“What’s wrong with having a hooker as a First Lady?”
~You, the Reader
Do you know that we have to write fifteen different ways to introduce this series of articles that, if anything, will later be used as evidence for our staff’s eventual Obsessive Compulsion Disorder diagnosis. We dug up all 142 fictional Presidents who have ever made an appearance in a film, and if that wasn’t already exhausting for everyone involved, we decided to rank those Presidents and spread the whole thing out into 15 different articles. You can see all the others by clicking the various links in this paragraph, and no, they’re not in order, because this process has driven us insane. Okay, all caught up? No? Too fucking bad, here are more Presidents.
Every Fictional President in Film History: Ranked (#90-81—Not Bad, But Not Good, Just Kind of Sleezy)
90: Amazon Women on the Moon (1987)
Forrest J. Ackerman as the U.S. President
Literally the only thing that you know about this President is that his wife used to be a hooker. You can raise or lower this ranking as you see fit.
89: National Lampoon’s Movie Madness (1982)
Fred Willard as President Robert Fogarty
Fred Willard plays the President in a segment called Success Wanters in this very bad National Lampoon movie. The story follows a woman who graduates from college, becomes a stripper, then becomes the mistress to the owner of a margarine company, then inherits that company when the owner dies, then becomes a mistress to a Greek shipping tycoon, then gets all of his money before hooking up with the President and becoming the First Lady. So again, you can raise or lower President Fogarty here as you see fit.
88: Being There (1979)
Jack Warden as The President
The President in Being There talks to a simpleton who has never seen the outside of the townhouse where he served as gardener and decides to center his entire agenda around some vaguely folksy sayings the gardener told him. Like, he was better than Millard Fillmore at least?
86 and 87 (tie): In Like Flint (1967)
Andrew Duggan as President Trent (and the Imposter President Trent)
Listen, this is not the first time we’ve had to rate a President and an Imposter President in the same movie (ugh, G.I. Joe, thanks for that), but this is one where, like, we don’t care. Both Presidents are equally whatever. This movie is, like, whatever. There’s a feminist conspiracy, which involves kidnapping the President, and there’s sex in space at some point. Again, this President was whatever, this movie was whatever. We’re just kind of mad that Derek Flint was ever a thing. Seriously, watch that trailer. The movie is barely about the President, it’s mostly about how James Coburn is really weird at kissing.
85: Primary Colors (1998)
John Travolta as Governor Jack Stanton (Eventual President)
We had forgotten a lot about this movie, and assumed it would be a pretty high ranking since Jack Stanton was supposed to be like, a Bill Clinton figure at a time when a lot of Americans really liked Bill Clinton. It’s super not flattering, guys. He wins, and he has some good policy ideas, and he manages to “do the right thing” at one point, but in this case “do the right thing” means “impregnate a 17 year old, consider blackmailing a rival (unrelated), then deciding not to blackmail the rival because he sort of drives his friend working on the campaign to suicide.” Yeesh.
84: The Last Time I Saw Archie (1961)
Robert Mitchum as President Archie Hall
We’ve not managed to fully confirm that Archie ends up as President, but he at least runs for office with the heavy implication that he wins, and we’ve seen him appear on lists of fictional Presidents. So we’ll tell ourselves that this movie, which never received a home video release, ends with Archie Hall winning the election. But basically the entire movie is about Hall, whose main traits are “lazy” and “good at tricking people into getting what he wants.” Oh, and somehow he manages to become the head of a movie studio, and the Governor of California, even though the entire movie is a gag about him avoiding doing any hard work. So while he’s likeable, he’s also indolent, sleezy, and sort of lucks into things, which we’d list as being only about 40% presidential.
83: Love Actually (2003)
Billy Bob Thornton as the US President
We don’t really know what kind of a President Billy Bob Thornton is in Love Actually, other than the fact that he’s kind of scummy, and kind of a dick, but also kind of charming. So basically, Billy Bob Thornton.
82: Loyal Opposition: Terror in the White House (1998)
Lloyd Bochner as President Mark Hayden
There are a lot of movies where someone within the White House holds the President hostage and stages a coup because he tries to negotiate with people instead of bombing them or whatever. Admittedly, President Hayden was negotiating with terrorists, which isn’t great, but “we don’t like this policy, let’s kidnap the fucker” seems like a bit of an overkill in this 1998 made-for-TV movie where the female Vice President (played by Joan Van Ark) has to save the day.
81: Salt (2010)
Hunt Block as U.S. President Lewis
President Lewis didn’t exactly run a tight ship, letting Russian sleeper agents into his inner circle, which almost kickstarts World War III. Thankfully, Angelina Jolie was there to save the day? Listen, we saw Salt, but even if you saw Salt you’re not making a promise with yourself to actually remember Salt, you know?
Come on back tomorrow for the next installment. We’re about to get into the “kidnapped Presidents” territory, which…why are there so many kidnapped Presidents in film? Like, we’ll dive into that later, but it’s weird, right? Like, for a thing that literally has never happened in real life? Anyway, stay tuned.