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7 Most Electable and Impeachable Presidents In Movies
The Mighty and the Lame Ducks Presidents in Movies
By Dirk Sonniksen
February 15, 2010
7 Most Electable and Impeachable Presidents In Movies
© Mania/Bob Trate
In honor of President’s Day we bring forth the best and the worst presidents in film. Some of these brave Commanders have been tested by some of the worst catastrophes known to man and have come out on top. Others have failed miserably, actually precipitating cataclysmic events with sheer stupidity, while others just got lucky. Whatever the case, they all have a story, and we’ve compiled seven of our favorites.
7. President James Dale (Jack Nicholson)
The Movie: Mars Attacks (1996)
Analysis: When aliens attack, President James Dale (Jack Nicholson) is probably not the guy you want running the show. He’s a flashy dresser and a smooth talker, but this guy has zero confidence, relying almost completely on his inner circle to guide his decisions. Besides dishing out loads of B.S., Dale is also far too forgiving for a president. Seeing an alien invasion as the ultimate in White House publicity, President Dale manages to let the aliens run roughshod over the United States. He does finally order a nuclear strike, but it does little to deter these loud, obnoxious invaders from Mars.
Verdict: From a purely fictional, historical standpoint, there are no friendly aliens. It’s our opinion Dale should have pulled out the ICBMs from the get-go, regardless of whether they were effective or not. Dale gets a thumbs-down for being, in general, a dumbass who believes that we can all just get along. Sadly, we must send this one to the Senate floor for an impeachment trial. Let’s hope he gets the two-thirds needed to send him packing.
6. President Lindberg (Tommy 'Tiny' Lister)
The Movie: The Fifth Element (1997)
Analysis: President Lindberg likes to watch things unfold from afar. While Zorg is hatching his evil plans searching for the stones, Lindberg sits comfortably in a space ship far from danger. He talks tough, and looks like one mean dude, but when all is said and done, Lindberg can’t seem to make up his mind. Much like President Dale, Lindberg listens more to his aides than to his gut, and lets events escalate out-of-control instead of nipping them in the bud. President Lindberg also has the worst fashion-sense of any of our candidates, even for the early ’90s.
Verdict: While admired for his intense “WTF do you mean it didn’t work” look, overall President Lindberg is super-ineffective, allowing calamity after calamity just to progress the storyline. He may seem like some badass ultimate fighter, but it’s hard to take him seriously when it looks like he’s reading off of cue cards. Alert Congress! It’s time for impeachment talks!
5. The President (Donald Pleasence)
The Movie: Escape From New York (1981)
Analysis: Simply known as The President, this guy exemplifies everything bad about a president. After Air Force One is hijacked, the president manages to flee via escape pod, only to be captured by thugs in New York, which is now used as one gigantic prison. This says a lot about his security detail, with the high-jacker managing to sneak on board as a stewardess. That said, this guy cowers like a school girl in front of his attackers, a trait totally unbecoming of the leader of the free world. To make matters worse, after he is rescued by Snake, he completely ignores the trouble Plissken went through to save his behind. Luckily, Snake Plissken is not the forgiving kind, and “The President” gets what’s coming to him.
Verdict: Being a sissy is bad enough, but ignoring the badassness of The Plissken? Well, that’s just unacceptable. It’s our opinion that impeachment is too good for this guy and other arrangements should be made. We suggest the guillotine. It was good enough for the French and a nice beheading is quite the crowd-pleaser. After all, this guy deserves to lose more than a finger.
4. President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho (Terry Alan Crews)
The Movie: Idiocracy
Analysis: President Camacho best represents the current situation in America. While not quite to the point of Mike Judge’s picture of a really dumbed-down America, we’re getting there. President Camacho does pose a bit of a dilemma, because while he isn’t the brightest star in the sky (watering the crops with “Brawndo”), he does know how to party, and we can certainly appreciate his enthusiasm. Fortunately for President Camacho, Joe, Army Librarian from the past, comes along and has just barely enough sense to turn things around.
Verdict: In an ever-changing world that seems to favor the dumbest pop-culture icons over anything remotely passing for intelligence, there has to be a place for President Camacho. Porn star and wrestling champion, this guy deserves a chance to run the most powerful nation on Earth. The best thing about Camacho? Great campaign ads and very colorful dialogue during campaign season. Thumbs up!
3. President Thomas Wilson (Danny Glover)
The Movie: 2012 (2009)
Analysis: President Thomas Wilson has that soothing quality you want in a Commander-in-Chief, and when the end of the world is nigh, his ability to think on his feet proves invaluable. Sure, the majority of the planet’s residents will perish, and tickets for the ‘arks’ are selling for quite a premium, but at least Wilson has a plan. While capitalism still plays into living through the apocalypse, Wilson’s calm and soothing speech to the masses seems to placate the majority of them, sending them home to be with their families when disaster strikes.
Verdict: Were it not for the fact that President Wilson decides to stay behind and perish with the rest of humanity, we would gladly put this guy up for re-election. He does get points knocked off for his Sanford and Son declaration (“I’m coming home, Dorothy”) as the White House is consumed by a giant rogue wave (with Aircraft Carrier in-tow), but hey, it was in the script. All rise for a moment of silence, while we remember President Thomas Wilson. You would have been a shoo-in for another term.
2. President Thomas J. Whitmore (Bill Pullman)
The Movie: Independence Day (1996)
Analysis: With President Whitmore’s approval ratings seemingly in the crapper, what better way to boost those opinion polls than a successful battle with aliens? Whitmore gets high marks for his attempts to evacuate America’s big cities in the wake of an all-out invasion and for having the sense to get the hell out of the White House. An articulate leader with past combat experience and a picture-perfect family, Whitmore epitomizes what many see as the ideal president.
Verdict: President Whitmore would undoubtedly win a second term. With the loss of his wife, and Whitmore leading the final strike against the alien invaders, his ratings would go through the roof. The test for Whitmore in his second go-around would be his ability to rebuild a nation devastated by war. He would also make a great candidate for The Bachelor.
1. President James Marshall (Harrison Ford)
The Movie: Air Force One (1997)
Analysis: President James Marshall doesn’t negotiate with terrorists, and he does not abandon Air Force One, even when a group of crazy Russians have taken control. Yes, that escape pod is empty, and now you guys are in trouble. Come on, you don’t think this guy would leave without his wife and daughter! Marshall has the whole package: he’s handsome, well-spoken, resolute, and he’s got experience in Vietnam. This experience will serve him well aboard Air Force One and will be the undoing of Gary Oldman and the rest of his chain-smoking, vodka-drinking bad guys.
Verdict: Marshall may go off script (see opening speech), but we love him for it. Marshall has that certain something that we want in a president. It might be that we like all things Harrison Ford, or simply that we’d love to see a president practice what he preaches. Whatever the case, we’re certain that if term limits were to be lifted, President James Marshall would most likely overtake FDR as the longest serving president ever.