathy Bates and Maura Tierney, is my all time favorite. It captures the murky dynamics of running an effective campaign as well as the mix of ideology, ambition, ruthlessness and grit that fueled the Clinton ’92 win.
- Game Change, wow. Julianne Moore is eerily perfect as Sarah Palin and Ed Harris makes us feel sorry for the beleaguered John McCain steam-rollered by the woman from Wasilla. It was suspenseful even though I knew how it ended!
- Ides of March is probably one of the few movies where the name “Ryan Gosling” isn’t a liability. Of course, the stars of the show are the brilliant Philip Seymour Hoffman (may his soul rest in peace) and Paul Giamatti who stare down each other warily at the beginning of the movie. George Clooney as the charismatic but totally unprincipled candidate running for president is his usual slick self.
- The next two movies are fluffy and politics is a mere backdrop for a standard rom-com. Dave is a presidential doppelganger who subs for a comatose evil president and emerges a true leader and foils the bad guys trying to manipulate the country. Without Kevin Kline, Frank Langella, Sigourney Weaver and Ben Kingsley, this movie would be worthless with its flimsy plot and passable dialogue. But Kevin Kline and Frank Langella are superb.
- The American President is all boy-meets-girl and overcomes obstacles en route to the mandatory happy ending. But it captures some nice aspects of life in the White House and Michael Douglas and Annette Bening are very good together. And one my favorite TV actors, Michael J. Fox, appears in a small role.
I am sure I have overlooked many movies like The Manchurian Candidate (Frank Sinatra and Denzel Washington versions), and the Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis dud, The Campaign. So, please jump in and add your favorites!