# 5) Primary Colors. Though no fan of Clinton, I do love this thinly veiled fictionalization of Clinton on the campaign trail. We see how political ambition can turn a flawed though likable man to The Dark Side, so to speak. Kathy Bates' idealistic Libby Holden kills herself when she sees that Jack Stanton is not the same man she though he was; Jack's numerous infidelities kills the soul of his wife until she only concerned with his career; Larry Hagman's Fred Picker is a straight-shooting golden boy whose past catches up to him in an unjust way. In all, it is a picture of how ugly politics can be even when those involved aren't ugly to begin with.
# 4) A Face in the Crowd. This film was Andy Griffith's first big screen appearance, in which he played Lonesome Rhodes. Lonesome goes from a jail house interview to a down-home country radio personality. As he gains popularity Lonesome gains power, even attempting to manipulate a presidential election. Though Lonesome was corrupt to begin with, power only makes him worse until his very public downfall. This film explores very candidly the influence of media.
# 3) The Manchurian Candidate (1962 Version). Angela Lansbury's ambitious and calculating Mrs. Iselin still sends chills up my spine (especially when one compares Mrs. Iselin to grandmotherly amateur sleuth Jessica Fletcher). Apart from cold war thriller contrivances such as brain washing, The Manchurian Candidate shows that for some power is the only principle. It explores how the politics of fear can lead us right into the arms of those we fear most--a lesson we oughtn't forget.
# 2) V for Vendetta. I saw this film in the theater and last night re-watched it. Although when it came out, I really enjoyed the film, it somehow seems to have even more meaning to me now. The dystopic, totalitarian and homophobic UK depicted in the film is my worst nightmare. V attempts to remind the masses that governments can only oppress when its citizens are complacent. Now that I am accepting my sexuality and no longer turning a blind eye to the theocrats, this film about fighting for freedom is very poignant indeed.
and my all-time favorite...
# 1) Mister Smith Goes To Washington. Jimmy Stewart plays idealistic Jefferson Smith, a man accidentally thrust into a political world that is entirely alien to him. Corrupt political machines manipulate not only politicians but also entire constituencies. Eventually Jeff Smith must stand alone for what he believes in while his enemies perpetrate a character assassination. In the end, when Jeff collapses from exhaustion, we see finally that truth triumphs over evil. Perhaps Claude Rains' confession is a bit contrived, but sometimes it's nice just to feel good about things.