It’s Presidents Day Weekend. Great news for those with a day off because of it, which in this case actually includes me. And like we did for election day movies its time for a top 5 or 10 list.
But who cares about the actual presidents, no this list is about “Faux presidents”. So no JFK, Nixon, etc. And forget about Rutherford B. Hayes, Chester Arthur, Franklin Pierce, Millard Fillmore (though they’ve never even been acted out in movies) – these are previous “actual” US presidents who have had movies in which they were represented. And certainly forget about Daniel Day Lewis, playing the role of Lincoln, also an actual US president. Here are 5 that never existed, in no special order.
1) President Thomas “Tug” Benson: the late Lloyd Bridges in Hot Shots (president role was in part two). Dumb comedy, the way a faux president should be.
2) President Tom Beck – Deep Impact was a 1998 movie and Morgan Freeman played the role of Pres Tom Beck. I remember when this movie came out, the whole controversy in the US about the role of president being played by an African American actor (let alone naming his character Tom Beck!!!!). And the whole wave of “world ending” movies circa late 90’s. I didn’t like this movie, but still remember it for some reason.
3) President James Dale – Jack Nicholson in Mars Attacks. Also in the 90’s (when my movie watching and influential days were at its finest). Its a Tim Burton film before it got too Tim Burton-y. Watchable if you’re in the mood to watch a movie that is “that” bad (which does happen at times). Which leads to…..
4) President Thomas J. Whitmore – Independence Day. This was on TV a few years ago. I recalled how it was a big money blockbuster back in the days, yet all I could think of was that the visuals were pretty poorly made, and movies in the 80’s were more discreet about doing imagery in a way one could still believe. This was big budget once?! However now, I’m more “glass half full”. And avid about “no budget / low budget” movies, like lo-fi music had won me over for a while…. and it helps me cue up a good choice for #5.
5) Unnamed President – Fail Safe (the 1963 version directed by Lumet, featuring Henry Fonda as the president, who I don’t even think had a name) was so lofi yet it totally captivated me when I saw it (you guessed it, some point in the 90’s). However, it was tacky in the right way. It didn’t look like anything recent, but you still watched it.
The one problem with this, is that I think a fair few movies with fictional presidents didn’t have names at all on them. As for all time “actual” president representation – here’s a score card of how many movies were about each “real” president.