Happy (Fake) Presidents Day! – A Collection of U.S. Presidents from TV and Film

Once upon a time, the third Monday in February was designated as a day to celebrate George Washington’s birthday. These days, however, although it varies from state to state, it tends to be known less specifically as Presidents Day, which means that we can ostensibly celebrate everyone who’s ever been the President of the United States. Here at Premium Hollywood, we’d also like to extend that to those who’ve served as our nation’s commander-in-chief on television and the silver screen.

Now, granted, that’s a lot of people…more, in fact, than we could possibly give shout-outs to in a single piece. As such, we decided to pare it down to the same number of individuals as have held the highest office in our land since its inception. Forty-four folks is still nothing to sneeze at, but we’re betting that we’ll still end up having left out someone’s favorite son (or daughter). To paraphrase one of our real presidents, you can please some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time. With that said, however, we still think we did a pretty solid job of picking the best candidates for the piece.

1. President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho (Terry Crews), “Idiocracy”: Why are we leading off with President Camacho? Because, really, when you’ve got a fake President on your list who’s also a porn superstar and a five-time ultimate smackdown wrestling champion, why in God’s name would you wait any longer than necessary to trumpet his inclusion? Clearly, this man is the fake President to end all fake Presidents, and he’s #1 with a bullet. It’s all going to be downhill from here.

2. President Andrew Shepherd (Michael Douglas), “The American President”: President Shepherd is a widower who pursues a relationship with an attractive lobbyist — Sydney Ellen Wade, played by Annette Bening — while at the same time attempting to win passage of a crime control bill. Although the film was mostly ignored by the Oscars, it racked up several Golden Globe nominations and has since found its way into the #75 spot on the American Film Institute’s list of America’s Greatest Love Stories. Plus, its screenwriter managed to find a good use for the excess material that he didn’t have room to fit into the script…but we’ll get to that in our next entry.

3. President Josiah Bartlet (Martin Sheen), “The West Wing”: Yes, if you hadn’t figured it out already, “The American President” was written by Aaron Sorkin, which is why you may notice a resemblance between the mannerisms of Presidents Shepherd and Bartlet. Ironically, though, Sorkin had originally envisioned the series as revolving so much around the White House senior staff that viewers would rarely, if ever, see the president. Instead, what the nation got was an idealized leader, one who – in A Novel Approach to Politics, by Douglas A. Van Belle and Kenneth M. Mash – is referred to as the “most popular Democratic president in recent memory.” The book was written pre-Obama, mind you, but we’re pretty sure the title still stands.

4. President William Harrison Mitchell (Kevin Kline), “Dave”: Given the vaguely “The Prince and the Pauper”-esque premise of the film, which involes a guy who makes a few bucks on the side as a Presidential impersonator being asked to play the part for real when the actual President suffers an incapacitating stroke, there was every reason to believe that “Dave” would’ve been a trifle at best, but between Kline’s imminent likability and a fantastic supporting cast (Sigourney Weaver as the First Lady, Ben Kingsley as the Vice President, Frank Langella as Chief of Staff, and Charles Grodin as Dave’s accountant buddy, Murray), it often comes close to – even though it doesn’t quite reach – the heights of “The American President.”

5 – 8. President Thomas J. Whitmore (Bill Pullman), “Independence Day” / President Blake (Perry King) and President Becker (Kenneth Welsh), “The Day After Tomorrow” / President Thomas Wilson (Danny Glover), “2012”: As soon as you see the credit “directed by Roland Emmerich” on a disaster flick, you just know things are going to reach a point where the President of the United States is going to be brought into the discussion about whatever imminent danger may be about to thrust itself onto our planet.

There’s also a very good possibility that the ol’ rite of succession may come into play during the course of the film, such as it did in “The Day After Tomorrow,” when we lost President Blake after the blades of his helicopter froze. Say hello, President Becker! The same thing happened in “2012,” too, but we were so in awe of President Wilson’s selfless sacrifice – he stayed behind to help survivors in need, only to meet his death when the tidal wave struck the White House – that we’ve made an executive decision not to include Wilson’s successor, President Anheuser (Oliver Platt) in the list. Why? Because he’s a dick.

The definitive Emmerich-flick president, of course, is President Whitmore. During the course of “Independence Day,” he sees the White House blown up, loses his wife, fights off a psychic attack from an alien, and flies a goddamned jet fighter into battle to help save the day. Plus, he gives the most stirring speech this side of “Patton.” Hell, I’d vote for him.

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The Escapist

There have been a wealth of jailbreak films throughout the course of history, but only a few can be considered true classics. Rupert Wyatt’s directorial debut, “The Escapist,” doesn’t quite make the cut, but it’s definitely one of the better entries in the genre. The always reliable Brian Cox stars as Frank Perry, a prison convict serving a life sentence who devises a plan to break out when he discovers that his daughter is dying. In order to do so, however, he’ll have to convince the right players (including Joseph Fiennes, Liam Cunningham and Seu Jorge) to join his crew and outwit the cell block’s brutal kingpin (Damian Lewis). There’s nothing here you haven’t seen before, but the cast does well enough to keep things interesting – especially Cox, who delivers yet another fine performance in an otherwise underrated career. Though “The Escapist” begins to drag towards the end, the film’s killer twist ending makes it more than worth sticking around for. It might not have gotten the U.S. release that it deserved, but this old-school jailbreak film is a smarter, better acted, and much more realistic version of FOX’s hit drama, “Prison Break.”

Click to buy “The Escapist”

  

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TV Roundup: News on “Dollhouse,” “Castle,” “Scrubs” and more

– ABC has renewed “Castle,” “Scrubs” and “Better Off Ted.” After watching the finale, I can’t say that I’m happy “Scrubs” is back, but I wonder what the show’s devotees think about its renewal. Anyone?

– “Dollhouse” received a surprising renewal from Fox. “The 20th Century Fox TV fantasy drama starring Eliza Dushku has delivered modest but consistent ratings on a low-trafficked night, thanks to Whedon’s built-in fan base.” The show looks good for a 13-episode pickup. What does this mean for “Terminator: TSCC”?

**POSSIBLE “PRISON BREAK” SPOILER ALERT**

– Think last night’s finale of “Prison Break” is the end? You’d be wrong. There’s a two-hour, straight-to-DVD movie that tells the story of how Michael actually died. It’s due out July 28th.

  

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Prison Break 4.21 & 4.22: “Rate of Exchange” & “Killing Your Number”

I’m not sure that there is anyone out there clamoring for a big, detailed recap of the two-hour “Prison Break” finale, so I’m just going to go character-by-character and mention something I liked (and something I didn’t like) about their role in the finale.

DON SELF

I didn’t like…

…seeing him get the drool wiped from his chin. He was a sneaky son of a bitch, but he didn’t deserve to be a vegetable. I couldn’t believe that the FBI agents fell for the “I’m-going-to-need-a-few-minutes-with-my-patient” bit.

I did like…

…his note to the agents — “KISS MY ASS” — and how the one agent had to hold the other agent back. What’s he going to do — beat him up?

CHRISTINA

I didn’t like…

…how she and her sidekick cheated death multiple times. And whatever happened to that guy when he busted into the warehouse at the end?

I did like…

…how evil they made her so that no one would mind that Sara shot her. But what was the point of having Michael get shot?

“Does anyone know why I’m shot? Anyone? Anyone?”

KELLERMAN

I didn’t like…

…that he returned. Wasn’t it a little convenient that he had “connections with the U.N.” and could give everyone a free pass? And how does this former psycho end up as a congressman. Wait, I take that back.

I did like…

…that he returned. He was always one of the most interesting characters on the show.

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Prison Break 4.20: “Cowboys and Indians”

For the first time in weeks, I am impressed by an episode of “Prison Break.” I recently realized that the main reason the quality of the series has declined over the season is the lack of MacGyver-esque challenges for Michael to overcome. The last time he really did anything impressive with his engineering know-how was when he broke into the Scylla vault earlier in the season. The charm of the first season is long gone, and the show has devolved into a run-of-the-mill action-drama, which is why the series is on its last legs.

But this episode was good. Michael and Lincoln were trapped in the hotel and the younger brother had to use his chemistry knowledge to avoid capture. Only the steal-the-uniforms-and-escape ploy (which we’ve seen a million times before) doesn’t work when you don’t take the soldiers’ shoes. I’m not sure why the police captain didn’t grab a couple of his cop buddies for backup, but hey, whatever.

“I wish we were back in prison.”

Also, why does the prime minister of India think that China is behind his son’s assassination? I must have missed the news report that connected Lincoln to the Chinese, because Mama Scofield said that she also heard that the Chinese were behind the hit. Weird.

I liked the ploy of going into the bank as bank robbers, but I have no Earthly idea how the trio located ski masks in downtown Miami on a moment’s notice. Now Michael finds himself in the unenviable position of having to choose between his brother and the love of his life. These are the kinds of situations that bring out the best in Micheal, and as a result, they bring out the best in the show. There are only four episodes left, and things are as up in the air as they’ve ever been.

And what about the bag of money that’s sitting at the bottom of the cove in Panama? Is that ever going to come back into play? Why hasn’t Lincoln told LJ and Sofia to go retrieve it?

  

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