Overlooked Political Comedies

Jason Dick
Posted November 8, 2012 at 12:01am

We love feedback. Our HOH list of 12 recommended political comedies — 12 for ’12 — generated a fair amount of comments, including suggestions of films we overlooked. Because we always want to encourage readership, laughter and watching more movies, we offer the following list of additional political comedy flicks. Keep them coming!

The American President (1995)

Michael Douglas plays a widowed POTUS who falls for lobbyist Annette Bening. Official Washington tut-tuts. With Martin Sheen as the White House chief of staff and Aaron Sorkin writing the screenplay, the movie was kind of a dress rehearsal for what three years later would make Sorkin a household name: “The West Wing.” Walk and talk!

Being There (1979)

One reader pointed out that we missed “one of the best of all,” this gem by director Hal Ashby from Jerzy Kosinski’s satiric novel. Peter Sellers is a simple-minded gardener “whose words are treated as pearls of wisdom and who becomes a top political adviser” to the president. “Recommend you watch it,” the reader said. We agree. Tragically overlooked.

Duck Soup (1933)

Groucho Marx is named president/dictator of Freedonia, a country on the skids. He declares war on the border country of Sylvania for the love of a woman, and to give Chico, Harpo and Zeppo Marx a way into the plot.

Predator (1987)

Well, it’s not a comedy, at least not intentionally. But how did we overlook this one? Future California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger plays the leader of a commando team somewhere in a jungle on some kind of secret mission where they blow stuff up and become targets of an extraterrestrial killer who hunts them down for sport. Schwarzenegger’s team of heavy artillery-toting badasses includes future Minnesota Gov. Jesse “The Body” Ventura, who utters the movie’s most famous line, “I ain’t got time to bleed.” Ventura’s character didn’t make it out alive, but Ventura used that line as the title of his political autobiography.

Thank You For Smoking (2005)

We were thinking of saving this for some sort of Lobbying Movies You Love list but oh, well. Aaron Eckhart perfectly portrays a tobacco lobbyist who gets in over his head in Jason Reitman’s adaptation of Christopher Buckley’s pitch-black satire of how Washington, D.C., works.