“…You mean we have to watch Geostorm for this article?”
Welcome to a series of articles with so many entries that we’re not even bothering to count them. This is, what, the tenth one of these? That sounds right, ballpark at least? Anyway, we decided (thanks, Jack Daniels and a surprise divorce) that we should find every single fictional president who has been portrayed in a movie, and decide which one of those was the best at presidenting. And THEN we decided we should arbitrarily rank each president against each other, for reasons that don’t sound quite as compelling now that we’ve sobered up. So if this is the first article in this series you’ve come across because you Googled “Gregory Peck President” then, well, we honestly don’t know if you are our prime demographic or not. Just keep in mind that all these fancy links at the beginning of this paragraphs link to previous entries to our latest series in which we, and maybe you already know where we’re going with this, because we literally just said it, rank every fictional movie President arbitrarily. We’re now getting to our better fake Presidents, the ones who stand tall and stay strong, no matter how much things fall apart around them.
Every Fictional President in Film History: Ranked (#50-41—Strong During a Crisis)
50: Amazing Grace and Chuck (1987)
Gregory Peck as the President of the United States
We’re not going to try to draw any parallels between this movie and say, the past few year involving peaceful protests by American athletes, but Amazing Grace and Chuck was pretty naively optimistic. If you don’t remember this Jamie Lee Curtis, William Petersen, and Gregory Peck film (you don’t), it follows a 12-year-old from Montana who decides to protest nuclear weapons by refusing to play in his Little League game, causing his team to forfeit. “Amazing Grace” Smith, a Celtics player portrayed by Alex English, hears about the story and also promises to not play until there are no more nuclear weapons. The movie ends with the President talking to the young boy to be all, “Hey, you’re a brave little kid, but darn, nukes gotta stay.” Like, he’s at least pragmatic, honest, direct and not mean to kids? That’s something?
49: The Contender (2000)
Jeff Bridges as President Jackson Evans
Most movie Presidents only manage to do one “big” thing, so it’s hard to judge them as overall Presidents. That said, you always want to view Jeff Bridges as a good guy, and in this movie he plays a second-term President who is trying to name the first ever female Vice-President to serve under him. Hey yo! Well actually, no, the bad sex joke is warranted there, because her nomination gets derailed over (false, but the movie makes a point to be like “it doesn’t matter if it’s true or not, even though it’s not!”) rumors of her participating in a drunken orgy in college. You know, as one does in college. Bridges gets points for eventually backing her position of “it’s her policies that matter, dummy” and giving a rousing speech in her defense, though he did wobble a bit before making the right call.
48: Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (2003)
George Clooney as President Devlin
President Devlin used to be in charge of the OSS (the Organization of Super Spies), but decided to become President so that people would actually know he ran the world. A bit egotistical, but we guess you gotta have a big ego to become President.
47: Airline Disaster (2010)
Meredith Baxter as President Harriet Franklin
One of the few movies on this list with a female president is a cheap knockoff of Air Force One by The Asylum. They at least didn’t name this Independents’ Day, but goddamn. Anyway, since it’s The Asylum, they put about as much effort into the script as they did with coming up with a good “female President” name. Harriet Franklin? Seriously? Why not, like, Martha Jefferson? Amelia Madison? Beyonce Clinton?
This movie is Air Force One, but not entirely. The President isn’t on the plane, her brother is (sigh, sure). The plane isn’t Air Force One, it’s some fancy new “Starquest airliner program” that isn’t fully explained. Oh, and the bad guys aren’t foreign terrorists, they’re neo-Nazis (a non-controversial casting decision at the time) trying to do a Die Hard (stage a political crime to cover up a basic robbery). She doesn’t get to really show her presidential prowess here, it’s basically “Oh I don’t negotiate with terrorists, but my brother’s family is being held hostage!” It’s not her fault, though. And hey, props to the movie for having a female President. Though we largely suspect that this only happened because they wanted to be able to say they have an “Emmy Award Winner” in their super shitty B-movie.
46: Iron Man 3 (2013)
(Also Mentioned and Appears in Photographs in Captain America: The Winter Soldier )
William Sadler as President Ellis
Literally no one gives a shit about the President in any Marvel movies. The only reason he even shows up here is that the bad guys try to kill him to install a puppet government. That said, the main thing he had going for him was, “Talked a lot of shit about how he’s going to take out the bad guys, to the point that the bad guys tried to take him out,” which means he must have been doing something right. Also we’ve loved William Sadler ever since he played the dad in the criminally underrated show Wonderfalls so he gets a boost for that.
45: Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)
William Fichtner as General and President Joshua T. Adams
Adams takes over as President after the death of Elizabeth Lanford, who appears later on the list. He was a good General and a relatively good man, and he authorized the tactic that led to the defeat of the invading alien forces. He was only President for, like, a quarter of the movie, but he didn’t do anything to embarrass himself, at least. Nice job, Joshy boy.
44: Captain America (1990)
Ronny Cox as President Thomas “Tom” Kimball
President Kimball is a war hero and an environmentalist, and he ruffles things up so much that Red Skull gets a crime family to kidnap him, and Captain America has to be unfrozen to save him. So he’s one of those “Presidents who is so good he angers bad guys” Presidents, which usually translates to a being a pretty good President. By the way, do not watch this movie. It’s easy to think, “Why didn’t anyone try to do a Marvel franchise before, considering how well things are going with the MU” but this was the kind of movie that was responsible for them waiting like, 18 years before giving it an honest shot.
43: The Enemy Within (1994)
Sam Waterston as President William Foster
Here we have another President who is on the receiving end for a planned coup. The Secretary of Defense and a General want to remove Foster from office, believing they can get the Vice President to do their bidding. But Foster rates higher than most of the Presidents in similar movies because he actively is involved in the efforts to defeat the coup, and he succeeds with the help of Colonel Mac Casey, played by Forest Whitaker.
42: Geostorm (2017)
Andy Garcia as President Andrew Palma
You’re supposed to go through Geostorm thinking, “What decisions in my life have led to this moment where I, a fully grown human, have decided to waste two hours of my life watching Geostorm.” Oh, but you’re also supposed to go through it thinking that President Palma is the bad guy. Turns out he’s not, the real bad guys were just trying to frame him and kill him with…like…the weather…spaceship…listen, we didn’t watch this movie either, okay? Just know that President Palma ends up being a good guy President who helps save the day (thanks to the actual heroes of the movie).
41: Dave (1993)
Ben Kingsley as President Gary Nance
Vice President Gary Nance is a pretty good guy, and when he ends up taking over as President at the end of the movie Dave you actually are supposed to feel that he’ll do good work in the office. We don’t get to see a lot of him as President, but we think he probably did a pretty good job.
We’re starting to get into the pretty good Presidents (what does it say about us as a country that so many of our fictional Presidents are bad?). Anyway, we’re delving into the 40s in our next article, so we’ll see you tomorrow.