The end is nigh! After a year and a half of tumult, the endless election season is finally drawing to a close. If you’re burnt out on news coverage, stream these great election films and TV specials that poke fun at the political madness — or at least put the real-life drama into perspective.
1. Election (Hulu)
Pick Flick! This comedy about an overzealous candidate for high school class president (Reese Witherspoon) and the civics teacher determined to stop her (Matthew Broderick) became an instant classic when it was released in 1999.
2. Ides of March (Hulu)
George Clooney and Ryan Gosling head up this high-minded drama about the messy backdoor deals that create a complicated web of alliances during an election season.
3. Bulworth (Netflix)
A candidate with nothing to lose, who says whatever’s on his mind? Sounds familiar. This 1998 film cowritten by and starring Warren Beatty depicts what happens when a senator plots his own assassination and goes for broke on the campaign trail.
4. Triumph The Insult Comic Dog Election Specials (Hulu)
Ever the master of finding a topic “for [him] to poop on,” this longtime fixture of Conan O’Brien’s shows (voiced by Robert Smigel) skewers both sides of the 2016 election in three not-to-miss Hulu specials.
5. Wag the Dog (iTunes, $4 rental)
Ever since this idiom turned 1997 satire was released, it has been a go-to reference for political maneuverings by way of conveniently timed “news” dropping. In the film, a PR mastermind (Robert De Niro) and a Hollywood director (Dustin Hoffman) invent a fictional war in order to distract from their candidate’s messy sex scandal.
6. Game Change (HBO Now)
The only figures more entertaining than Sarah Palin herself are the actresses who have portrayed her. While Tina Fey’s folksy SNL impression made a splash in the 2008 election, it’s Julianne Moore’s nuanced portrayal in this 2012 drama that’s stunning to watch. Just check out this scene where she tries to pronounce “Saakashvili.”
7. An American President (iTunes, $4 rental)
Get a break from the drama with some romance in the oval office! This 1995 film features a widower president (Michael Douglas) and the lobbyist (Annette Bening) whose heart he tries to win, along with his reelection.
8. The Campaign (iTunes, $4 rental)
After years of impersonating George W. Bush on Saturday Night Live, Will Ferrell fit right in to this absurd 2012 election comedy in which his career politician, Cam Brady, goes head-to-head with naïve underdog Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis).
9. Primary Colors (Amazon Prime)
Inspired by Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign, this sharp comedy penned by Elaine May features John Travolta as a candidate who’s sure to win the presidency … until enemies exposing his affairs and special favors come out of the woodwork.
Expect to hear the most creatively foul insults ever lobbed in this satire about the behind-the-scenes negotiations between American and British political operatives, directed by Veep showrunner Armando Iannucci.
11. Milk (Amazon, $4 rental)
Get inspired with Sean Penn’s 2008 Oscar-winning portrayal of California’s first openly gay elected official, Harvey Milk, and his campaign to win a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in the 1970s.
12. The Candidate (Amazon Prime)
Hmm: In this 1972 film, a long-shot candidate (Robert Redford) subverts all expectations by winning voters with his total commitment to saying whatever he wants.
13. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (Amazon, $3 rental)
You can’t go wrong with a classic. The 1939 comedy-drama, starring Jimmy Stewart as an idealistic junior senator looking to pass a bill that’ll help his home state, is a film you can watch with anyone in your family — no matter what their political leanings may be.
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