Archives for posts with tag: Matthew Broderick

It’s said that we get the democracy we deserve. If you watch “Election” (1999), you get the movie you deserve. If you just want to chuckle at the haplessness of how one student government go-getter (Reese Witherspoon) triggers a series of life-changing events, go ahead and enjoy this well-crafted dark comedy. But if you want to dig deeper, heaven help you, because this film’s an invitation down a rabbit hole of issues. Ethics, morals, sexism, human frailty, competing American values of doing whatever it takes to win versus winning “the right way” (whatever that means), there’s gracious plenty to ponder.

If Mr. Wizard had been a Quinn Martin Production, it would have been “The American Side” (2016). Filmed in modern-day Buffalo but layered in 1970s TV detective show grit – right down to the vinyl-roofed 1973 Dodge Dart Swinger the protagonist drives – this film tries very, very hard to be cool without looking like it. It’s the movie version of the dude that spends 45 minutes on his carefree-looking hairstyle. It’s knockoff Members Only jackets, strippers and photographic blackmail versus electroshock therapy, death rays and secrets hidden in the waters around Niagara Falls. Whodunit? Done what? The murder or the scientific theory?

At the height of the Cold War, there were a bunch of mainstream movies that came out bearing pacifist messages. “War Games” (1983) might have been the best of them, for many reasons. The then-implausible plot that an AI computer program, accidentally activated by a hacker, could take the world to the brink of nuclear annihilation, becomes more plausible every day. And it stars Ferris Bueller! And Ally Sheedy co-stars as the girl in your English class you never had the guts to ask out. And Dabney Coleman! And two dudes play essentially a young Bill Gates and Paul Allen.