9. The Assassination - Bulworth
Okay so this one could have been more of a surprise, but bizarrely the film’s tie-in soundtrack song Ghetto Supastar (which is an absolute banger) gave it away to canny listeners in advance of the film’s release. Scripted by a pre-West Wing Aaron Sorkin, Bulworth is a surreal comedy which follows a straight-talking senator who turns to rapping (yes, really) to cure his midlife crisis and spikes his popularity rating as a result.
It’s a kind of cringey, fairly funny satire which has all the hallmarks (good and bad) of Sorkin’s more accomplished later works—rat-a-tat dialogue, alternately inspirational, agreeably cheesy, and embarrassingly idealistic views of US politics, and a handful of great performances elevating uneven material.
As the eponymous politician, Warren Beatty puts in a funny turn, and as his assassin-turned-love-interest a young Halle Berry is magnetic. All of which makes the film’s inexplicable denouement, wherein the titular senator is suddenly killed by sniper fire, all more absurdly dark and shocking.
The ending left audiences shook, but the death fits the film’s cynical theme of the omnipresence of political corruption and the sudden nature of it provides the flick’s most hard-hitting moment.