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On Film: The Campaign Reel

Casting our votes for the best political movies



 



It’s tough to imagine how fiction could top the strangeness of the 2016 presidential campaign, but there is something to be said for politicking when the future of the free world isn’t at stake. We voted for some of our favorite political movies, and here’s our winning ticket.
 


The unwieldy title alone was boldly irreverent. Stanley Kubrick’s cyanide-dipped love letter to the Cold War and nuclear holocaust scaled new heights of black comedy. Dr. Strangelove (1964) also boasted some of the greatest comic performances of the Sixties, with Sterling Hayden and George C. Scott as pathologically gung-ho military generals and Peter Sellers brilliant in three roles.


No one will accuse Oliver Stone of excessive subtlety, but that’s a good thing. It’s his over-the-top aesthetic that makes Stone’s left-wing offerings so undeniably compelling. Nixon, released in 1995 and featuring a gamely miscast Anthony Hopkins as the embattled prez, is Shakespearean tragedy as imagined by someone in the throes of an acid trip.

Less successful is W. (2008), which finds Josh Brolin portraying George W. Bush as a well-meaning dunce. The picture isn’t particularly measured or even comprehensible, but as propaganda it is eminently watchable.



Jimmy Stewart is a small-town idealist taking on corruption in Congress – what’s not to love? Frank Capra’s populist fantasias were considered corny even in 1939 (hence the “Capra-corn” tag from some), but he knew it was a powerful antidote to cynicism. “What audiences respond to in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is the humanity of a man who cares about something and is fighting for it,” Capra said years later. “When they see somebody fight for an ideal, it will always get ‘em right here, in the stomach.”


Forget Matlock. Andy Griffith was never better than in this Elia Kazan-directed melodrama about an aw-shucks TV star whose celebrity catapults him into becoming a politically ambitious megalomaniac. Sounds far-fetched, huh? As Lonesome Rhodes, Griffith approximated a media monster that resonates today as much as it did for audiences in 1956.



A 1972 time capsule that has maintained relevance, The Candidate stars Robert Redford as an idealistic California activist who takes on the quixotic quest of unseating an incumbent U.S. senator. But Redford’s character jumps into the race with the expectation that he will lose, a catch that allows him to be totally honest. The screenplay earned an Oscar for Jeremy Larner, who had been a speechwriter for 1968 presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy.


Director Hal Ashby’s 1979 satire is peripherally about politics, but its observations of the political arena are sharp enough to draw blood. Peter Sellers is Chance, a simpleton gardener who has spent his entire life on the estate of a rich recluse. When he is forced out and into the cold, cruel world of Washington D.C., Chance’s childlike ignorance is mistaken for genius. Sellers’ Oscar-nominated performance is mesmerizing.



Director Mike Nichols and screenwriter Elaine May did justice to Primary Colors (1998), a bestselling novel and thinly veiled satire of Bill Clinton’s successful 1992 White House bid. John Travolta is fine as the philandering southern governor, with Emma Thompson his equal as a Hillary stand-in. The film remains a singularly incisive work about what we expect from our leaders.

Nichols struck electoral lightning again with Charlie Wilson’s War (2008), which starred Tom Hanks as an obscure Texas congressman who played a pivotal role in funding Afghan freedom fighters.


Back in 2009, shortly before Armando Iannucci created the giddily motor-mouthed and profane “Veep” for HBO, the British TV writer-director created this giddily motor-mouthed and profane comedy for the big screen. Peter Capaldi, Chris Addison and James Gandolfini lead a hilarious ensemble in this expansion of Iannucci’s BBC series, “The Thick of It.”



Otto Preminger’s 1962 potboiler about Washington D.C. wheeling and dealing has its flaws. The melodrama is often dated, particularly its depiction of homosexuality, but the gamesmanship of Beltway politics rarely was ever captured so well. And its sprawling cast — including Charles Laughton (especially memorable as a crafty southern senator), Henry Fonda, Walter Pidgeon and Franchot Tone — was extraordinary.


 

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Calendar

December 2019

October 4-December 29, 2019 Misunderstood! features poems and artworks ranging from 1894 to 2017. As these works demonstrate, Native artists and writers have grappled with the same...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
555 Elm Ave.
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Sponsor: Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
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200 Bass Pro Dr.
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Cost: Free

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Midtown
399 N.W. 10th St.
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
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Contact Name: Cleo Rajon

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Cost: $4-$6

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Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
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Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
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Cost: Free

Where:
Cabela's
1200 W. Memorial Rd.
Oklahoma City, OK  73114
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Sponsor: Cabela's
Telephone: (405) 546-3500
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Cost: Free

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OKC Farmers Market Venue
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Oklahoma City, OK  73108
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Sponsor: Revolve Productions
Telephone: 405-810-6977
Contact Name: Tobi Coleman
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Cost: $15.00

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Oklahoma City Community College Visual and Perform
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Cost: 29.95

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The Melting Pot
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Cost: $1

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7903 NW 30th St.
Bethany , OK
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Sponsor: Villages OKC
Telephone: 405-990-6637
Contact Name: Villages OKC
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October 4-December 29, 2019 Misunderstood! features poems and artworks ranging from 1894 to 2017. As these works demonstrate, Native artists and writers have grappled with the same...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
555 Elm Ave.
Norman, OK  73019
View map »


Sponsor: Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
Website »

More information

Santa’s Wonderland is the ultimate free family Christmas event. The magic returns to Bass Pro Shops and Oklahoma City-area families are invited to enjoy this enchanting Christmas village...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
200 Bass Pro Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops
Telephone: (405) 218-5200

More information

Whether it’s a pair of deer in the woods of Oklahoma, or the delicate points of a snowflake in Wisconsin, Maud photographer Sarah Rodefeld is patient and steady as she aims her lens. ...

Cost: $4-$6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

More information

Santa’s Wonderland is the ultimate free family Christmas event returning to Cabela’s this holiday season. Oklahoma City-area families are invited to enjoy this enchanting Christmas...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cabela's
1200 W. Memorial Rd.
Oklahoma City, OK  73114
View map »


Sponsor: Cabela's
Telephone: (405) 546-3500
Website »

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October 4-December 29, 2019 Misunderstood! features poems and artworks ranging from 1894 to 2017. As these works demonstrate, Native artists and writers have grappled with the same...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
555 Elm Ave.
Norman, OK  73019
View map »


Sponsor: Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
Website »

More information

Santa’s Wonderland is the ultimate free family Christmas event. The magic returns to Bass Pro Shops and Oklahoma City-area families are invited to enjoy this enchanting Christmas village...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
200 Bass Pro Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops
Telephone: (405) 218-5200

More information

Whether it’s a pair of deer in the woods of Oklahoma, or the delicate points of a snowflake in Wisconsin, Maud photographer Sarah Rodefeld is patient and steady as she aims her lens. ...

Cost: $4-$6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

More information

Santa’s Wonderland is the ultimate free family Christmas event returning to Cabela’s this holiday season. Oklahoma City-area families are invited to enjoy this enchanting Christmas...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cabela's
1200 W. Memorial Rd.
Oklahoma City, OK  73114
View map »


Sponsor: Cabela's
Telephone: (405) 546-3500
Website »

More information

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Santa’s Wonderland is the ultimate free family Christmas event. The magic returns to Bass Pro Shops and Oklahoma City-area families are invited to enjoy this enchanting Christmas village...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
200 Bass Pro Dr.
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View map »


Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops
Telephone: (405) 218-5200

More information

Whether it’s a pair of deer in the woods of Oklahoma, or the delicate points of a snowflake in Wisconsin, Maud photographer Sarah Rodefeld is patient and steady as she aims her lens. ...

Cost: $4-$6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

More information

October 4-December 29, 2019 Misunderstood! features poems and artworks ranging from 1894 to 2017. As these works demonstrate, Native artists and writers have grappled with the same...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
555 Elm Ave.
Norman, OK  73019
View map »


Sponsor: Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
Website »

More information

Santa’s Wonderland is the ultimate free family Christmas event returning to Cabela’s this holiday season. Oklahoma City-area families are invited to enjoy this enchanting Christmas...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cabela's
1200 W. Memorial Rd.
Oklahoma City, OK  73114
View map »


Sponsor: Cabela's
Telephone: (405) 546-3500
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Whether it’s a pair of deer in the woods of Oklahoma, or the delicate points of a snowflake in Wisconsin, Maud photographer Sarah Rodefeld is patient and steady as she aims her lens. ...

Cost: $4-$6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

More information

The Holiday Pop-Up Shops are coming back to Midtown! With shops rotating weekly, you can find a gift for everyone on your list. Join us to discover 35+ local shops, enjoy treats from Katiebug's...

Cost: Free

Where:
Midtown
399 N.W. 10th St.
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Contact Name: Cleo Rajon

More information

Santa’s Wonderland is the ultimate free family Christmas event. The magic returns to Bass Pro Shops and Oklahoma City-area families are invited to enjoy this enchanting Christmas village...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
200 Bass Pro Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops
Telephone: (405) 218-5200

More information

October 4-December 29, 2019 Misunderstood! features poems and artworks ranging from 1894 to 2017. As these works demonstrate, Native artists and writers have grappled with the same...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
555 Elm Ave.
Norman, OK  73019
View map »


Sponsor: Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
Website »

More information

Santa’s Wonderland is the ultimate free family Christmas event returning to Cabela’s this holiday season. Oklahoma City-area families are invited to enjoy this enchanting Christmas...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cabela's
1200 W. Memorial Rd.
Oklahoma City, OK  73114
View map »


Sponsor: Cabela's
Telephone: (405) 546-3500
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Yukon Community Center
2200 S. Holly Ave.
Yukon, OK  73099
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Sponsor: VillagesOKC
Telephone: 405-990-6637
Contact Name: VillagesOKC
Website »

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The American Spirit Dance Company, under the direction of Jo Rowan, presents Home for the Holidays, which has become a yearly tradition for families across the state and beyond, as the vision of...

Cost: 29

Where:
Kirkpatrick Aud.
2501 N. Blackwelder Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73016
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Sponsor: The Ann Lacy School of American Dance & Entertainment
Telephone: 405-208-4955
Contact Name: Danielle Shipley

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Santa’s Wonderland is the ultimate free family Christmas event. The magic returns to Bass Pro Shops and Oklahoma City-area families are invited to enjoy this enchanting Christmas village...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
200 Bass Pro Dr.
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View map »


Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops
Telephone: (405) 218-5200

More information

October 4-December 29, 2019 Misunderstood! features poems and artworks ranging from 1894 to 2017. As these works demonstrate, Native artists and writers have grappled with the same...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
555 Elm Ave.
Norman, OK  73019
View map »


Sponsor: Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
Website »

More information

The Holiday Pop-Up Shops are coming back to Midtown! With shops rotating weekly, you can find a gift for everyone on your list. Join us to discover 35+ local shops, enjoy treats from Katiebug's...

Cost: Free

Where:
Midtown
399 N.W. 10th St.
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Contact Name: Cleo Rajon

More information

Whether it’s a pair of deer in the woods of Oklahoma, or the delicate points of a snowflake in Wisconsin, Maud photographer Sarah Rodefeld is patient and steady as she aims her lens. ...

Cost: $4-$6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

More information

Santa’s Wonderland is the ultimate free family Christmas event returning to Cabela’s this holiday season. Oklahoma City-area families are invited to enjoy this enchanting Christmas...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cabela's
1200 W. Memorial Rd.
Oklahoma City, OK  73114
View map »


Sponsor: Cabela's
Telephone: (405) 546-3500
Website »

More information

The American Spirit Dance Company, under the direction of Jo Rowan, presents Home for the Holidays, which has become a yearly tradition for families across the state and beyond, as the vision of...

Cost: 29

Where:
Kirkpatrick Aud.
2501 N. Blackwelder Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73016
View map »


Sponsor: The Ann Lacy School of American Dance & Entertainment
Telephone: 405-208-4955
Contact Name: Danielle Shipley

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

October 4-December 29, 2019 Misunderstood! features poems and artworks ranging from 1894 to 2017. As these works demonstrate, Native artists and writers have grappled with the same...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
555 Elm Ave.
Norman, OK  73019
View map »


Sponsor: Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
Website »

More information

The Holiday Pop-Up Shops are coming back to Midtown! With shops rotating weekly, you can find a gift for everyone on your list. Join us to discover 35+ local shops, enjoy treats from Katiebug's...

Cost: Free

Where:
Midtown
399 N.W. 10th St.
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Contact Name: Cleo Rajon

More information

Whether it’s a pair of deer in the woods of Oklahoma, or the delicate points of a snowflake in Wisconsin, Maud photographer Sarah Rodefeld is patient and steady as she aims her lens. ...

Cost: $4-$6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

More information

Santa’s Wonderland is the ultimate free family Christmas event. The magic returns to Bass Pro Shops and Oklahoma City-area families are invited to enjoy this enchanting Christmas village...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
200 Bass Pro Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops
Telephone: (405) 218-5200

More information

Santa’s Wonderland is the ultimate free family Christmas event returning to Cabela’s this holiday season. Oklahoma City-area families are invited to enjoy this enchanting Christmas...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cabela's
1200 W. Memorial Rd.
Oklahoma City, OK  73114
View map »


Sponsor: Cabela's
Telephone: (405) 546-3500
Website »

More information

We're poppin' champagne on the patio this Saturday and raffling off a bottle of Perrier-Jouet valued at $300! Come pre-party with us and DJ Catherine Ouellette from 6pm-10pm -...

Cost: Free

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Sheraton Oklahoma City Downtown Hotel
1, N Broadway Ave
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More information

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Cost: $59.95

Where:
The Skirvin Hilton
1 Park Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: The Dinner Detective
Telephone: 866.496.0535
Website »

More information

The American Spirit Dance Company, under the direction of Jo Rowan, presents Home for the Holidays, which has become a yearly tradition for families across the state and beyond, as the vision of...

Cost: 29

Where:
Kirkpatrick Aud.
2501 N. Blackwelder Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73016
View map »


Sponsor: The Ann Lacy School of American Dance & Entertainment
Telephone: 405-208-4955
Contact Name: Danielle Shipley

More information

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