Fictional Presidents

"Anybody who wants the presidency so much that he'll spend two years organizing and campaigning for it is not to be trusted with the office."
-David Broder

Tomorrow we vote on the real president, but I thought in the meantime it would be cool to take a look at some Fictional Presidents. I have them arranged in Three Categories, for your convenience and donations:

Presidents so Bad, they could have been Real

#10 Patricia Wettig - Caroline Richards (PRISON BREAK) - Anytime there's a one-armed pedophile who's more likable than you, the administration is in trouble.

#9 Gene Hackman - Monroe "Eagle" Cole (WELCOME TO MOOSEPORT) - When you're rooting for Ray Romano, you know the other guy is a jackass.

#8 Kang - THE SIMPSONS TREEHOUSE OF HORROR - Don't blame me; I voted for Kodos!

#7 Donald Pleasance - Unnamed (ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK) - An island of hardened criminals who hold the country hostage? And the president is scared of them? Why? THEY'RE HIS PEOPLE!

#6 Ronny Cox - Jack Neil (MURDER AT 1600) - Why would Diane Lane risk her life for him?

#5 Gene Hackman - Alan Richmond (ABSOLUTE POWER) - How many of these characters has Hackman played? I'm more and more thinking Gene might actually be Evil.

#4 Billy Bob Thornton - Unnamed (LOVE ACTUALLY) - How dare he try to kiss Natalie? I heart Natalie! As Roger Ebert put it: the lechery of Clinton with the moral complacency of Bush.

#3 Bill Pullman - Thomas Whitmore (INDEPENDENCE DAY) - Biggest wuss ever. No way is Bill Pullman ever getting elected. For Tengri's sake, he can't even lie to his own wife! What kind of president is that?

#2 Jack Nicholson - James Dale (MARS ATTACKS) - "I want the people to know that they still have 2 out of 3 branches of the government working for them, and that ain't bad." Uh, yes it is.

#1 Gregory Itzin - Charles Logan (24) - So evil his wife ended up stabbing him. What more can you say?

Portrayal of "Real" presidents

#2397 Jon Voigt - Franklin D. Roosevelt (PEARL HARBOR) - I only included Voigt because it always cracks me up when he (Roosevelt) tries to stand up in that ridiculous scene. As this performance is dwarfed by the others, I have ranked it markedly lower.

#4 David Morse - George Washington (JOHN ADAMS) - Remarkable restraint on the part of Morse. If HBO ever decides to give G-Dub the same treatment as Adams, they have their guy.

#3 Anthony Hopkins - John Quincy Adams (AMISTAD) - One of the most powerful films of the '90s, and Hopkins is simply perfect.

#2 Anthony Hopkins - Richard Nixon (NIXON) - Hopkins doesn't go so much for impersonation as personification. This is one of the most overlooked films of the '90s, and one of the best president movies ever. That Oliver Stone made this makes me want to see W.

#1 Paul Giamatti - John Adams (JOHN ADAMS) - I am going to be writing about this HBO miniseries soon, and using MANY CAPITAL LETTERS TO EMPHATICALLY MAKE MY POINT, so you might as well put it in yourNetflix cue. Giamatti's role of a lifetime.


#10 Tom Beck - Morgan Freeman (DEEP IMPACT) - I haven't even seen this, but I have total faith in Morgan.

#9 Lindberg - Tom Lister Jr. (THE FIFTH ELEMENT) - For no other reason than he played "Zeus" in NO HOLDS BARRED.

#8 Fake William Mitchell - Kevin Kline (DAVE) The real Mitchell blamed Gandhi for his problems, which was wrong, but this one caught a fish THIS BIG and got a boner when Sigourney Weaver saw him naked. What's not to love?

#7 Hyperion - Some day, my Tribe. Some day.

#6 Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Camacho - Terry Crews (IDIOCRACY) - Dude, the name says it all, and if it doesn't: machine gun! (Read my review )

#5 Laura Roslin - Mary McDonnell (BATTLESTAR GALACTICA) - Wise beyond her years. Tough beyond her fears and sexy beyond her leers.

#4 Andrew Shepherd - Michael Douglas (THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT) - Most of the ACLU/gun speech at the end is hogwash, but I still get fired up every time I see it!

#3 James Marshall - Harrison Ford (AIR FORCE ONE) - I can't believe Harrison ranked third. I attribute this ONLY to the fact that the top two guys were on TV, where you get to know them longer. Still, what we saw of President James Marshall was fairly awesome. We all want our president to kick ass, and FOR THE RIGHT REASONS. Only down point: why would you pick Glen Close as VP? Have you seen FATAL ATTRACTION?

#2 Josiah Bartlett - Martin Sheen (THE WEST WING) - What can you say about Jed Bartlett? Originally The West Wing was supposed to be mainly about the staff, but Martin Sheen had such a presence at the end of the first episode that he immediately became a central player. And what a portrait. Politics aside, I loved seeing how a president wrestles with his good and bad angels. In that way, perhaps realistic. We had our ups and downs, Bartlett and I, but he was a liberal worth loving, and that's hard to come by.

And the number one fictional president of all time is......

#1 David Palmer - Dennis Haysbert (24) - After his run on 24 was over, my sister suggested that Dennis Haysbert be officially renamed President Palmer. I had to agree. Rarely has someone shot to stardom so quickly based on the strength of a small role. President Palmer wasn't perfect; in fact, in times of crisis he treated Posse Comitatus like so much wet Kleenex. He was just doing what he had to do, and you know what: he willingly paid the price for it, by not running for reelection. He did what he had to do to save the country, but he felt that made him unworthy to hold the office. Sniff sniff. One other thing. I mean no disrespect to the hard work and charisma of Senator Obama, but I believe in a very real way, Obama's candidacy (and possible victory) owes more than a small debt to President Palmer. It sounds ridiculous even writing these words, but I think seeing Palmer as a tough effective leader--without any regards to race--might have helped a lot of people past some invisible hurdle in their minds. Does this mean Dennis Haysbert should be given whatever campaign money Obama has left over? Yes. Yes it does. Should Haysbert share with me for ranking him #1? What do you think?


November 3, 2008

This guy above me should be president right now.
As for the picture up at the top, well,
I'll let you figure that out.


Sparky Duck said...

Good Prez

4 & 2 are awesome, of course I am in the bag for Aaron Sorkin. I am inspired

Hyperion said...

Sparky - I am so ready for Sorkin to be back on TV. What sucks is that NOW, Sports Night would be a huge hit. I'm thinking The Supreme Court would be the best place to go, with the aides as the stars. If not that, maybe the front office of a new sports league trying to horn their way into people's hearts. Maybe even a new sport.