Guest Author - Katy Cacolice
The year of 2012 is another year for potential presidential candidates to become elected. And, if you believe the conspiracy theory that the world will come to an apocalyptic end heading into 2013, it may not matter who gets elected. It might be a prime moment to take a look at which presidents in film handled the world's, and their own, crises with the utmost poise and dignity...or not!
In The Fifth Element (1997), taxi cab driver (Bruce Willis) and a mysterious girl (Milla Jovovich) are trying to save the world from an impending attack in the twenty-third century. President Lindberg is not someone who gave orders, lead his troops in the line of fire, or one that really even knew what the crisis situation entailed. But, it's comforting to know he kept his cool under all the right elements, and at least that much, we should expect at least that much from our real-life leaders!
The Simpsons Movie (2007) toiled with the idea of Arnold Schwarzenegger as the president of the United States. The action star only had to deal with Springfield getting secularized from the rest of the world, and even that was a little too much for the former Governor of California to even pick between five danger buttons that would cause our favorite Simpsons characters the least amount of pain. He's not an idealistic president, but it's the funny food for thought that counts!
Outstandingly one of the best performances for an actor, Peter Sellers as three different characters in 'Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb'. With dark comedy, the 1964 film satirizes the idea of a nuclear holocaust and its frantic attempt to stop it in the war room. Sellers delivers a fantastic interpretation of an old-fashioned president having to deal with an impending war - the type of guy we assume is always in office.
With a trigger-happy general by his side, an uptight wife ruling decoratorial duties, and an uninterested daughter, President James "Jimmy" Dale in Mars Attacks! (1996) has enough on his plate...until aliens come to earth to attack. Dale attempts to achieve a peaceful resolution with the aliens, but it doesn't pane out the way he hopes. So, we give him credit for at least trying!
A popular film to watch during 4th of July weekend, and an equally popular commander in chief: President Thomas J. Whitmore played by Bill Pullman in Independence Day (1996). As massive alien ships threaten the destruction of Earth, Whitmore doesn't hide behind the desk. Instead he goes into the line of fire with fellow troops to defend the world. One of his best and most memorable moments is the motivational speech he delivers to the crew before their final attempt of defeating the aliens.
There's no aliens or wars in sight in The American President (1995). President Andrew Shepherd, played by Michael Douglas, is up for re-election, and it looks like a lock until he enters a romance with an environmental lobbyist Sydney Ellen Wade (Annette Bening). Their time together soon hits rocky roads as their relationship comes under fire by the public and his election opponent, played by Richard Dreyfuss. Shepherd's political beliefs are realistically challenged in an election that becomes about character and American values.