The best fictional movie presidents by level of ridiculousness

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With the current U.S. presidency in what can be best described as a “questionable state,” it’s easy to find your mind wandering to what could have been. Perhaps a more bumbling or down-to-earth president who just can’t seem to catch a break is more suited to the United States’ needs. Luckily, Hollywood has gifted us with a slew of fictional presidents who could arguably “trump” the organized chaos taking place in the White House right now. Here is a quick list of movie presidents based on just how ridiculous they are.

Terry Crews in “Idiocracy”

President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho takes the cake for the absolute craziest president. If you haven’t seen “Idiocracy,” the plot on its own is a mess from start to finish, but Crews’ character somehow adds more gasoline to an already blazing tire fire. From watering crops with an energy drink to give them “electrolytes” to entering his State of the Union address like a WWE fighter, President Camacho may just be a foreshadowing of presidents to come. In a Kennedy-esque manner, however, he does get credit for having a lovely head of hair, a great point of distraction from his otherwise wacky actions.

Sam Rockwell in “Vice”

Rockwell does an excellent job portraying the quirks of George W. Bush in this Dick Cheney biopic. Although Christian Bale’s nonchalant and stern demeanor as Cheney inevitably draws the most attention, whenever Cheney is in a scene with Bush, one cannot help but gravitate toward the sheer ridiculousness of Rockwell’s try-hard childish nature. Was this man — who, while eating a chicken wing, asks someone to be his vice president — really president at one point? Apparently so. The best part about Rockwell’s version of Bush Jr. is that his performance is intended to depict Bush as he actually was, humorous elements and all.

Jack Lemmon and James Garner in “My Fellow Americans”

Lemmon and Garner had already established themselves as funnymen with their colorful film careers in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, but as each descended into roles playing crazy old men, they only proved that they aged better than a nice wheel of Gruyère cheese. Both Lemmon and Garner are equally hilarious in this film, with Lemmon playing ex-president Russell Kramer, a prideful cheapskate, and Garner playing ex-president Matthew Douglas, an extreme ladies man. It’s obvious that neither president thinks with their brain, one being with their wallet and the other with, well, you know. But the kicker isn’t just the characters at face value; it’s how poorly they deal with the situations they’re put into. 

John Travolta in “Primary Colors”

John Travolta as any president already has us quaking in our boots, but his delivery as presidential candidate Jack Stanton brings perfect levels of suave Travolta-ness and political foolishness together. Travolta’s character is an overt womanizer with a drawl. He receives more acclaim for being a well-acted president rather than focusing entirely on the insanity of his role. While Travolta doesn’t quite capture the bits of chaos that come with being a president as Rockwell does, for example, the former still deserves a pat on the back for being as zany as he can be while still maintaining his composure.

Appropriately so, each of these presidents either grows into his role or gives it up to someone more qualified. Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush get honorable mentions for this list because even though they’re unfortunately not fictional, they are much too funny to refrain from mentioning. As bleak as politics may look in the United States now, the nation may have good reason to be thankful not to live in any of these strangely skewed universes.

Contact Pooja Bale at [email protected].