After a seemingly endless election cycle, our long national inundation with political advertisements is almost over. Now all we can do is cast our votes and wait until around midnight or so for the major races to be called. Instead of watching an endless succession of pundits, political operatives and reporters give their analysis of an event they really can’t offer any real insight into, I purpose watching a few really good movies that came out this year that have nothing to do with this election.
If you found it impossible garish that Jay-Z changed the lyrics of “99 Problems” to reflect that while the rapper has a great number of problems, “Mitt ain’t one”, watch Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace’s stirring documentary about the last concert by Brooklyn band LCD Soundsystem, Shut Up and Play the Hits. The film is divided between footage of the band’s stunning last concert and an extended interview with noted novelist and pop culture journalist Chuck Klosterman. If you the Talking Heads, blue-eyed soul, Kraftwerk or have ever felt an overwhelming sense of regret about the mistakes of your past with solemn understanding that those mistakes have formed the person you are today, check out this year’s best concert film.
If you’ve found the liberal talking point that Obama has betrayed his ideology by authorizing drone strikes all across the world to be ridiculous childish, watch Gareth Evan’s rapturously violent The Raid: Redemption. The film follows an Indonesian SWAT on their mission to take down a powerful crime lord. This is not the kind of sanitized, bloodless action that’s been turned out by Hollywood since The Matrix made clean, emotionless violence the norm. This like is like a ‘80s John Woo starring Tony Jaa, with all the full-bodied bloodletting and bone snapping that description implies. Sometimes violence is the only answer.
If you’ve become quietly furious at the warmed over ‘90s teen movie zingers that have consumed a disproportionate amount of the electoral news cycle, go watch 21 Jump Street, a remake of the laughably self-serious ‘80s cop drama of the same name that has become the year’s comedy to beat. Subtly satirical of Michael Bay style action movie bombast and the wildly improbably premise of two obviously adult men (Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum) trying to infiltrate a modern high school, the film proved to be one of most unexpectedly funny movies of the year. From an Eminem loving Hill getting torn apart by a hilarious coiffed Tatum to the year’s best credits, Jump Street proves that one out of every fifty cash in remakes can be actually be worthwhile.
Finally, if you hate that what looks to be one of the year’s best films had its release date pushed back for political reasons watch the trailer for Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty. The Academy Award winning The Hurt Locker director’s next film has been pushed back until January, largely due to the accusations that was a partisan attempt to sway votes for President Obama because it depicts the hunt for Osama bin Laden. The fact that political muck racking has affected the release of what appears to be a fact based chronicle of one of the most important military actions of the last decade. Thankful, we have the film’s pulse pounding trailer to tide us over. If the film is half as good as its trailer, it’ll be the film of whatever year it’s finally released in.
Mario McKellop has written about film on Examiner for the last three years and can be reached directly at email@example.com