With the US Presidential Election just around the corner, I have been rummaging through my DVD collection and beyond in search of a suitable batch of films to get me all excited about the forthcoming political slugfest. On Tuesday November 6th Mitt Romney will take on President Obama in what is shaping up to be one of the closest elections ever, and to prepare for what John Stewart bills ‘Democalypse 2012’ a marathon of vaguely election-related films are most certainly in order. So, after much deliberation (and a tad of boredom) I finally settled on the following five sort of electioney type movies that I happen to like or intend to watch for the first time because now I have an excuse.


1. The Campaign

Since the emergence of the trailer several months ago I was very excited about this conveniently-timed comedy starring Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis as two opposing candidates in a North Carolina election. Despite very high expectations the film delivers in practically every department and is one of the best comedies of the year. If you haven’t seen it yet I suggest you go immediately to your nearest cinema, because it will be enjoyed most when watched amidst real life election fever.


2. Election

This little underrated gem features Matthew Broderick as the well-intentioned teacher dragged into the scandalous world of high-school politics by superbitch Reese Witherspoon. Looking at the DVD covers and general promotional material it may be easy to think this is just another run-of-the-mill teen comedy drama, but don’t let this put you off because it is a great film, and it is currently on sale for £3 in HMV so you really have no reason not to buy it. Other top notch retailers are also available.


3. MilkSean Penn in Milk

Sean Penn gives an Oscar-winning performance in this biopic of California’s first openly gay politician elected to office. The film uses the political arena as a backdrop to explore the hostility faced by gay rights activists in the late twentieth century, both ideologically and legally, as they battled for equality. It is exactly the sort of film you expect from an Oscar-winning biopic, but it works. With a great cast and a solid script, why wouldn’t it make the list?


Efren Ramirez and Jon Heder in Napoleon Dynamite4. Napoleon Dynamite

One of those films you either love or hate with a passion, Napoleon Dynamite is one of the teen comedy canon, a must see for any film fan regardless of personal taste. Its eligibility as an election film is tenuous, but Pedro’s campaign for Class President creates a poignant underdog story within the film, which is itself less about challenging the social hierarchy than it is about coping with it. The film is at once realistic and utopian, and almost gives politics a heart. Almost.


5. Game ChangeJulianne Moore in Game Change

HBO’s Emmy-winning, crowd-pleasing, republican-roasting depiction of the McCain/Palin relationship and their failed bid for the White House. The only one on my list I am yet to watch, its relevance and commentary on the dark underbelly of American politics (I imagine) has persuaded me to save it for Election Day. Judging by HBO’s exceptional track record, I’m preparing to be blown away.