Worst Presidents in Film

For every Bernie Sanders, there’s a dozen Trumps, and the same can be said for film presidencies. Though not all those elected into the cinematic White House single-handedly doom the entire planet, more often than not these fictional Leaders of The Free World are about as useless as the States’ current voting system.

Sometimes you can’t blame them for their incompetency; heck, President James Dale’s optimism in the face of an alien invasion is pretty admirable in Mars Attacks! – but Jack Nicholson’s leadership skills leave much to be desired. Your average citizen is smart enough to know that arranging a ‘diplomatic’ meeting with hostile extra-terrestrials isn’t going to end well, as is avoiding formally addressing said invasion to the nation. So when Dale is ultimately killed at the green hands of his captors, there’s little sympathy to be spared.

“Your average citizen is smart enough to know that arranging a ‘diplomatic’ meeting with hostile extra-terrestrials isn’t going to end well, as is avoiding formally addressing said invasion to the nation”

The inadequacies of Dr. Strangelove‘s Head of State also leads to global conflict. When faced with the prospect of nuclear war, the best Merkin Muffley can do is abysmally plea for his own men to stop arguing. Despite his shy attempts to win over his Russian counterpart (both played by Peter Sellers), he’s simply not equipped to even deal with the tensions in his opinionated cabinet, let alone the Soviet Union, subsequently triggering the catastrophic doomsday machine.

However if there’s one movie president that defies all logic, it’s Leslie Nielsen in Scary Movie 3.Only appropriate for an actor who eventually ruined the parody genre to star in modern day celluloid torture, President Baxter Harris is so unqualified for the job that even dubbing it as ‘spoof’ is inexcusable. This Commander-in-Chief is racist, a nympho nudist, and capable of urinating from his forefinger – so perhaps he’s perfectly elected in this movie franchise after all.

“Billy Bob Thornton’s short stint as an unnamed Head of State in Love Actually is equally misogynistic, implying he sexually harassed Downing Street staff members, leading to Hugh Grant’s Prime Minister threatening to break ties with the US altogether”

Silver screen presidents aren’t always inept though; much like real life, it’s their slimy actions that can make them the worst of the White House. Tricky Dick’s infamous Watergate hijinks pale in comparison to Absolute Power’s Allen Richmond, who has the Secret Service kill his mistress after threatening to sue, acting above the law by covering up her death. Billy Bob Thornton’s short stint as an unnamed Head of State in Love Actually is equally misogynistic, implying he sexually harassed Downing Street staff members, leading to Hugh Grant’s Prime Minister threatening to break ties with the US altogether.

Ultimately, if we’re really scraping the bottom of the electoral ballot box, look no further than Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Alas, the 16th President fighting the undead just isn’t as entertaining as it sounds, turning what could have been a fun movie mash-up into a CGI-filled, poorly paced popcorn flick that took its silly premise far too seriously. And considering Daniel Day-Lewis’ Oscar winning portrayal came out the same year, it’s safe to say this presidency is the most worthy of stepping down from office.

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