“Yeah I’m mad I made it this high too.”
~Kevin James in Pixels
We’ve done this 13 times already, so what’s one more? You are mired, trapped even, in a series of articles where we take every single President who has ever appeared in a movie, remove all the real ones, and then mix up what we have left to determine who was the best and who was the worst in terms of overall job performance. It’s been forever. You’ve had major life events come and pass since we started this series. You’re almost free. We’re almost free. Let’s talk about some goddamn fake American heroes.
Every Fictional President in Film History: Ranked (#20-11—The World Savers)
20: Death Race 2000 (1975)
David Carradine as President Frankenstein
Yes we know this is a silly fucking movie that, randomly, has two Presidents. But yeah. Frankenstein runs over the President, becoming the President, because movies in the 70s were batshit insane and very stupid. But the first President in the movie was bad and shitty (he’s near the bottom of our list) while Frankenstein toppled a totalitarian regime, banned the Death Race, and helped rebuild society. Not too shabby.
19: The Purge: Election Year (2016)
Elizabeth Mitchell as President-Elect Charlie Roan
Yeah, we were ready to put the Purge Presidents super low on this list, but then we realized that we’re pretty sure that we do not see a current President in the movie. Senator Charlie Roan wins the election in a landslide at the end of the third Purge movie (spoilers, we guess?), but her opponent in the race, Minister Edwidge Owens, was not the sitting President. Because if there were a sitting President during any purges, you know we’d be putting their ass way at the bottom of the list.
Anyway, all we know about Charlie Roan is that she’s principled, and she is going to get rid of the Purge as soon as she takes office. It doesn’t say much about the fictional Purge universe that all it takes to become a top-tier President is to say “we are no longer making murder legal for one hellish night every year” but hey, credit where credit’s due, right?
18: Idiocracy (2006)
Terry Crews as President Camacho
What Camacho lacked in intelligence, he more than made up for with pragmatism, humility, and a successful porn career. Sure under his watch there was no food because we kept using satirical Gatoraid to water our crops, but he’s so high on this list because when Joe Bauers came along, he knew that Bauers would be better at leading the nation, and stepped aside for him. Look, it doesn’t matter that Camacho clearly broke the presidential line of succession, his heart was in the right place.
17: Sharnado 3: Oh Hell No! (2015)
Mark Cuban as President Marcus Robbins
When a Sharknado hits Washington D.C., not a lot of Presidents are willing to grab some shot guns and take care of shit on their own terms. For that alone, Marcus Robbins is one of the best fictional Presidents in American history, which, wow, says a lot about how we portray Presidents in movies.
16: Megiddo: The Omega Code 2 (2001)
Michael Biehn as President David Alexander
After the death of Richard Benson (he’s one of the earlier Presidents listed you completely forgot about because his entry was one sentence long, and he got killed by the Anti-Christ at the beginning of this very ridiculous movie), David Alexander became President, and had to stop his brother, Stone Alexander, the President of the EU, and also, like, Satan? No, we don’t know how you can have the President of the EU and the President of the United States come from the same family, and yes, we’re definitely skimming over the part where one of the dudes like, turns into Satan at one point towards the end of the film. Basically, Alexander is the good brother, and his evil brother wants to create the Apocalypse? And has Satan powers. This movie is fucking weird. Anyway, the President is supposed to be the “good” side of this “biblical” battle between good and evil. And good wins. So yeah, if you stop the world from ending in a shitty movie, that’s enough to get you pretty high on our list.
Speaking of shitty movies with technically-good Presidents…
15: Pixels (2015)
Kevin James as U.S. President Will Cooper
Yeah, we know, “Kevin James plays the 15th best fictional President of all time” is the kind of sentence that can get you arrested in countries with less freedom, but hear us out. President Cooper brings together the team of elite arcade video game players who save the planet from the invading…vi..video game characters, and helps his underachieving buddy Sam Brenner (Adam Sandler) regain the confidence after losing a Donkey Kong championship match in 1982 and…listen, this is a stupid movie. Like, Kevin James plays the President, and he’s a good one, and we’re supposed to just accept it. As a movie President, he’s fine, because he saves the world or whatever, but this movie was trash.
14: Idiocracy (2006)
Luke Wilson as Joe Bauers
The simple joke in the movie is that Joe Bauers, a man of average intelligence, would be by far the best president of America in over a hundred years. But the “cosmic brain” joke is that Joe Bauers, a man of average intelligence, would probably end up being a better President than 90% of the people who have actually run for office in the past twenty years.
13: The American President (1995)
Michael Douglas as President Andrew Shepherd
President Shepherd starts the movie with a 63% approval rating and tries to pass a bipartisan crime control bill, which are all good signs of a president. When his opponents attempt smear campaigns about his character, he takes the high road. By the end of the movie he ends up supporting an even tougher crime bill, and an environmental bill. And he gets to bang 1995-era Annette Bening. Pretty good president.
12: Hot Shots! Part Deux (1993)
Lloyd Bridges as President Thomas “Tug” Benson
Former Admiral and current President Tug Benson isn’t the smartest President we’ve ever had. There’s no denying that. But he sends himself on a risky mission to help save Charlie Sheen’s Topper Harley, and defeats Saddam Hussein in one-on-one combat, which is more than enough to vault him up to this spot.
11: Mafia! (1998)
Christina Applegate as President Diane Steen
Holy hell, is the most competent fictional female President the Diane Keaton stand-in from a zany The Godfather spoof Jay Mohr vehicle? Oh God. And she’s this high because she manages to, in becoming President, bring the world on the brink of compete and total disarmament, only to put that shit on pause to help her old boyfriend take down his enemies within the mob? Sigh. We were kind of excited about, you know, feminism in fictional politics for just a half second there. Anyway, this is as good of a spot as any to end this article. You guys. We’re almost done. Just ten more fictional Presidents left. Yes, he’s on that list. And him too. Stop shouting out suggestions, we finished compiling this list like literally a month ago.
Anyway, see you tomorrow for our final entry in this silly, silly series.