Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Great (film) Debates vol. 13

With Obama's approval ratings approaching 0.0% like a Delta House GPA, we need a replacement. And there's nowhere better to look for said replacement than Hollywood!

Who is your favorite Hollywood (film/TV) President?

Panelist: AndrewPrice

I'm going with William Devane as Henry Hayes in Stargate SG-1. Not only does Devane look the part, but he carries himself like a president. Too often actors play presidents like they're noble geniuses or gosh-darnity, simple country boys, and it just seems fake. Devane plays a guy who is smart enough and political enough to be believable as a President, yet he always does what's best for the country, but he's also practical about doing it. In other words, he's not perfection/idealism personified, but he's a good guy. He'd make a great president.

Panelist: ScottDS

Oh man, is this a tough one! As much as I’d love to pick President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho (Terry Crews) from Mike Judge’s Idiocracy, I keep coming back to President Thomas J. Whitmore (Bill Pullman) from Independence Day: Gulf War veteran, family man, and ballsy enough to go into battle with aliens. I don’t know nearly enough about politics to provide a more detailed analysis but I’d probably vote for him! "I don’t understand, where does all this come from? How do you get funding for something like this?" (Honorable mention: President James Dale [Jack Nicholson] in Mars Attacks!.)

Panelist: Tennessee Jed

I think my favorite president on film was Charlton Heston who portrayed Andrew Jackson in The Buccaneer and The President’s Lady. He looked like him and had the gravitas. Raymond Massey as Abe Lincoln is just as good though in Abe Lincoln in Illinois.

Panelist: T-Rav

Morgan Freeman, hands down. Yes, he’s only been the President in one film that I know of (Deep Impact), but he’s just got such dignity and gravitas about him, such an aura of wisdom and calm, you can’t help but think he would make a good executive. Or at least you would have before we elected another guy to the presidency based on him looking cool and presidential and all (snark snark snark). Plus, he played God in Evan Almighty, so he’s obviously qualified.

Comments? Thoughts? Who would you choose and why?


Floyd R. Turbo said...

Dennis Haysbert as President Palmer in 24 is the gold standard for Hollywood Presidents.

Harrison Ford in Air Force one is second -- especially given the real life POTUS (Clinton) was so obviously not like the Ford POTUS the comparisons while unfair and unrealistic were nevertheless awesome.

Floyd R. Turbo said...

Whoops... big 3d place ups to President Muffley in Dr. Strangelove... "you can't fight in here... this is the war room!" -- classic.

And the best Hollywood executive office holder of all time is William J. Lepetomane from Blazing Saddles.

Floyd R. Turbo said...

my kingdom for an edit button! :-)

Governor Lepetomane of course.

Anonymous said...

I suppose we'll have to do another one of these one day: favorite portrayal of a real president.

Great choices, though I admit I'm only familiar with T-Rav's choice as well as my own. :-)

Another honorable mention: President Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho Marx) in Duck Soup. One of his song lyrics is quite relevant:

"The last man who ran this place, he didn't know what to do with it / If you think things are bad off now, just wait till I get through with it!"

AndrewPrice said...

Great choices everyone. It's interesting we all came up with different choices.

Jed, I thoroughly enjoyed both both of those films and thought Heston was great! I haven't see the Abe Lincoln film though.

T-Rav, I used to like Freeman a lot, but I have to say he's worn on my in the past 4-5 years. I can't quite say why, but he just has. And then his anti-Tea Party didn't help last month.

Scott, I LOVE Dwayne as the president! LOL! Hilarious movie too -- though sadly too close to reality. :(

Pullman was an excellent President too, a real contrast to Clinton at the time.

AndrewPrice said...

Floyd, An edit button would be great, but Blogger doesn't allow that for some reason. Oh well.

I figured somebody would like Palmer from 24 -- I expect he's a very popular choice.

I'm on the fence about Muffley. I thought he was a hilarious character, but I was never able to see him as someone who could really get elected -- even as a caricature of someone who could get elected. But he does have some great line -- though George C. Scott really steals all the scenes in that movie! :)

AndrewPrice said...

Scott & Floyd (of Threedonia)... Rufus T. Firefly! I should have thought of that! LOL!

"I really must be going..." :)

Anonymous said...

Andrew, I believe "Hello, I must be going" is from Animal Crackers. :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, That could be -- it's been a couple years since I've seen them all. But I thought that's what he kept singing when they were trying to convince him when he first shows up as President. Hmm.

The say the memory is the first thing to go.... and you know the rest.

LawHawkRFD said...

You've already covered all my choices, so I guess I'll just go with Harrison Ford. Many of the best at playing the part wouldn't last two minutes in the real job, though. Obama looked at the presidency as a "part," and what a mess he's made. Even his "fans" saw it that way, and gave him a Nobel Prize since they couldn't give him an Oscar. Perfect line for Obama: "I'm not a president, but I play one on TV."

T-Rav said...

I think William Devane was the Secretary of State (or Defense) in one or two seasons of 24. He looked very presidential, if I remember correctly.

Bill Pullman did a fairly good job in "Independence Day," though I had a hard time seeing him in action at the end. The scenes where he was just being Chief Executive though, yes he was very believable.

I haven't seen either of the films Jed mentioned, though I understand "Abe Lincoln in Illinois" is supposed to be a classic of sorts.

Great choices, everyone!

T-Rav said...

Andrew, that was slightly irritating, I agree (though I think I sent my answer before that anti-Tea Party crap came up). I still like him as an actor, though. Although, if I had known then about his--um--"dalliances" with his stepdaughter, I might have revised my decision.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, That's very true. A lot of these guys look good reading the lines and "acting Presidential," but they are only giving a tiny portion of what the job entails.

That's actually my problem with a lot of the portrayals of presidents. They make them so perfect in one way or another (or so insane) that there's no way this person could really exist. I prefer the guys who seem more real, like they actually could do the whole job.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Devane looks made for the part because he looks a lot like a non-drunken Kennedy. Plus, he carries himself a lot like a politician, though always with a but more charm and as a good guy with a slight dark side.

On Freeman, yeah, that's annoying. It hasn't hurt him as an actor for me yet, but then he might not be done yapping. But even beyond that, I've grown tired of him. I think he's just reached his sell-by date for me. So while I like what he's done, I'm not thrilled to see him in new movies at this point.

And I really don't like people using him for voice-over work anymore. In an odd sort of way, his voice has become a cliche in my mind.

BevfromNYC said...

Scott - I was going to say exactly the same Presidents!

And I think Dwayne would make the perfect leader of the Zuccotti-ocracy...

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, That is great! LOL! Dwayne could run OWS island! He would be PERFECT!!!

(P.S. I thought you might give us a GWTW President!)

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: On the insane end, I nominate Anthony Hopkins for his portrayal of Nixon. The performance was so bad that even I was yelling at the screen "he didn't act like that." Readers on this blog know I couldn't stand Nixon, but Hopkins made me feel almost sorry for him. He kept doing this thing with his tongue that looked like his Nixon was about to have a major stroke. Ick! On the other hand, best comic depiction of Nixon: Dan Aykroyd on SNL.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I agree. The Nixon Hopkins portrayed could not have gotten elected in any country.

When it comes to SNL, by the way, my favorite is easily Darrell Hammond as Bill Clinton. He was just a ton of fun all around -- way better than the real Clinton. LOL!

Anonymous said...

Great minds, Bev!

Hmm... SNL presidents. I don't know. For me, it's a toss-up between Dana Carvey's George H.W. Bush and Phil Hartman's Bill Clinton (with Hammond's Clinton and Aykroyd's Jimmy Carter a runner-up).

And even though he wasn't elected, Norm MacDonald's Bob Dole impression was an instant classic for me (I started watching SNL around that time.)

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, Hartman was excellent too as Clinton.

They did a couple skits with Reagan too that I liked. They had one in particular where Jimmy Stewart visited Reagan and Reagan kept trying to make him leave so he could get back to work. It finally ends with:

Stewart: "Dutch, you've changed!"
Reagan: "Jimmy, don't make me kill you."


Floyd R. Turbo said...

Andrew... Threedonia/Rufus... you sniffed us out.

There were originally Three of us hence Threedonia... now we're like the Big 10 -- we're misnamed but tied to a number due to our vast readership. And by "vast" I of course mean piss-ant.

Agreed on Muffley.

I'm amazed at how idealized Liberal fantasy POTUS (POTI?) are... the most annoying being Michael Douglas in American President -- Kevin Kline is a lot more likeable but no less unrealistic in Dave.

The POTUS in Seven Days in May the same way... he's a nice principled guy, but his foreign policy is akin to bending over to the Soviets -- dangerously naive and thus -- just as dangerous as any faux-psychotic Nixon.

These Liberal fantasy Presidents are like intellectual Lennys -- very nice and well-meaning but nonetheless deadly.

AndrewPrice said...

Floyd, The Marx Brothers at the top of your site were a pretty good give away! LOL!

I agree completely about the idealized liberal presidents. Douglas in particular was annoying. It's childish in its simplicity and short-sightedness. They say, "gee, what if we had a president who helped people." But they never ask the other questions, like who is he robbing to get the money? What do you do about the people who disagree with him? Why do you think he would do this and ignore all of his own interest groups? Is it even his job to "help people"? And what are the long term effects of this stupidity?

It's childish thinking personified: see people we like who want something, give it to them, everything ends happily. There is no thought of the consequences.

Ed said...

Bruce Greenwood as the President in "National Treasure 2". He was a good guy.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, I think the comic imitations of Freeman's voice for narrations and such are much more enticing than the original in some ways. It's like a joke everyone's in on.

Is there such a thing as a "non-drunken Kennedy?" Personally, I'm skeptical.

Speaking of which, the portrayals of the whole family--Jack, Bobby and the rest--in that recent miniseries were supposed to be quite good, from what I've heard. I don't remember the actual actors, though.

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, Sorry, I missed your comment somehow. Yeah, I liked Greenwood a lot in that role. I liked the fact he wasn't a jerk.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, It is hard to imagine a non-drunken Kennedy, isn't it? But I think Devane is what it would look like, if there is such a thing.

I actually haven't watched the miniseries. The Kennedys don't fascinate me and so seeing that is low on my list -- and I've got way too much else I need to watch still. Ug. I need a couple more hours in the day!

Well pinpointed on it being a "joke everyone is in on." I think that pretty much defines a cliche. At this point, if I was doing a serious movie, I would never use his voice for a voice-over.

Outlaw13 said...

Muffley WAS elected President of the United States, he ran under the name of Jimmy Carter.

He wasn't president yet in the film but Tom Berenger as Teddy Roosevelt in Rough Riders was killer. Cliff Robertson as JFK in PT-109 was really well done as well.

AndrewPrice said...

Outlaw, Excellent point! We did have our own President Muffley.

Cliff Robertson, yeah he had a very presidential air to him!

Tennessee Jed said...

sorry for not being around the last 2 or 3 days. Every year, I play host to a group of current and former insurance executives with the Tennessee Invitational Golf Tournament. As host, I have to do a lot of stuff that pretty much occupied all my time. :) Anyway, some great choices by everybody. What was interesting to me is how the mind focuses on one thing and excludes other interpretations. For whatever reason, I focused exclusively on portrayals of real presidents rather than fictional ones. In the end, I don't think my choices would have changed all that much unless they could have brought back Andre the Giant to play fat algore. Oh wait, he got beat, didn't he. Thank goodness for that.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, No problem. Real life should always take precedence over the internet! :)

Andre the Giant as Algore! LOL!

I thought it was interesting that everyone seemed to choose different presidents for very different reasons. You chose a portrayal of a real President. I chose someone I think is fairly realistic. T-Rav and Scott chose more ideal guys, but put a different take on what they consider ideal.

And then the comments added several other excellent candidates I hadn't even thought about.

It's been an interesting exercise!

BevfromNYC said...

I would just like to add that the worst actor to play a President is Barack Obama. But that's just me.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Isn't that the truth!

tryanmax said...

Hmmm. I guess political films and shows aren't my thing. I don't have an answer. And even presidents from other types of movies don't impress me much.

I think Oliver North becomes president at the end of Canadian Bacon which I shamefully must admit to have seen. I think he would be far better than what Michael Moore seems to be implying.

AndrewPrice said...

Some people really like Canadian Bacon, but to me it was just flat. It was like the film was afraid to offend anyone too much, but it wasn't good-natured enough either to really laugh at it.

Eric P said...

TV - Dave Chappelle as Black Bush.
Film - Kevin Kline in Dave. OK, so he was only playing the Pres. Seconding Terry Crews in Idiocracy and Harrison Ford in Air Force One.

AndrewPrice said...

Eric, Terry Crews was great! I wish that movie got more recognition.

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