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10 movies progressives should watch after the election — depending who won

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MAGNOLIA PICTURES
  • Magnolia Pictures
It’s Wednesday, November 4, the day after the 2020 presidential election, and there’s a good chance Americans don’t yet know who the next president is. This article is being written a few days before Election Day, so we’re not sure if the undecided race is because it’s going to take a few more days to tally up the votes or because the current president is making good on his word and refusing to concede.

Nevertheless, if we’re going to have to wait around for the results of one of the most critical elections in the history of this country, we might as well watch some movies, amirite?

So, here are 10 recommendations based on the election outcome or lack thereof. We included three movies to watch if Donald Trump won reelection, three if Joe Biden was victorious and three if the election really did turn into a clusterfuck and we’re in this for the long haul. Just for good measure, we tossed in a bonus pick in case we all woke up this morning floating around in some sort of vacuous, time-sucking blackhole vortex where neither light nor screams can escape.

If Donald Trump Won

First, take a deep breath. The world is not going to suddenly end if Wednesday Donald Trump is in for a second term. Take the day off, wallow in your sorrows and imagine what the next few years will look like. Start with writer-director Lars Von Trier’s 2011 sci-fi drama Melancholia. It was inspired by the Danish provocateur’s own experience with depression. Set against the backdrop of a lavish wedding, the second half of the film focuses on humankind’s impending extinction. A newly discovered planet is on a collision course to hit Earth. Seems like if something like this were to happen during a second Trump term, he’d tell everyone the astronomers are wrong and that the planet barreling toward us is going to disappear like a miracle. As an alternate, you could also go with Gaspar Noé’s trippy 2018 thriller Climax about a dance troupe that goes insane after they ingest LSD-laced sangria, which appears to be the same concoction Trump drinks before making immigration policy. If those two suggestions don’t work, try the Oscar-winning 1960 drama Elmer Gantry, adapted from the book by Sinclair Lewis. It tells the story of a charismatic con man who fakes his way into becoming a powerful preacher, disregards science and marvels at his crowd size. Now, where have we heard that one before?

If Joe Biden Won

For most of our readers, things will be a lot less stressful if the former veep and his running mate Kamala Harris already have their tickets punched for the White House. So, let’s start the movie marathon off with the obvious sequel for this occasion, Rocky IV. Russian boxer Ivan Drago kills American hero Apollo Creed only to have the Italian — or in this case Scranton — Stallion get vengeance by knocking him out in the final fight. Vladimir Putin will be displeased. Of course, hardworking journalists have been dragged through the mud during the Trump presidency, so let’s finally drop all the “fake news” bullshit and revisit the Oscar-winning 1976 drama All the President’s Men to remember how important a free press is to this country. The film follows Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein as they uncover the Watergate scandal, which leads to the resignation of President Richard Nixon. Finally, as a romantic comedy, 500 Days of Summer is somewhat of a bummer, but there’s a scene where Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character sleeps with the girl of his dreams and wakes up dancing to Hall & Oates’ “You Make My Dreams (Come True).” Here’s hoping that’s what our Wednesday morning feels like.

If the Race Isn’t Over

Let’s say the election ended up being closer than most pundits imagined. Either states are still counting ballots, or the country is gearing up for another Bush V. Gore-like court fight. Whatever the case, let’s pass the time with a few movies centered on sports rivalries: 1984’s The Karate Kid, 1996’s Happy Gilmore and 2004’s Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story. Remember, in all those movies, the good guy wins.

If We’ve Dissolved into Cosmic Particles and No Longer Have Access to Our Streaming Services

Watch any nonsensical or esoteric material you can find, from Darren Aronofsky’s Mother! and The Fountain to David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive and Eraserhead. May we suggest, however, a piece of mind-melding cinematic art from France? The 2012 fantasy Holy Motors is an aimless cinematic experiment. We won’t begin to explain what the film is about, but it’s basically like watching one man act out a bizarre performance piece, which, in a sense, is exactly what we’ve been doing for the past four years.

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