We start the Top 7. You finish the Top 10.
We live in a country where pop culture is king (or queen). More people find themselves tuned into who's on American Idol than who's in the Senate. But what happens when pop culture and politics collide?
You've got your political dramas, your political thrillers, and everything in between. In honor of this week's The Ides of March, we're going to take a look at some of the more memorable political figures that have graced the silver screen. Just remember, any political office is fair game.
TOP 7 Movie Politicians I'd Vote For
7. Primary Colors (1998)
Recap: Governor Jack Stanton (John Travolta) is the kind of character who’s got it all. He’s got charm. He’s got sex appeal. But much like the rest of us, he’s got his demons too. Based on real-life president Bill Clinton, Primary Colors follows the presidential hopeful in a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the nominee’s personal life. Reason: Who amongst us hasn’t fallen for someone’s charms before? I’m not saying that the man is a role model by any means, but when it comes to politics, he's got it figured out. When he’s on the campaign trail, Jack is all smiles and kissing babies. Now what he does behind closed doors, that’s a different story. But the fact of the matter is the man has got that down home charm that would easily win me over at the primaries. Plus, like Clinton, Stanton might be good at his elected office... if he can keep it in his pants long enough.
6. The American President (1995)
Recap: President Andrew Shepard (Michael Douglas) is a widowed father whose political ambitions and position prevent him from having much of a life outside the office. All of this changes when he meets a lobbyist (Annette Bening) with whom he begins to fall in love. By the end, Shepard finds himself questioning which is more important, his political ambitions or the woman he loves? Reason: This may seem like an odd choice because the movie is more about the romance than it is about politics, but something about Douglas as the Commander-in-Chief is striking. What manages to get President Shepard on the list isn’t his political stance on the national budget or foreign affairs. It’s that he is a President that isn’t afraid to have a heart. It shows a side to political figures that we so rarely get to see, but in the end, politics be damned, Shepard makes the list for his whirlwind romance.
5. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
Recap: A wholesome young man (Jimmy Stewart) is forced to overcome the odds when he is appointed to the Senate by political bosses that want to use him to their own ends. However, Mr. Smith has the courage of his convictions and right on his side, both of which he uses to combat the political machine. Reason: It’s difficult to describe how I feel about Mr. Smith. Smith is almost too wholesome, to the point of it being difficult for me to believe that such a man could exist. Then again, it is a movie. He deserves credit where credit is due, but the political villains of the movie aren’t entirely wrong. He might not have enough of a reputation or enough footing to get things done. Still, for what it’s worth, the man has the courage of his convictions and never seems to quit. In the end, that’s the most important part.
4. The Contender (2000)
Recap:A vice-presidential nominee (Joan Allen) has her future threatened when she is haunted by her supposed past. Rumors of her sexual escapades abound and in the end, she is torn whether to get caught in the lying game or refuse to comment. Reason: Senator Hansen may seem like an odd choice. Here you have a disgraced political figure who refuses to fight back when her character is assaulted. Why, then, does she make fourth place on my TOP 7? Because she refuses to fight back. She has the strength to gamble her political future based on her concept of right. She knows what she has and has not done. It has in no way affected her political abilities. Why should she comment? Her faith in herself and her commitment to integrity make her a winning candidate in my book.
3. Dave (1993)
Recap: After an embarrassing incident leaves the current Commander-in-Chief (Kevin Kline) unfit to lead, his campaign hires another man (also Kline) to play the part. However, the President’s administration attempts to manipulate the double, only to be surprised by the fact that everyman Dave has a few plans of his own. Reason: Once again, charm will get you far. Let’s be honest, Dave is an unlikely candidate, but that doesn’t mean that he isn’t a damn good one. Not only does he have charm, but he’s got compassion and this raw charisma that we don’t see in a lot of political leaders. In the end, that’s what pushes Dave so far up on the list. His commitment to his own values and helping others is both unlikely in real life and refreshing to see.
2. Air Force One (1997)
Recap: The President (Harrison Ford) is forced to protect his family and a plane full of people when his plane is hijacked by terrorists. He uses his former military training to take down the terrorists while they hold his daughter and wife hostage. Reason: Listen, I know what I said before. I do like the idea of a president that has feelings like President Shepard or Dave. That doesn’t mean that I don’t love the idea of a President who can fight back. Despite the alarmingly conservative politics of the movie, Air Force One showcases a side of the President we never get to see, both in real life or in the movies. What it boils down to is, not only does President Marshall show that he’s a man of his word (just check out his zero-tolerance policy on negotiating with terrorists) but he’s pretty much a presidential badass. What’s not to love?
1. Bulworth (1998)
Recap:: When Senator Bulworth (Warren Beatty) is facing all but certain political and financial ruin, he takes the opportunity to put a hit out on himself. With the time that he’s got left, he uses his political position to start telling the truth for once. Reason: Okay, there might be one slight thing I left out of the Bulworth recap... he begins to tell the truth through hip hop. Yes, you read that right. Warren Beatty and a beat box. If that doesn’t sell you on it, let's go back to the concept of a politician telling the truth? I know it’s nothing new to the world of movies (I still have my doubts about its frequency in real life) but Bulworth taps into something else too. It isn’t just about honesty. It’s brutal honesty. This is a man with nothing left to lose and nothing left to hide. Sure, the mental stability of a guy who would put a hit out on himself is somewhat questionable, but his realism and his policies are enough to win me over.