Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Top 5 Tuesdays (T5T) Gets Political

I'm not one for real politics, but movie politics? Sign me up. Real political corruption makes me angry, but movie political corruption? Seconds please. I'm a political junkie. Straight up. All of the things that frustrate and scare me with real politics makes for riveting drama on the big screen. And yes I know it's only September, but if I waited until November for this post, you all would be so sick of politics that you would have nothing to do with this post.

So give me your top 5 political movies. Here are mine in no particular order.

1. All The Presidents Men I know, I know. I'm really going out on a limb here. You can't even wrap your head around this movie because you have no knowledge of it until right now.

2. Power Richard Gere with drumsticks and Gene Hackman with a flower on his lapel. This is an oft overlooked Lumet great.

3. Primary Colors Travolta is not without a couple of great performances. This is one of them. And Billy Bob Thornton as crazy Carville is a gem.

4. Escape From New York
I ask you, is there any more politically charged movie than this one? Wold peace hangs in the balance and it's up to Snake Plissken to save us all.

5. Mr. Smith Goes To Washington
This is the way we wish it were. And we all wish our politicians were as tall, handsome and kind as Jimmy Stewart.


Megan said...

I knew this one was coming, I knew it!

The Candidate
Seven Days in May

and agreed 100% on Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Fox said...

Eww... good choice this week Piper!

1. State of the Union
2. Team America : World Police
3. Secret Honor
4. Barcelona
5. Good Morning, Night

J.D. said...

Oliver Stone's NIXON is definitely one of my all-time faves with an all-star cast and a blistering performance by Anthony Hopkins.

NO WAY OUT is a really exciting political thriller with a deliciously slimy turn by Gene Hackman.

Paul Schrader's recent film THE WALKER I thought was pretty good and provided fascinating insight into an area of Capitol Hill that I hadn't seen before.

Another top notch political thriller is THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER. The whole world hangs in the balance as a rogue Russian Subcommander is on the loose. Will he defect or nuke the US of A? Good stuff.

Marilyn said...

In no particular order:

1. Secret Honor
2. Gabriel Over the White House (a truly bizarre film that has to be seen to be believed)
3. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
4. Z
5. A Man for All Seasons

Lots of others I like, including a lot of documentaries.

Fox said...

J.D. -

I'm glad you brought up The Walker. That movie stayed in my head awhile after I saw it. I'd classify it as one that I couldn't make up my mind about.

... and seeing that I'm at a loss for words as to what else to say about it, that appears to still be the case!

Marilyn said...

I thought The Walker was a near miss. The characters are basically so shallow that it's hard to get up any steam for or against them. Paul Schrader just doesn't have a very good track record as a director; he doesn't seem to know how to motivate scenes properly.

Piper said...


Team America is a nice choice.


I think we've had this conversation before, but I still want to watch Secret Honor.

Alright, I'll say it since no one else has. How about a little True Colors with Spader and Cusack?

And damn, I'm a sucker for The American President. I shouldn't be, but it's one of those movies that whenever it's on TV, I cannot pass.

Fletch said...

Mmm. Wold peace.

Does Spies Like Us count? ;)

Annie Ha said...


All The President's Men

The American President (agreed that it shouldn't be, but it still is)

The Manchurian Candidate

The Day of the Jackal (this one is kinda stretching the theme a bit, but too bad.)

Anil Usumezbas said...

01. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love The Bomb
02. Schindler's List
03. Good Night and Good Luck
04. Brazil
05. V For Vendetta

and some more

06. Battle of Algiers (La Battaglia di Algeri)
07. Lawrance of Arabia
08.Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen)
09.The Grapes of Wrath
10.Judgement at Nuremberg

Fox said...


I agree with your assessment of Schrader as director. I've always pulled for the guy, but as you put so well, he can never seem to get over the hump to make a great film.

Having said that, Blue Collar, Hardcore and Light of Day are still pleasures of mine.

J.D. said...


As for the shallow criticism of THE WALKER... yeah, I can see your point but I think that the only character that really matters is Harrelson's and we get to know him pretty well... well enough, I thought, to care about what happens to him.

I think that Schrader is just fine as a director. Not world class but he's made some keepers. I think that LIGHT SLEEP is probably my fave of his and he draws some fantastic performances out of his cast, esp. Willem Dafoe. We really get under the skin of his character.

Joseph B. said...

How about three damn fine documentaries on the politcal process, one TV show and a movie:

1. The War Room
2. Our Brand Is Crisis (complex and mind numbing at times, fascinating and horrifying the next)
3. The Last Party (yep, Downey Jr.)
4. The Wire Season 4- for the political campaign of Thomas Carcetti and one of the most realistic representations of the campaign trail I can imagine
5. All the President's Men

Marilyn said...

j.d. - You're right about Harrelson's character, but when the film veers off into conspiracy land, we lose focus of the social drama that I saw as the guts of the film. All that stuff about his father and Watergate was so extraneous. Carr did what he did out of friendship. Schrader just couldn't be satisfied with an intimate script and movie.

Anonymous said...

All The President's Men is in a league all its own. For that reason, it's the only one on my list.

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