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Film Page: The Pathetic Charade of Elections

January 8, 2006

Films on Liberty and the State

Election (1999)

This bleak, black (and very funny) comedy has many targets but, as the title suggests, democratic politics is a chief one. Our great electoral exercises are here lampooned by focussing on elections for that most meaningless of positions: high school student president. The earnest seriousness of the usual contestants and the nearly religious significance of the civic duty are eviscerated when Tammy (Jessica Campbell) runs on a lark. Her rousing speech to the student assembly would make the film worth it even if it wasn't brilliant otherwise:
Who cares about this stupid election? We all know it doesn't matter who gets elected president of Carver. Do you really think it's gonna change anything around here, make one single person smarter or happier or nicer? The only person it does matter to is the one who gets elected. The same pathetic charade happens every year, and everyone makes the same pathetic promises just so they can put it on their transcripts to get into college.
So vote for me because I don't even wanna go to college, and I don't care. And as president, I won't do anything. The only promise I will make is that, if elected, I will immediately dismantle the student government so that none of us will ever have to sit through one of these stupid assemblies again!
[Loud cheering]
Or don't vote for me! Who cares?! Don't vote at all!!
[Cheering] [Standing ovation]
Rated R for sexual themes & situations, profanity. See this review.

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