President’s Day, and President’s Week (for those luckier) is a great time to remember the great leaders we had in the United States. This year, more than most, we were reminded of perhaps the best President in our history, Abraham Lincoln, when Steven Spielberg released “Lincoln” in theatres, starring Daniel Day Lewis.
But there are plenty of great Presidents we should remember today; those that led us to greatness….on the silver screen. *(CAUTION: SPOILERS!~@!!@)*
President Andrew Shepherd – The American President (Michael Douglas)
Not only was he tasked with leading our country, he was a widow during a re-election campaign TRYING TO FIND LOVE. Of course, that love was with Annette Bening, a lobbyist, so that threw a whole new wrench into his daily activities and he had to navigate an Aaron Sorkin script, so we know few Presidents have ever had more social and verbal hurdles to overcome while in the office.
President Mays Gilliam – Head of State (Chris Rock)
Think overcoming the need for love is important? Try becoming the first black President as a last minute replacement nominee.
Mays Gilliam was just a lowly Alderman in Washington D.C., whose significant other left him when it seemed like he had no aspirations. How wrong she would be. Following a tour of the United States to campaign and bringing upon his charismatic brother (played by the Late Bernie Mac), he was able to surpass Sharon Stone’s cousin and become President of the United States.
President Tom Beck – Deep Impact (Morgan Freeman)
The World is only going to end. You need one man to lead you to the end. Who are you going to pick?
Few people could calm the people of the United States quite like Tom Beck, a stoic leader who had to come up with a plan to save as many people as possible.
He was smart enough to come up with a two-pronged plan:
1. Send a team of astronauts to the Comet to destroy it using Nuclear Weapons
2. Create shelter in an underground caves of Missouri.
It wouldn’t save everyone (you couldn’t stop Tea Leoni from thinking he could go one on one with a Tidal Wave), but he was firm and strong in his actions and wound up saving as many people as possible when no space object hit any land.
“President” – Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (Tim Robbins)
“I want a kajillion bajillion dollars! BAHAHAHAHAAHA”
President James Marshall – Air Force One (Harrison Ford)
A terrorist boards Air Force One with his henchmen and takes the President, his family, and his advisers captive. Who will save the day?
The President of course.
Showing the bravery and toughness few Presidents would have, the former Vietnam veteran Marshall decides to stay on the plane, letting a safety pod fall without him, and try to reclaim the plane….FOR AMERICA.
It is a race against time, as it is the President’s life being played for a trade of an imprisoned Kazakh leader and terrorist Gary Oldman is executing a person every hour.
In the end, only good or evil could prevail…and so could one of the greatest lines in movie history as well:
President Thomas J. Whitmore – Independence Day (Bill Pullman)
He had his ups and downs. At first he did not believe Jeff Goldblum when he drove towards Washington D.C. on the eve of an alien attack to warn the President of impending doom. He also did not give enough time to the American public to escape destruction in the U.S.’ major cities, including his wife.
But after escaping D.C. in Air Force One, and finally finding out about Area 51, President Whitmore stood up and tried to combat the aliens. A nuclear attack over Houston was unsuccessful, but leading a ragtag crew of pilots, including himself, against the aliens – as Captain Steven Hiller (Will Smith) and David Levinson (Goldblum) took the last remaining spaceship to space – humans were finally able to strike against the spaceships.
Using their blue death ray against them, the President was able to relay this information all over the world, allowing the Earth to be saved.
President David Palmer – 24 (Dennis Haysbert)
There can’t be a list of great Presidents without considering perhaps the greatest TV President of our time, David Palmer. A batty wife, troubled kids, politicians pursuing his job and his power, and three separate terrorist attacks were no match for him during his running for and time in office.
Using his best weapon, and really, America’s best weapon, Jack Bauer, Palmer was able to stand tall and keep the interests of the American people first, even deciding against re-election for the best of his family and the nation.