In honor of the conclusion of the 2016 Presidential Election, Life + the movies gives you the best and worst fictional United States Presidents. I tried to stick with non-comedic presidential portrayals, with one exception. Other than that, the rankings are based on how effective and Presidential these characters appear. You know - If they would actually be a good POTUS.
Frank Underwood -- a man with a political approach to match his initials. Possibly the most ruthless, cunning, and manipulative of the list. Underwood wasn't elected into office, but slithered his way to the White House like a pure blood Slytheryn. He literally has killed for his power. The man surrounded himself with people whose best quality was their ability to help Frank Underwood. However, the character also holds the distinction of being one of the most entertaining and captivating of the list. House of Cards busted onto Netflix like a juggernaut because of Spacey, but also limped to conclusion. In any event, Frank Underwood was not a President of virtue and honesty. Plus, he had that weird threesome with his wife and a Secret Service agent. (look it up yourself, I'm not linking it here, y perv)
Not bad leader, I guess. James Dale actually gives a pretty beautiful speech to his Martian invaders. A true political, super powered, spin zone speech. But, he's just a total moron throughout the movie. He's not the reason the Martian invaders came a-knocking. He just didn't really do anything all that presidential or triumphant for a guy that should be the Commander in Chief of the United States. But, at least Glenn Close got all the best clothing before she was CRUSHED.
President Charles Logan is probably the biggest scumbag on the list. Almost definitely a worse person than Frank Underwood, but he's not nearly as smart or charismatic. The guy commits legitimate treason against his country and does it all for profit. He was highly incompetent and even tried to cover it up by arresting Jack Bauer. JACK BAUER! Jack Bauer (you have to say his full name) might be one of the most badass characters to ever grace the small screen. If everyone listened to Jack Bauer, the show would be called 12. And President Logan tried to challenge him. Such a dummy.
- Gene Hackman in Absolute Power because he kills a woman. He strangles her and Clint Eastwood sees the entire thing. However, Clint only sees it because is burglarizing the house. But, Hackman might have been the Vice President. I can't recall.
- Fitzgerald Grant from Scandal. Cheats on his wife a bunch and I think he's corrupt. I don't know, I've only seen a couple episodes. I swear, only a few! And I didn't even want to watch them!
- President Snow in the Hunger Games franchise. Admittedly, I only saw the first two movies but he seems like a total jerk. He makes people fight to the death for food and for other entertainment. But in his defense, the economy in his district seems to be BOOMING!
Harrison Ford has no shortage of cool characters in his filmography and President James Marshall is no exception. When a mole Secret Service agent and a bunch of Russian terrorists take over Air Force One (that's the name of the movie!) the President is the best hope for survival. Although the premise is a bit silly, the movie is anything but. Air Force One is fun and re-watchable movie from start to finish. That can be attributed largely to the performances from Harrison Ford as the President and Gary Oldman as the main protagonist. Gary Oldman, by the way, belongs on the Life + the movies short list of true Hollywood chameleons. President Marshall hits the list of best fictional Presidents for single handedly taking out an entire terrorist team and for delivering the iconic "Get off my plane" while doing it.
ICONIC SPEECH. I think every American that lived through 1996 knows the speech President Whitmore delivers in Independence Day. I have no idea what this fictional POTUS' policies are. I have no clue if he's a 2nd Amendment guy or if he's been working on getting an education bill through Senate. I don't even know how long he's been in office. But if you can stand up on a rickety pickup truck with a megaphone and inspire about 100 people into taking down the mothership and saving humanity, you are an amazing President. I bet his his State of the Unions had to be electric. But, he doesn't stop at the speech. Since he's an ex-naval pilot he hops right in a jet and battles with his men, side by side. Phenomenal leadership! Although.....he didn't know about Area 51. Must not have read the Book of Secrets.
When we look at President Josiah Bartlet, you know we are dealing with FCTION. Never in the history of the world has there been a single person more virtuous, intelligent, driven, ethical, witty, and charismatic all rolled into one man. He was genius, Nobel Prize economist with a world renowned cardiologist wife. His Great Great (Great?) Grandfather actually signed the Declaration of Independence. He always had personal independent wealth but still strived to pursue civic service for the betterment of humanity. This fictional POTUS benefits from 6-7 years of storyline and constant victory in said stories. The fictional President Josiah Bartlet should be added to the real Mt. Rushmore.
The West Wing, in it's self, is a "tremendous" TV show. I'd go as far to say it's one of the handful of transcendent television shows within the last 20 years. The West Wing aided in the career skyrocket of Aaron Sorkin, one of the best entertainment writers of all time. Don't believe me? Pull up his IMDB and try to tell me for a half second he isn't a genius. The West Wing also benefits from a rockstar cast for seven straight seasons. But I 'digest'. If you don't love Josiah Bartlet like all of fictional Sorkin America, just watch this.....
- Morgan Freeman in Deep Impact. Pretty much any fictional President that deals with end of the world scenarios belongs on this list. But, Morgan Freeman has an awesome voice.
- Michael Douglas as The American President. The first true bachelor POTUS. The film focuses more on the balance of life and running the free world. But he's still a good President.
- David Palmer 24. He started as a virtuous and improbable candidate and ended as an amazing president in the show. And now....he sells insurance.
I know I missed a few. But only a few, no more than that.....bai