With movie theatres reopening, and then closing, and then who-knows-what, there is comfort in knowing that, thanks to streaming and video-on-demand, we can all program our own double (or triple, or quadruple) bills at home. Here are the best at-home cinema bets for this weekend’s pre-U.S. election viewing.
Team America: World Police, Netflix Whatever happens this coming Tuesday, expect the chaos exploding south of the border – mostly on the White House’s end of things – to only barely eclipse the craziness of Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s marionette masterpiece of America First triumphalism. While far from subtle, this gonzo political satire from the minds behind South Park neatly lays out a path to how the U.S. became the laughingstock of the world. Some bits from this 2004 epic have aged better than others – and certain elements, like almost everything involving North Korea, were dead on arrival – but there’s more bite to Team America than the entire 2016-2020 run of late-night American television.
The Interview, Netflix Speaking of Washington-Pyongyang grudge matches, this election weekend marks a fine time to revisit the Seth Rogen comedy that almost destroyed Hollywood and nearly brought about a Third World War. If you don’t remember the gory details of the infamous 2014 Sony hack, allegedly orchestrated by a North Korean regime incensed by the movie’s depiction of its leader as a womanizing liar, then don’t worry. Just enjoy Rogen and frequent partner-in-crime James Franco’s truly outre antics at the expense of both Barack Obama and Kim Jong-un.
Wag the Dog, Crave with Starz Flash back to the halcyon days of 1997, when mere affairs were the worst kind of scandal to hit the Oval Office and Robert De Niro had yet to monopolize movies with the word “Grandpa” in the title. Here, the Dirty Grandpa/War with Grandpa actor stars as a political fixer tasked with imagining a fake war to distract from real White House troubles, enlisting Dustin Hoffman’s slick filmmaker to help. At the time, director Barry Levinson’s comedy felt vicious and biting and way too far-fetched. Today, its provocations are positively quaint.
Election, Criterion Channel If director Alexander Payne and stars Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick were up for it, I could see the pair producing an Election sequel in which either Witherspoon or Broderick’s Election antiheroes were enlisted to help win Trump another shot at the White House. There will probably be no need for such a satire post-Nov. 3, so for now take the time to bask in Payne and Co.'s original dose of high-school-set political poison. Its ending still stings, two decades later.
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