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Ten Deep 11.8.12: Top Ten Movie Elections
Posted by Mike Gorman on 11.08.2012

"Top Ten Movie Elections"

Well, another election day has come and go in the US. Whether your candidate was elected or not is irrelevant here at Ten Deep Central. Instead, let's focus on something that we can all agree on, the awesomeness of cinema!

This week in honor of the election I chose to focus on the very best elections and campaigns on film. I think some will be expected but perhaps a few surprises lie ahead.

10. The Campaign

This comedic take on a Southern Congressional campaign did not get the attention it deserved when it was in the theaters. Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis turn in hilarious performances that showcase their comedic timing as well as the absurdity of the situation they are in. Reality and comedy blur as this campaign gets underway.

Check out this "mock" political ad for Will Ferrell's Cam Brady. Seems a little bit too real, well until you get to the laser beams.

9. Black Sheep

In the Chris Farley classic, Black Sheep, there is an election at the heart of the story. Farley is not running for office but he may just end up being crucial for the victory of both sides.

Check out this clip from the film where Chris Farley gives you all the reasons you need to get out and vote.

8. Wag the Dog

In the comedic satire Wag the Dog, the machinations of the political machines that many conspiracy theorists believe to be real turn out to be just that. Is it possible that a candidate would fake a war to ensure their victory? That is the question at the heart of this one.

Here is a great scene from the film where we get to see how important perception is when it comes to shaping reality.

7. Man of the Year

Another overlooked gem, Man of the Year brings to life a poll worker's worst nightmare when an equipment malfunction leads to an unqualified but spirited man, Robin Williams, being elected president. The election is the catalyst for the events of the film which eventually becomes more about integrity and the process of government.

Watch this trailer and then go watch the whole film!

6. Napoleon Dynamite

There are a lot of quirky moments throughout this film as you well know if you have seen it but one of the quirkiest through-lines of all is Napoleon's push to get his friend Pedro elected class president. Without this subplot thousands of "Vote for Pedro" t-shirts would never have been made.

And here, of course, is the dance meant to inspire it all…

5. Primary Colors

Is it about Bill Clinton and his run for office? Quite possibly but that doesn't really matter. What does matter is the amazing performances given by the likes of John Travolta, Kathy Bates, and others. Travolta's charismatic candidate and Bates' old school campaign tactics craft some gripping drama and moments of hilarity.

Here Travolta's Jack Stanton delivers his most Clinton-esque moment, aside from the donuts.

4. Carrie

There is nowhere else in life where politics is more important than high school and that is extremely evident in Carrie. Here we see the political strategy of navigating the waters of popularity reach its purest crescendo when a prom queen must be elected. Of course in this instance the politics get very dirty and we see literally stuffing of the ballot box. The film delivers a clear message in the end that when it comes to elections, its best to play clean.

The film's climax is all about the prom and here it is in its entirety.

3. Milk

Milk is both an inspiring true story and an example of truly excellent cinema. It features some well crafted and framed storytelling peppered with outstanding performances. There are several elections in this film and each one is about the development of Harvey Milk from accidental activist to staunch politicians and champion of civil rights.

This clip is Milk's speech from the Gay Pride celebration that serves as a clarion call for those who must be ready to stand up for gay rights. Sean Penn delivers it with passion and skill.

2. The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

There was a recent remake of this film, and it was okay, but to appreciate the story fully you must go back to the original, as is often the case. Espionage and intrigue take center stage in this story of an election that is about so much more than political office. This tale of brainwashing and trust is a true suspense thriller.

This is evident in the excellent trailer below.

And lastly…

1. Election

With a title like Election, I think it was a given that this film would end up on this list but it was the performances by Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick that earned this dark comedy the top spot. It becomes very clear from the beginning of the film that there was much more at play here than just a simple high school election. Witherspoon's Tracy Flick is set to be seen as a cinematic icon for generations to come according to my assessment. See why in the clip below…

Did I leave out your favorite movie election? If so, don't stay a part of the silent majority! Use your voice and vote in the comments below.

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