The War Room has been hailed as the decade's great political documentary, but R.J. Cutler and David Van Taylor's A Perfect Candidate is better. Covering the 1994 U.S. Senate race in Virginia—which featured four major candidates, most notably incumbent Democrat Chuck Robb and Republican Iran-Contra figure Oliver North—the film doesn't provide deep insights into the personalities of either marquee public figure. Instead, it leaves North (a pandering, scandal-ridden caricature) and Robb (ditto) on the sidelines, telling the story of the election primarily through two remarkably compelling peripheral figures: grizzled, cynical, brilliant Washington Post beat reporter Don Baker, and North senior campaign strategist Mark Goodin. Like the candidates, the chain-smoking Goodin has a dark past to overcome, and as A Perfect Candidate progresses, Goodin emerges as its star, the way James Carville did in The War Room. He's so multidimensional, so contradictory, so fascinating that you never take your eyes off him. This brilliant documentary was somewhat misunderstood upon its theatrical release, because some foolishly thought its title was referring to North. But it isn't; it's a riveting look at an election in which no candidate is anywhere near perfect. A Perfect Candidate is packed with unforgettable scenes, from chilling monologues by Baker and Goodin, to a Republican protest song right out of Bob Roberts, to a marvelous scene in which Robb haplessly roams an empty grocery store looking for hands to shake. It's a great film about American elections and the people who control them, and it's made even more remarkable by the filmmakers' surprisingly impartial, narration-free approach.