On Monday we had the pleasure of witnessing one of the many things that makes our country unique and stresses to the world the greatness of democracy. The Presidential Inauguration represents a bloodless transition of power that truly makes me proud of my country, despite my feelings toward our current administration. Audiences are flocking to see Daniel “and the Oscar goes to” Day- Lewis in Lincoln. Bill Murray is portraying FDR in the upcoming Hyde Park on Hudson. Yes- our media in every format is buzzing about presidents both real and fictional.
With all of this in mind (and because I am on vacation this week), I present my favorite actors portraying fictional presidents:
Sure the character’s name is Stanton and not Clinton, but this one is almost too close to reality for comfort. Travolta’s southern good ole’ boy with a weakness for fried foods and the ladies screams Bill Clinton in every possible way. Primary Colors is probably as close to a portrayal of our 42nd president we will ever see. Travolta gets all of those Clintonesque gestures and voice inflections just right, while highlighting the empathy and powerful public speaking ability of the man.
So Jack Ryan got elected president, and hijackers led by Gary Oldman are trying to take over his plane while the first family is on board. This outrageous and fantastic plot reads more like Die Hard. The story centers on the idea that a president with “Military experience” has intimate enough knowledge on the inner workings of an airliner to foil a terrorist plot.
So Jack Lemon, a Republican, was president until James Garner, a Democrat, ran against him. James Garner was president until he was beaten out by Dan Aykroyd. When both Lemon and Garner are framed for a murder, they are forced to go on the run together. This anti-buddy comedy sought to capitalize on the highly successful Grumpy Old Men. With their accounts frozen and the free world they used to serve hunting their famous faces, the two rivals must work together to clear their names, and stay alive.
Sellers plays the doveish, rather-emasculated President Merkin Muffley. Of all the characters on this list Muffley is the one you would least want in office during a nuclear war. Maybe that was Kuberick’s point. His bald head and effete manner suggest liberal presidential aspirant Adlai Stevenson, though Stanley Kubrick’s satire is equally contemptuous of the hawkish faction represented by George C. Scott’s General Turgidson. Sellers plays his president with restraint. If you are expecting the overt and physical comedy of The Pink Panther you may be disappointed.
Aliens attack, not the undocumented kind, the flying saucer kind. Aliens kill first lady, and others. Young untested president pilots a fighter jet to destroy aliens and save the planet. Nothing more needs to be said.
There you have it a Mount Rushmore plus 1 of fictional commanders in Chief.