"The Candidate" is a film that is specifically about how elections really have very little to do with what the winning candidate does while in office ends and with a famous line that is actually more relevant now than ever: "What do we do now?" You can argue about the relative merits of sequels in general, but if ever a truly great movie deserved a sequel it is "The Candidate." A quick review reveals that most Hollywood movies about elections fail to follow-up on what the winner does now. Until that sequel arrives, you'll have to be satisfied with these rare films that actually tell the story of what happens following the transformation from candidate to office holder.
Based on the real life story of one of the last politicians in America that I could look at as possessing a little bit of heroism, "Milk" actually kind of separates itself into half as the story of a candidate who continually loses and a story of what happens when he finally wins. Both parts of Harvey Milk's story are equally fascinating, made all the more palpable by Sean Penn's performance that is a genuine and authentic characterization rather than mere impersonation.
The non-linear structure of Oliver Stone's shockingly tepid take on the Presidency of George W. Bush is light on the election itself, but heavy on the events leading up to that abomination and the disaster that befell the country in its wake. While Stone was clearly not at the top of his game, Josh Brolin, Richard Dreyfuss and Jeffrey Wright all turn in some of the best performances of their respective careers as Bush, Dick Cheney and Colin Powell in "W."
The Great McGinty
The Republicans alleged fear of alleged widespread voter fraud looks even more pathetic and ridiculous when compared to the circumstances portrayed in "The Great McGinty" that were in based on a long tradition of urban political machines. A bum who shows some initiative by voting 37 times in an election completely rigged from the get-go. What the story of the rise and fall of a politician that is told in "The Great McGinty" succeeds in doing best these days is reminding us that as horrific as the election process is today, there is no escaping that it used to be one whole heck of a lot worse. The plot takes a turn toward the unbelievable in today's political climate when the crooked bum circuitously makes his way to becoming a mayor with a conscience.
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