904 Election

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
Message
Author
User avatar
hearthesilence
Posts: 4192
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 am
Location: NYC

Re: Election (Alexander Payne, 1999)

#26 Post by hearthesilence » Sat May 04, 2013 8:14 am

I watched this too! Couldn't resist after all the police video of Witherspoon's arrest leaked - sweet Jesus, I guess Tracy Flick isn't really a stretch for her. I think Payne's films are generally good, but this is my favorite and for my money his best. I hadn't seen it in a few years, but I feel like all of his subsequent multi-Oscar-nominated films really flow back to this one. The ideas, the roots of certain characters, behavioral patterns, etc. it all comes back to here. I wonder if the setting (juvenile adolescents in high school) may be a more palatable context for his usual themes - I'm a little mixed on Payne - and a big reason why I prefer this over his other films?

Also, the Blu-Ray looked surprisingly solid, especially after watching some BD's of other films known more for their cinematography. It's not a postcard film, but all the grain and detail looked intact.

User avatar
Lowry_Sam
Posts: 637
Joined: Mon Jul 05, 2010 3:35 pm
Location: San Francisco, CA

Re: Election (Alexander Payne, 1999)

#27 Post by Lowry_Sam » Sat May 04, 2013 12:07 pm

I just watched this recently & was extremely impressed with it, along with some other must-see high shool movies. I hated the high school movies that came out when I was in high school ( Porky's, St. Elmo's Fire & all the John Hughes movies), which led me to ignore the 2 decent ones that came out (Fast Times At Ridgemont High & Heathers). So it's nice to see that while the rest of Hollywood's output has gone down the tubes since 1980, the maligned subgenre of the high school flick has generated a few half decent films (w/ Romy & Michele's High School Reunion and Clueless being 2 more thoroughly enjoyable ones).

User avatar
wigwam
Posts: 114
Joined: Mon May 07, 2012 11:30 am

Re: Election (Alexander Payne, 1999)

#28 Post by wigwam » Sat May 04, 2013 4:19 pm

This one seems atypical of just a "high school movie" but I think I know what you mean and would recommend you Can't Hardly Wait and Mean Girls

User avatar
Lowry_Sam
Posts: 637
Joined: Mon Jul 05, 2010 3:35 pm
Location: San Francisco, CA

Re: Election (Alexander Payne, 1999)

#29 Post by Lowry_Sam » Sat May 04, 2013 9:02 pm

wigwam wrote:This one seems atypical of just a "high school movie" but I think I know what you mean and would recommend you Can't Hardly Wait and Mean Girls
I've been avoiding Mean Girls because the preview made it look like a lesser Clueless (& because it has Lindsay Lohan in it).

User avatar
Drucker
Posts: 4088
Joined: Wed May 18, 2011 9:37 am

Re: Election (Alexander Payne, 1999)

#30 Post by Drucker » Sat May 04, 2013 9:40 pm

Lowry_Sam wrote:
wigwam wrote:This one seems atypical of just a "high school movie" but I think I know what you mean and would recommend you Can't Hardly Wait and Mean Girls
I've been avoiding Mean Girls because the preview made it look like a lesser Clueless (& because it has Lindsay Lohan in it).
Mean Girls is a very fun and occasionally even great movie. The near-ending nearly ruins it for me, but it's certainly not a wretched movie.

User avatar
flyonthewall2983
Posts: 8675
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Indiana
Contact:

Re: Election (Alexander Payne, 1999)

#31 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Sat May 04, 2013 11:31 pm

Lowry_Sam wrote:I hated the high school movies that came out when I was in high school (Porky's, St. Elmo's Fire & all the John Hughes movies), which led me to ignore the 2 decent ones that came out (Fast Times At Ridgemont High & Heathers).
I can relate, as I didn't care much for the American Pie movies and it's ilk for similar reasons. But have you revisited The Breakfast Club? For all it's 80's-shenanigans it holds up in places. And "Don't You Forget About Me" is probably on my short-list of greatest movie songs ever.

User avatar
Michael Kerpan
Posts: 7344
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:20 pm
Location: New England
Contact:

Re: Election (Alexander Payne, 1999)

#32 Post by Michael Kerpan » Wed Apr 23, 2014 11:00 am

I finally saw this -- and while I didn't quite dislike it, I found it quite disappointing. I felt this was mostly pretty mean-spirited, but not in an expecially interesting way. The only character I found interesting (and convincing) was the football player's younger sister (played by Tulsa native Jessica Campbell -- who seems to have quit show business pretty quickly). There were scattered good lines, but I found the plot pretty ridiculous -- and the cinematography almost uniformly uninteresting.

Not much resemblance to Nebraska (which was something I was - perhaps unreasonably - hoping to find).

User avatar
Gregory
Posts: 5291
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 4:07 pm

Re: Election (Alexander Payne, 1999)

#33 Post by Gregory » Wed Apr 23, 2014 12:24 pm

But it was filmed at a real Nebraska high school in a suburb of Omaha, with a lot of other area locations used as well. The resemblance seemed pretty good to me.

As for characters or performances that don't seem convincingly real, I thought that was intentional, to make it into a satire of the political process—adding an element of the farcical to actual events that inspired the story. The plot seems believable to me, considering that one of the inspirations for the original novel was a school election in Eau Claire, WI. Not only was the outcome of the election rigged to avoid the shame of a pregnant Homecoming Queen, but the ballots were actually burned, and the principal had to resign when the fraud was exposed.

User avatar
Michael Kerpan
Posts: 7344
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:20 pm
Location: New England
Contact:

Re: Election (Alexander Payne, 1999)

#34 Post by Michael Kerpan » Wed Apr 23, 2014 1:06 pm

To tell the truth -- had this been visually interesting, I probably would have cut Election more slack. But it really looked TV-esque in technique (except for the format). And I found it, at most, no more than sporadically moderately funny.

And I really did not like Reese Witherspoon's performance.

This is a film I was _expecting_ to like -- too bad it didn't turn out that way.

I frequently find that films based on real events are not believable. ;~}

User avatar
hearthesilence
Posts: 4192
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 am
Location: NYC

Re: Election (Alexander Payne, 1999)

#35 Post by hearthesilence » Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:18 am

I actually like this a lot more than Payne's other films, it's a brutal spot-on satire, and unlike every other film he's made, he doesn't undermine it with any incongruous sappy sentimentality. (He came close though - an alternate ending was leaked not too long ago, and it involved Broderick and Witherspoon having a heart-to-heart talk after he runs into her in the future.)

User avatar
Michael Kerpan
Posts: 7344
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:20 pm
Location: New England
Contact:

Re: Election (Alexander Payne, 1999)

#36 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu Apr 24, 2014 10:13 am

What is this supposed to be "satirizing"? High school student council elections are a pretty trivial target -- and I don't see much applicability to anything more "global".

I'll take something like Bunuel's "Susana" any day.

(The alternate ending would have been ridiculous).

Disclosure statement: Around this time 45 years ago, I was running for student council president. A pretty nice (loopy) high school film could probably have been made out of that election. I did not win -- and never expected to win. Mostly, I had lots of fun running as a "protest" candidate. Sadly, the person who did win committed suicide a decade or so ago.

User avatar
hearthesilence
Posts: 4192
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 am
Location: NYC

Re: Election (Alexander Payne, 1999)

#37 Post by hearthesilence » Thu Apr 24, 2014 10:59 am

Michael Kerpan wrote:High school student council elections are a pretty trivial target.
True, but I never thought of it as the film's target, just the context.

User avatar
Michael Kerpan
Posts: 7344
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:20 pm
Location: New England
Contact:

Re: Election (Alexander Payne, 1999)

#38 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu Apr 24, 2014 11:20 am

At least as I see satire, it needs to have _some_ sort of target.

In any event, I do now realize that a part of the reason this film didn't work for me is that my real life experience (which I hadn't thought of for ages) was a LOT more interesting and entertaining than anything in this film (and the people involved were a lot more interesting as well). ;~}

User avatar
hearthesilence
Posts: 4192
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 am
Location: NYC

Re: Election (Alexander Payne, 1999)

#39 Post by hearthesilence » Thu Apr 24, 2014 1:50 pm

I only said high school wasn't the target - broadly interpreting that as saying they weren't aiming at anything is very poor logic.

User avatar
Michael Kerpan
Posts: 7344
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:20 pm
Location: New England
Contact:

Re: Election (Alexander Payne, 1999)

#40 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu Apr 24, 2014 1:54 pm

hearthesilence wrote:I only said high school wasn't the target - broadly interpreting that as saying they weren't aiming at anything is very poor logic.
But I asked about what it WAS targeted at (in your opinion) -- as I didn't see any target other than the ostensible one.

User avatar
swo17
Posts: 13547
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

Re: Election (Alexander Payne, 1999)

#41 Post by swo17 » Thu Apr 24, 2014 1:57 pm

I'd say the target is people in low positions of power who begin to take themselves too seriously. I can see why the film wouldn't necessarily appeal to a fan of the much more warm-hearted Nebraska, and I didn't think much of it at first either, though I've since come around to it.

User avatar
aox
Posts: 2395
Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2008 12:02 pm
Location: nYc

Re: Election (Alexander Payne, 1999)

#42 Post by aox » Thu Apr 24, 2014 1:59 pm

I believe the target is elections in general. It shows exactly the kind of people who go into politics. It's deliciously cynical.

User avatar
Michael Kerpan
Posts: 7344
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:20 pm
Location: New England
Contact:

Re: Election (Alexander Payne, 1999)

#43 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu Apr 24, 2014 2:15 pm

Viridiana is pretty savage, taken as a whole -- yet Bunuel makes it possible for us to take his main characters seriously and care about them. Payne does nothing of the sort here. Perhaps if someone more capable than Witherspoon had been featured, it would have worked better (for me). But the script also strikes me as pretty unfocused and the direction rather sloppy. The speeded up setting of the assignation struck me as simply lame and unaesthetic -- not to mention the ridiculousness of giving of a period-long, unmonitored "pop quiz" (during which the class did not almost immediately plunge into chaos).

I guess I expect comedy to be more meticulous (as Nebraska was -- and Lloyd was and Keaton was, etc). This was not excuted as well as a _lesser_ Laurel and Hardy short.

aox -- the only "politician" here is Reese W's character -- and that character is really too uninteresting to sustain a film. This is like a passable short skit that mushroomed way out of control.

User avatar
Roger Ryan
Posts: 1892
Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2010 12:04 pm
Location: A Midland town spread and darkened into a city

Re: Election (Alexander Payne, 1999)

#44 Post by Roger Ryan » Thu Apr 24, 2014 4:29 pm

For me, ELECTION is all about Matthew Broderick who gives a wonderfully comic performance here. His character arc, starting as a cool, self-possessed dullard and ending as an insecure, trampled loser, is what brings me back to the film time and again.

User avatar
thirtyframesasecond
Posts: 1017
Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2007 1:48 pm

Re: Election (Alexander Payne, 1999)

#45 Post by thirtyframesasecond » Sat Apr 26, 2014 2:50 pm

Roger Ryan wrote:For me, ELECTION is all about Matthew Broderick who gives a wonderfully comic performance here. His character arc, starting as a cool, self-possessed dullard and ending as an insecure, trampled loser, is what brings me back to the film time and again.
And the ironic casting of Ferris Bueller, nemesis of stuck up teachers everywhere is a masterstroke.

User avatar
Michael Kerpan
Posts: 7344
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:20 pm
Location: New England
Contact:

Re: Election (Alexander Payne, 1999)

#46 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sat Apr 26, 2014 5:03 pm

I wasn't as enamored by Broderick's performance as others (maybe because I never saw Ferris Bueller), but even had I loved it -- I don't think I would have found it sufficient to make up for the movie's other deficits.

AnamorphicWidescreen
Posts: 142
Joined: Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:21 am

Re: Election (Alexander Payne, 1999)

#47 Post by AnamorphicWidescreen » Mon Jul 21, 2014 8:34 pm

Just saw Election for the first time earlier this summer, and was quite impressed. I know this film has gotten a lot of buzz & critical acclaim over the years. This film went completely under my radar when it was released in '99 - for some reason, I never heard about it until the past 3-4 years.

In any case, very light-hearted & hilarious film. I laughed out loud numerous times when watching this.
SpoilerShow
I thought it was especially funny how the high school teacher (M. Broderick) was so jealous of Tracy Flick (Witherspoon) that he would stoop so low as to doctor the election results - what a creep. It was also funny that the janitor (who was upset that he spilled crap all over the break room floor) retrieved the ballots from the trash can & exposed the teacher's misdeeds - very funny :lol:
The speech by the athlete's sister at the rally as to why the kids should vote for her (or rather, not vote for her) was so awkwardly funny that I wish I had been present for such a speech when I was in high school - it would have made those boring all-hands school events much more entertaining :lol:

But, probably the funniest part of the film was
SpoilerShow
at the very end, when the now-former teacher was on vacation in D.C., and spotted Flick getting into a limo - she had apparently gotten a great job in politics, and he was so jealous he threw his soda container at the car window & then cowardly ran away like a 5-year old - what a tool!
Also was surprised to see how much MB had aged in this film from Ferris Bueller's Day Off. FBDO came out in '86, and Election came out in '99 - a difference of 13 years. However, though MB could easily have passed for a high school kid in FB (I know he was older), he looked middle-aged in Election....

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Posts: 28723
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: Election (Alexander Payne, 1999)

#48 Post by domino harvey » Mon Jul 21, 2014 8:37 pm

This thread has a great first post

User avatar
Michael Kerpan
Posts: 7344
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:20 pm
Location: New England
Contact:

Re: Election (Alexander Payne, 1999)

#49 Post by Michael Kerpan » Mon Jul 21, 2014 8:48 pm

One of my (highly observant and critical) children was extremely annoyed that Payne showed a flashback of the spilled food -- in case audience members had some sort of memory disorder that caused them to forget the hate-filled glare of the janitor the first time it was displayed (when the event actually happened).

User avatar
mfunk9786
Posts: 11760
Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 4:43 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: Election (Alexander Payne, 1999)

#50 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue Jul 22, 2014 9:36 am

That's a really commonly used device in films, and it wasn't at a Saw level of overbearing, it was just a brief, comical moment. I can't say I can see the issue with it. A two-second cutaway used for the sake of punctuating a moment of comic realization isn't exactly a faux pas.

Post Reply