I've loved a lot of movies this year (most recently, "Where the Wild Things Are" and "Fantastic Mr. Fox"), but a brilliant British comedy released in the U.S. by IFC Films tops my list. "In The Loop" is primarily a wicked political satire, but it's also one of the smartest, funniest movies about the modern media, and its perverting effect on the body politic, that I've ever seen.
A spin-off of the BBC series "The Thick of It," the movie chronicles a clash of bureaucratic political machines as the U.S. and the U.K. contemplate launching a vague new war in the Middle East. A customer reviewer on Amazon dubs it "'The Office' goes to war," and that pretty much nails it. Peter Capaldi, playing hilariously foul-mouthed British press officer Malcolm Tucker, basically steals the show, but the supporting players -- including James Gandolfini as Pentagon General George Miller -- are uniformly awesome too.
You can get a quick taste of "In the Loop" from the official trailer, but when it finally gets released on DVD in early January, I'd definitely recommend picking up a copy or Netflixing it. That is, if you don't win one of the two copies I'm giving away (upon release) in my random drawing (see details below). Anyway, "In the Loop" is my pick for the Best Media Movie of the Year. P.S. Stay tuned: There are 10 more days of picks (and 20 more giveaways) to come. Miss Day 1? Here it is.
THE FINE PRINT: To enter the random drawing for one of two copies of "In the Loop" on DVD in this informal Media Guy's Pop Pick giveaway, send me an e-mail with "In the Loop" in the subject line on or before December 31 (the cutoff is 12 midnight EST). You must have a valid U.S. mailing address and be 18 or older.
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Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" media columnist for Advertising Age. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco