It’s Presidents Day here in the US, and our country could not be more on edge about who the next leader of the free world will be. This year’s election campaigns are getting people excited around the globe. The tension is building with each debate as our candidates fight each other for the people’s vote. It’s a very real battle out there and everyone is paying attention.
Today we are proud to bring you something very special. Our team of film fans has worked tirelessly to bring you the ultimate Presidential face-off. The President of the United States has been a pivotal character in countless feature films, and we have pitted the best of the best together in an executive deathmatch of epic proportions. Behold the Movie President Kumite in all its glory.
President Bush (W.) vs. President Camacho (Idiocracy)
It’s a battle of the witless! In the red corner, we have college drunkard and malleable sap George W. Bush (Josh Brolin) as seen through the eyes of provocateur director Oliver Stone. In the Brawndo corner, we have President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho (Terry Crews) from the sci-fi cautionary tale Idiocracy by Mike Judge (Beavis and Butthead, Office Space).
Though Stone’s version of Dubya is more sympathetic than you might assume, Camacho is far more entertaining. Plus, Camacho does tend to carry a machine gun with him to his State of the Union address. If this was simply a duel of the minds, it’d probably go to Bush since he at least knows you don’t water plants with a sports drink. But, put these two in the ring and former wrestler (and former porn star) Camacho is the obvious winner. Plus, Camacho is willing to admit his ignorance and ask the smartest guy in the room for help. I just don’t see Brolin’s Dubya having that kind of humility or self-awareness. [Drew Dietsch]
Winner: President Camacho
President Marshall (Air Force One) vs. The President (Escape from New York)
Air Force One is an American classic. President James Marshall, played by the always great Harrison Ford (Star Wars, Indiana Jones), must fend off a group of terrorists while aboard the the most executive airplane in the world. President Marshall goes toe to toe with some of the hardest, meanest militants you can imagine in this thrill ride at 30,000 feet. The man defeats the likes of Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight) and Andrew Divoff (Toy Soldiers) while protecting the first family and our country.
On the other hand, the President portrayed by Donald Pleasence in John Carpenter’s Escape From New York is a sniveling weasel that only has his best interests in mind. When his plane happens to get hijacked, the man says goodbye to his staff and jumps inside an escape pod without hesitation. Once he is safe inside the walls of the dystopian prison that has become New York City, he is captured and held hostage by the gang leader known as “The Duke of New York.” Even after he is saved by Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell), this President only has his best interests in mind and couldn’t be bothered. What a jerk. [Andrew Hawkins]
Winner: President James Marshall
Richard Nixon (Black Dynamite) vs. President Moore (Big Game)
Who knew that Tricky Dick’s kung fu was so strong? Luckily, Black Dynamite does. In the film’s climactic battle the controversial leader does all he can to match the speed and strength of Michael Jai White’s classic hero, with fists, feet, and weapons flying. Luckily for men and women everywhere, good triumphs over evil and the White House is forced to make good on Black Dynamite’s demands. There is no shortage of pleasure to be taken from a fight like this, especially with the First Lady watching in horror from the sidelines. A great ending to a great movie.
President Moore is a good man and not a pushover when it comes to combat. That said, he’s more than happy to accept the help of a Finnish youth after being stranded when Air Force One is shot down. Though the wilderness is tough and the adversaries plentiful, Moore and his young charge make for an efficient little team. Big Game‘s a film too few have seen but it has all makings of a cult classic. [Nick Nunziata]
Winner: President William Alan Moore
John F. Kennedy (Bubba Ho-Tep) vs. John F. Kennedy (Thirteen Days)
All right, all right, here’s the deal. With Bubba Ho-Tep, not only do you get Bruce Campbell as Elvis, but you get Ossie friggin’ Davis as JFK. And together, they team up to fight a mummy who’s been suckin’ the souls out of the old folks at their nursing home. Now, one or both of these men could be lying about their identities. Davis’ JFK is a paranoid conspiracy theorist: He thinks Lyndon Johnson has returned from the grave to finish him off. He claims he’s been dyed, and that he’s had part of his brain replaced with a bag of sand. He doesn’t speak with Kennedy’s trademaaahk New England accent, either, but he claims he’s the real deal, and you know what? Davis’ performance is uproariously funny that I’m inclined to believe it. Your life is not complete until you’ve seen this movie.
Thirteen Days is not an essential movie. But I do think Greenwood’s performance as JFK is essential if we’re talking about US presidents on film. It isn’t the kind of transformative bravura performance we saw in Spielberg’s Lincoln. Instead, Bruce Greenwood plays it very subtle here. It’s an incredibly realistic performance, and not just because Greenwood is the spitting image of Kennedy. It’s because it doesn’t call so much attention to the fact that it’s a performance. This is a very human, low-key Kennedy that we don’t see very often these days. Greenwood doesn’t quite nail Kennedy’s accent here (it’s a tough one), but he lends the character a quiet gravitas that really helps sell the tension of the Cuban Missile Crisis. [Travis Newton]
Winner: Ossie Davis as JFK (because realism isn’t everything)
President Beck (Deep Impact) vs. President Whitmore (Independence Day)
Here we have two leaders, caught up in conflict bigger than them, the nation or even the globe. How does one respond? President Beck responds by planning for the worst, keeping the nation calm and – when the asteroid hits – ducking and covering responsibly so the country can go on. And how does President Whitmore react to an alien invasion? Well, he makes a speech but then he suits up and takes the fight to them. It’s a horribly irresponsible thing for a commander-in-chief to do but you must admit it feels good to see the leader of the free world putting his life on the line to do battle. With no Vice President or cabinet to replace him, Whitmore is risking the future of democracy so he can fly around and shoot aliens. He’s essentially a “U-S-A! U-S-A!” chant personified. That’s someone I can vote for. [Brandon Marcus]
Winner: President Thomas Whitmore
President Chet Roosevelt (Americathon) vs. President Widmark (The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension)
Americathon’s President is fighting a repossession effort staged by some wealthy Native Americans. Turning his attention to the nation, he stages a telethon to save the country from the natives. John Ritter plays President Chet Roosevelt with the panache of a man that spent too long pretending to be gay on 1970s TV. While the film is incredibly date, the bit roles from Meat Loaf and Elvis Costello are quite amazing. How can one forget about Jay Leno playing Mr. Poopy Butt the boxer? The only real obstacle that President Roosevelt has to face is dealing with the villainous Fred Willard that wants to sell what’s left of America to the union of the Arab States and Israel.
In The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai, Ronald Lacey plays President Widmark a few years after he made geek history playing Toht in Raiders of the Lost Ark. What’s odd about this presidential portrayal is that Widmark is portrayed as being in a hospital bed or otherwise infirmed for the majority of the movie. There have been merchandise tie-ins that reveal the surgery was performed by Banzai, but nothing of the sort is mentioned on-screen. What makes the infirmed state of the President so confusing is that the surgical recovery suggests either lower back or prostate issues. Was it a subtle political jab at the Commander-in-Chief or just a funny sight gag? You make the call.
If they got in a fight, President Roosevelt after saving the nation doesn’t have time to deal with the bed confined President Widmark. Roosevelt slips a fifty to Poopy Butt to beat President Widmark to death. Widmark struggles with his sole means of communicating with Buckaroo Banzai and his Hong Kong Cavaliers. As Widmark’s vision blurs and his mouth fills with blood, he tries to lift himself out of bed. Poopy Butt stops beating the man, as the President hits the floor with a thud. President Roosevelt motions for Poopy Butt to stop, as he checks for a pulse. Widmark is gone. President Roosevelt slips Poopy Butt another fifty for a job well done. [Troy Anderson]
Winner: President Chet Roosevelt
As much as we admire all of these candidates, only one can be the official Fandom Commander-in-Chief. After much deliberation and vote casting, it was decided that the leader of the fan world should be…
President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho
His patriotism, strength of character, and pure charisma are the kind of qualities we look for in a world leader. But, he’s also not above admitting his inability to fix a problem and looking to others for help. He’s able to bypass ego and let a better man do the job as demonstrated by his appointment of Joe a.k.a. Not Sure (Luke Wilson) as president. He does what’s best for the country regardless of what party politics would demand of him (“South Carolina, what’s up?”), but he’s not above flexing his (tight) muscles when it’s necessary. We here at Fandom look forward to your term in office, President Camacho. Ride your motorcycle motorcade all the way to the White House.