Tuesday is Election Day and the fate of America, if not the world, hangs in the balance. Will Donald Trump prevail victorious, or will Hillary Clinton become our first female president?
That decision will be up to you, but Mashable is here to help with another decision — what to watch on streaming services that will help get you through what will inevitably be a pretty tense day.
There’s no shortage of politically-themed content on Netflix and Hulu, but here’s the cream of the crop. Enjoy these movies before or after you’ve voted, or you can even watch them as you wait in line.
Ava DuVernay’s powerful 2014 drama chronicles Martin Luther King Jr.’s march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, but it’s really about the fight for voting rights.
David Oyelowo delivers a powerhouse performance as MLK, and Tom Wilkinson makes for a strong antagonist as President Lyndon B. Johnson.
The film illustrates how actions speak louder than words in politics, and that the Constitution covers all Americans, not just white men. It’s a story as important now as it was back in 1965, so if you haven’t seen it, now is the time to catch up with Selma.
Both Warren Beatty and Halle Berry have new movies coming out in the next few weeks, so what better time to take a look back at this 1998 political comedy, which received an Oscar nomination for best original screenplay.
Beatty plays a disillusioned liberal politician who puts a contract out on himself and takes the opportunity to be bluntly honest with his voters by affecting the rhythms and speech of hip-hop music and culture.
Bulworth may be a little goofy, but it’s better than a lot of stuffy political movies that don’t have a sense of humor — something that seems key to working in politics these days.
Nick of Time (Hulu)
This 1995 B-movie starring Johnny Depp is best known for its real-time gimmick, which came years before 24, but it’s actually a pretty nifty political thriller. Depp’s daughter is kidnapped by Christopher Walken and a surprisingly bad-ass Roma Maffia, who give him 90 minutes to assassinate California Gov. Eleanor Grant (Marsha Mason).
It turns out that nearly everyone working on Grant’s campaign, including the governor’s staff and husband, are involved in the assassination plot, which has been carefully planned by a right-wing lobbyist who wants Grant dead because of her unkept promises to interests he represents.
All of this culminates in a ballroom shootout, where Grant learns the truth about the widespread conspiracy.
By the way, if you like Nick of Time, check out the original Manchurian Candidate, which is also available on Hulu, or In the Line of Fire. The latter film stars Clint Eastwood as a Secret Service agent out to thwart an assassination attempt against the president exactly 30 years after JFK was killed on his watch. John Malkovich is excellent as the wanna-be killer.
By the People: The Election of Barack Obama (Netflix)
This 2009 documentary from producer Edward Norton and filmmakers Amy Rice and Alicia Sams follows Barack Obama and various members of his campaign team over the two years leading up to the 2008 presidential election.
The film presents an intimate behind-the-scenes look at Obama and his family, as well as his staff and volunteers. Obama wasn’t even a presidential candidate when cameras started rolling, he was just a promising young senator from Illinois.
It was Norton who approached Obama’s team with the idea of the project, and Obama agreed to grant the filmmakers unprecedented and exclusive access. The film examines his campaign and explores its impact on young voters.
If you want to see how history was made in November 2008, be sure to watch By the People.
Alexander Payne’s satirical comedy takes aim at a high school election, which is fitting, as student government is where many young people get their first glimpse at the political process.
Reese Witherspoon stars as Tracy Flick, who wants to run for student council president, much to the dismay of social studies teacher Jim McAllister (Matthew Broderick), who doesn’t think she’s a worthy candidate and tries to stop her campaign in its tracks. To keep her from winning, he recruits a popular football player named Paul (Chris Kline) to run against Tracy.
Election grapples with a lot of interesting ethical questions as you become invested in the characters over the course of the movie. Should Paul vote for himself? Should Jim sign off on the election results if he knows that Tracy used dirty tricks in her campaign? To find out the answers, you’ll have to check out the film on Hulu.
Bonus Content (Periscope)
If you don’t have Netflix or Hulu, keep an eye on Periscope, which will stream live footage of Election Day events on a dedicated channel called “Election Day.”
Between watching the news and checking your social media feeds, you’ll be able to tune into things happening on the ground all over the country, shot by a group of documentary filmmakers who are contributing to The Orchard’s new political documentary 11/8/16, which will be released early next year.
They’ll be following a group of American citizens from all walks of life as they set out across the country on the morning of the election until the polls close.
Those citizens include journalists working in the Los Angeles Times newsroom; the heads of the College Republicans and Democrats at Kent State University in Ohio; a union leader who is currently under investigation by the FBI in Philadelphia; a coal miner in West Virginia; a rancher in Bozeman, Montana; a group of black and Latino kids in Chicago; a Republican cop in Missouri; neighboring shops run by Palestinian and Caribbean families in Brooklyn; Native Americans protesting the pipeline in North Dakota; undocumented immigrants in San Francisco; and the head of a separatist movement in Oregon.
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