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THE BETTER ANGELS OF OUR NATURE

After The Dark Knight, the prospect for harmony grew even darker on and off the screen. On August 10, the day before Romney picked polarizing neo-con Paul Ryan as his running mate, The Campaign was released. It's a crude Capra-esque fable in which the bad guys are ringers for the Koch brothers. The real-life brothers took exception to their depiction on the screen, blaming it on "political enemies."

That wasn't the only film that outraged politicos. The GOP insisted that Kathryn Bigelow's film about the bin Laden raid, Zero Dark Thirty, was campaign propaganda for Obama. So the filmmakers changed the release date from before the election until December 19. Not satisfied, House Republicans conducted an investigation into the filmmakers' alleged improper access to secret CIA files.

>> CHART: Are we voting at the box office? <<

Maybe more to their liking will be the remake of John Milius's Red Dawn (1984), which opens just before the election on November 2. In the original, a bunch of teenagers fight off a Soviet invasion of the US. This time the bad guy is everyone's favorite rogue nation, North Korea.

Traditionally, the winner of the presidential election asks for unity. It's the patriotic thing to do. Certainly no president faced a more daunting task of reconciliation than the one celebrated in Stephen Spielberg's Lincoln. It opens 10 days after the election; let's hope whoever wins aspires to that presidential ideal.

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