Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Monday, November 4, 2013

Movie Review: Election

Okay so it's the day before election day and I oddly enough became invested in it so time to smack myself out of it with cynicism and black humor.

So on the surface Election sounds inconsequential telling the story of a high school election. And it would be if not for three things.

  1. The characters are all full of themselves and all could be described as tools.  
  2. They all take turns narrating so we the audience know exactly how delusional they are.
  3. Two of the characters take something that by all rights should be pretty meaningless (seriously no school ever grants the student council real power), and blow it up because of their own vices (see number one.)
Our male lead, Jim McAllister is played by Mathew Broderick. He's a teacher who absolutely loathes one of his students. 

Okay disclaimer this movie has a pedophilia plot that I will not touch with a 10 foot pole and in most viewings I ignore it completely because ew.  I will describe it briefly because all though the character won't admit it, it does serve as a motivation for some of his actions. The short of it is a friend of his had a thing with said student, was fired (it was before Penn State) and divorced, and he has some resentment over it. This is all back story happening about a year or two prior two the eponymous "election". It's also implied he has his own se... 10 foot pole. 

What makes him and his character interesting is he can't bring himself to admit that that is part of why he does a lot of what he does even though it's obvious to the audience. 

What makes this movie intriguing is that rather than making the student, Tracy Flick, played by Reese Witherspoon, a sympathetic victim, she is a self entitled let's go with tool.  Again the movie goes out of the way to get in her head so we see exactly how entitled and arrogant she is.  The movie takes bit to pull the switcharoo on her, mostly in explaining both her and McAllister's back-story but it's not long before it gets there.

The plot starts as Tracy is running unopposed for class president. Hating her guts, and rationalizing it out as nobody should run unopposed, McAllister encourages Paul Metzler to run against her. Part of me wants to say that the older Metler is probably the only "good" character in this thing except he is too dumb to realize when he's being used. And that's the point of most of his narration, a generally good guy who unlike the audience isn't savvy enough to realize all the other characters are jerks, and are using him in their own schemes. In a way that making him just as bad as them.

Up until now what linked all the characters was an inability and deal with the harsh truth of thier worlds.

If McAllister had it in him to just admit, "Hey I don't like this person" the plot probably woudn't happen. That and there is that unhappy sex life of his. 

Tracy views herself as a paragon and can't deal with her own vices. Reese is playing Flick as a non-violent sociopath.

And Paul is naivety incarnate. You need a mope to help you with your nefarious plan. Paul is your man. Oh God I've been in election mode too long. 

Except Tammy Metzler. Who has issues but is self aware enough that both the entire school and I was behind her.  She knows why she's running. Sibling rivalry, a bad break up, and sexual identity issues. Tammy's female ex uses Paul's happy place as a way to get back at her when Tammy starts to show affection openly.

Out of all of them Tammy is the only character who is upfront about to not really caring about the election itself telling the electorate not to vote. 

On the one hand everybody should... bbla bla bala use your bladie bla. Every vote bla bla bla bla (Electoral college, gerrymandering, soft money, media polarization, decline of investigative and local journalism,)

On the other when your choices are an impotent douche and a powerless turd whoppdee frickin' do.

And if I go any further with plot I'll start talking about the point where all the self-delusions start breaking down and things get real.  And well that is the fun part.  I am an evil evil bastard. Eh black comedy. I really have been meaning to do a review of Drop Dead Gorgeous.

All of that said the comeuppance parts are hilarious.  Karma is a bitch.

Okay look I have a very twisted sense humor, but if a movie where a guy has extramarital sex in front of a baby is too much for you you might want to pass on this one.

But on the other hand if you can imagine God as Bugs playing piano give this one a try.

You know I think he wanted Adam to eat that apple. Munch. Munch. Kaboom!

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