Special Election Day 2008 Double Feature

It’s Election Day, and just about every website I frequent has reminders up that you need to do your civic duty and go cast your vote. While I definitely agree that is important (and possibly more important in this election than previous others), Election Day is a pretty miserable thing as far as entertainment goes. News will pre-empt most programming tonight to analyze every state’s voting in critical detail. Of course, thanks to the massive mistake that was the 2000 election, nobody will feel confident in making an early prediction on the winner, resulting in programming that’s really only of interest to heavy duty political analysts.

So why put yourself through hours of analysis when a winner won’t be predicted for quite a while? Instead, throw in a couple of movies and give yourself a special Election Night Double Feature with two movies that allow you to remain politically focused, but entertained at the same time.


Okay, maybe Election’s scope is a little smaller than the national elections going on today. After all, the movie’s story is involved with elections in a high school. But that doesn’t mean the movie isn’t just as relevant, especially when you look at the over-the-top dirty campaigning in the movie, the idea of the puppeteers behind the scenes who are actually pulling the campaign strings, and the dawning realization throughout the movie that no matter who wins, there are plenty of losers in this election. The movie really came forward as Reese Witherspoon’s career took off, but I think the real talent in the movie is another fantastic performance from Matthew Broderick as the frustrated, revenge-driven civics teacher who attempts to mastermind the whole election and winds up having just about everything backfire on him.

Being There

There’s been a lot of rhetoric thrown around throughout this year’s election and sometimes it’s nice to have a reminder that even the simplest statements can wind up having deep meaning associated with them. Being There is that constant reminder on film. Most people know Peter Sellers from his Pink Panther movies or Dr. Strangelove, but the actor’s best performance was undeniably that of Chauncey Gardner, a simple man who was mistaken for so much more. Although it’s a brilliantly underplayed comedy, I think the real message here is that we need to listen to what’s being said in our political rhetoric and figure out what our political figures are really saying and not just associate our own meaning to it. After all, sometimes a gardener is just a gardener and not an extended metaphor.

Other election day stories: Fortunately this year’s campaign didn’t get to Bullworth or Primary Colors territory, but it could have. Conspiracy theorists may enjoy revisiting Wag the Dog or see Dave as a reminder that the president we elect may not be who we wind up with. Those who want to remember change we wanted to believe in should check out Bobby. Finally, if you just want the political setting but very little to do with actual politics, check out Man of the People, which isn’t the story it was advertised as.

Enjoy our Double Feature suggestions? and maybe we’ll use them in a future column.