What goes on in Pennsylvania? Nevada? Georgia? Arizona? North Carolina? Slow counting, yes, but also some iconic cinema.
I like to imagine myself as a member of the United States of New York City. In this world, AOC is President, Governor Andrew Cuomo is arguing with his brother Chris Cuomo on live television, and there is a bodega in the middle of Fifth Avenue where Trump Tower currently stands.
Unfortunately, this is not the case, but New York City is pretty great as is. But like any typical New Yorker, I am sometimes admittedly prone to tunnel vision. Thus, my peeks into life everywhere else in the United States are usually through the screen. Most days, it's television and movies.
There's no hope, really, for getting my mind off the five states which will decide the 2020 election. But beyond refreshing the ballot count pages until my eyes burn, there's not much I can do but wait.
In hopes of inspiring fonder feelings for Arizona, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Nevada, I'm turning back to the less anxiety-inducing source of information: Hollywood. Whatever's actually going on in the ballot counting rooms, I want to imagine Angela Bassett or Angela Chase are the ones casting the votes, counting the absentee slips, fixing any pipe that bursts.
Here are the most iconic films and television shows set in the states on everyone's mind.
ARIZONA: Waiting to Exhale (1995)
Let's set the scene. Imagine you're a suburban housewife, living in the desert of Scottsdale, Arizona. You have a big house, a closet full of luxury clothing, beautiful children, and, in the garage, a shiny expensive car. This is the dream. Until you find out your husband is cheating on you.
Good thing you're Angela Bassett. Cigarette in hand, you pull your husband's clothes from the hangers and pile them into the car. You drive it outside, get out, and, in one of the most iconic scenes in broken-hearted-cinema, set the car on fire.
This scene is emblematic of Forest Whitaker's Waiting to Exhale. Based on a novel of the same name, the film follows the life of four Black women living in Arizona. It's about romance, it's about betrayal, it's about friendship, and the kind of women I like to believe are responsible for turning Arizona blue for the first time since 1996.
NORTH CAROLINA: American Horror Story: Roanoke (2016)
Fitting — it's a horror show.
Two things that have been dragged out far longer than necessary: this election and American Horror Story. The Roanoke season is the sixth installment of the anthology series.
It is centered around the mythology of the 1580s Roanoke Colony disappearances, following a cast of actors reenacting the disappearance for a documentary. Predictably, this documentary is doomed to go awry. Less predictable: the current fate of North Carolina.
PENNSYLVANIA: My So-Called Life (1994)
"Fooled me once can't get fooled again," says the voice of George Bush from a 2002 botched speech that plays on repeat inside my head as I look suspiciously at Pennsylvania, AKA the site of our collective 2016 trauma.
It's also the site of one of the best high school television series of all time: My So Called Life. The '90s did it better, didn't they? This 1994 one-season series followed Claire Danes as high school freshman Angela Chase, as she tried to figure out something maybe more excruciating than this election: high school.
Though I modelled my own high school personality after the turbulent, ever-cool Rayanne Graff, I'm definitely more Angela Chase, longing after long haired boys and lying on my bed in fits of angst to the tune of The Cranberries.
GEORGIA: Forrest Gump (1994)
Though I wouldn't take Forrest Gump's word for much, I like to believe the warm feeling you get when watching it says something good about Georgia. Considering it's about a war veteran who loses the love of his life to disease , I like to think Forrest would have voted blue. Probably a Bernie man, if I had to call it.
NEVADA: Ocean's Eleven (2001)
What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas … including vote counts?
What definitely doesn't stay is Terry Benedict's money in Steven Soderbergh's masterpiece Ocean's Eleven. A remake of the 1960 film of the same name, this timeless ensemble movie follows George Clooney as Danny Ocean, a career thief, as he pulls off a legendary casino heist.
The great thing about heist films: Everything goes right in the end. That's the energy I'm challenging for this long-game of an election. God knows we need it.
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