Director: Alexander Payne
Stars: Reese Witherspoon, Matthew Broderick, Chris Klein, Jessica Campbell, Colleen Camp
Lesson Learned: It takes everything but credible qualifications to become a president of any kind.

Political races are never less than vicious, no matter what level of government. Another commonality amongst all presidential competitions, whether on a global scale or merely small-town, is the popularity contest quotient, the issue-deficient reason why a living, breathing gimmick such as Sarah Palin was able to even stay in the last presidential race—she's a star in those (scary) red states.

Writer-director Alexander Payne transplanted such ideas directly into the high school movie genre with the 1999 independent hit Election, a callously funny satire on how the hiring of authority figures can quickly descend into name-calling, backstabbing, and sexual scandal. Reese Witherspoon is outstanding as an obsessive running for her school's open position of student body president. Bisexual allegations ensue, a teacher (Matthew Broderick) gets embroiled in the mayhem, and a dimwitted athlete (Chris Klein) becomes a legitimate contender based solely on his popularity. Sort of like Sarah Palin, only she's a beauty pageant contestant, not a jock. Not much of a difference.