It’s Presidents Day! Another excuse to give the US Postal Service a day off, make sure your kids are totally underfoot and nagging, chance to get a great deal on a Dodge, opportunity to consider the seat of the Commander in Chief (or, as Jay Leno might say it, for Bill Clinton to consider the seats of the female interns — Oh Jay, you hack, you!)
But this is a holiday, people, and a pop culture website, not C-Span. So what do we do? Talk about movie and TV presidents, that’s what we do!
All rise for the Cinematic President of the United States.
David Medsker – Terry Crews in Idiocracy, because he was also a porn star. As it should be.
Dave Lifton – E. G. Marshall in Superman II, because it was the first movie I saw with a character who was supposed to be the President. I remember thinking, “That’s not Jimmy Carter!”
Chris Holmes – The only one that comes to mind immediately is Kevin Kline as Dave. Dammit Obama, just get your pals together, have some roast beef sandwiches, and fix the budget already!
Scott Malchus – Dennis Haysbert as Pres. David Palmer on 24 and Peter Sellers as Pres. Merkin Muffley in Dr. Strangelove…
Dw. Dunphy – I’m up between Bill Pullman in Independence Day, because it’s so unintentionally absurd, or Peter Sellers in Dr. Strangelove because it’s intentionally absurd. Then there’s President Skroob…
Kelly Stitzel – I’m going to be the one to exclaim my love for Jed Bartlett from The West Wing. I remember one time during G.W. Bush’s presidency when The West Wing was pre-empted for one of Bush’s press conferences and people I knew were pissed because they would’ve rather watched the fictional president on their teevee than the actual president.
Rob Smith – I second Kelly on this one. The Bartlett administration helped ease the pain of the Bush administration, even if just a little.
David Medsker – Michael Douglas made for a pretty good President under Aaron Sorkin’s watch, too (in The American President).
Dave Lifton – The only difference between Andy Card and Jed Bartlett was height.
Ken Shane – Morgan Freeman in Deep Impact because it would be glorious to actually have a President with such a splendid combination of gravitas and humanity. Not a great film, but a great Presidential portrayal.
Robert Cashill – On TV, Emmy nominee Gregory Itzin as Charles Logan on 24 (2006). An indecisive bumbler during Season 4 and the opening gambit of Season 5, Logan was revealed as a conniving sociopath in the show’s most exciting and unexpected twist, and his plotting (and his tangled relationship with crazy First Lady Jean Smart, also an Emmy nominee) propelled that series toward its Emmy. (Logan, who returned for Season 8, got his just desserts in the series-ending episode last year.)
At the movies, the great Lee Tracy in his Oscar-nominated swan song, as a dying former president whom candidates Henry Fonda and Cliff Robertson curry favor from at a political convention in The Best Man (1964). A beautiful, Truman-esque turn in a play and screenplay from Gore Vidal that recall a simpler but no less complicated time.
Will Harris – I’ll just throw this out there…