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Get Off My Plane! Four Movie and TV Presidents We Wish Were Real

By Brad Pike

As the presidential race heats up and both Romney and Obama push their innocuous platforms, it makes one think, ‘Really? Is this as good as it gets?’ Romney’s never faced down aliens or genocidal robots. Obama’s never punched a terrorist in the face or fired missiles at an asteroid.

They’re just two by-the-books politicians, and unfortunately, there’s no viable alternative. We need a candidate who gets their hands dirty like the presidents from our favorite movies and TV shows; the ones that date whomever they want, even if it is controversial because she’s a lobbyist. Ok, so maybe not Kevin Kline from Dave, but someone with gravitas and a no nonsense attitude who can say, “GET OFF MY PLANE!” with absolute conviction.

Unfortunately, we’re about as likely to get the stubble sporting, suit-tearing president we want, as Miles and Harry are to get their candidate elected on KoldCast TV’s witty political comedy Grass Roots. Featuring comedian Nick Kroll, it’s a show about two impolitic political hacks trying to get out the vote.

You are watching Episode 1 of Grass Roots, “Coffee’s Not Dessert”

Watch Episode 2, “Door to Door” and Additional Episodes

Like the new Will Ferrell & Zach Galifianakis movie, The Campaign, the show mocks political correctness and carefully crafted personas requisite to politicians. In the end, it doesn’t matter whether their economic plans are the best, or whether or not they advocate the death penalty; a lot of people just want a president who’s entertaining! Here are four of the most badass movie and TV presidents we wish were real.

President Thomas Whitmore (Bill Pullman) from Independence Day

Faced with the extermination of the human race by technologically advanced aliens, President Whitmore makes the smartest move possible: he calls Jeff Goldblum. When in doubt, you always call Jeff Goldblum. Not only that, but he takes the fight to the aliens himself, leading the jet fighter assault on the obese mother ship despite obvious risks to his safety posed by shielded alien warriors with laser guns.

His speech before this battle is so inspiring, so moving, that they actually show it to high school English classes to demonstrate persuasive rhetoric — not JFK’s “Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You” speech, not Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, but the “Call to Arms Against the Alien Horde” speech.

If He Were Actually President: When George Bush landed on the USS Abraham Lincoln to give his “Mission Accomplished” speech, he did not actually land the plane, but President Whitmore, on the other hand, would have spun the plane, fired off a few missiles for show, and landed it upside down. The mission would have actually been accomplished, too.

President Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell) from Battlestar Galactica

The only thing worse than genocidal aliens is genocidal robots, and only someone as fierce, though deceptively soft-spoken, as Laura Roslin could handle leadership of humanity’s vestiges, a fleet of civilian ships guarded by one lone Battlestar (Galactica).

Though Laura began her political career as the humble secretary of education, by the end of her presidency, she’s a ruthless, borderline fascistic dragon lady who resorts to torture and insurrection when her power is threatened.

If She Were Actually President: When Cylon terrorists disguised as humans infiltrated the fleet, Laura instituted a policy of ejecting them out airlocks into the black void like the space trash they are. She would never send terrorists to Guantanamo to watch Fresh Prince of Bel Air all day. At best, she would give them a quick look at Alf or The Joy of Painting reruns.

President Tom Beck (Morgan Freeman) from Deep Impact

The announcement that the Earth is about to be cracked open like an eggshell by a seven-mile wide comet goes down smooth like maple syrup when delivered by Morgan Freeman. You might even forget what he’s talking about. What was that, Mr. President? Something about a national lottery to decide who lives and who dies?

Such is his linguistic skill, when listening to the “Let us Begin” speech at the end of Deep Impact, you might not notice it’s actually a profoundly depressing damage report: a tidal wave reached as far as the Tennessee Valley and washed away countless cities, leaving millions dead. With this speech, arguably more eloquent than any by our real-life presidential candidates, he turns the country’s greatest national tragedy into a triumph of the human spirit.

If He Were Actually President: First of all, we’d have staved off another old white man president for at least four more years. Second, his press conferences would be relaxing instead of uptight. There may be another war breaking out in the Middle East, but coming from President Freeman, it would sound like an Isaac Hayes concert after a tall mug of warm milk.

President James Marshall (Harrison Ford) from Air Force One

It’s not enough to merely bomb and imprison terrorists via military proxy. We need a president who stalks them personally, who punches them with his own fists, and who tosses them off airplanes after snapping their necks.

That’s President James Marshall, a one-man war on terror who, like President Whitmore, is a military veteran, a Medal of Honor awardee even. President Marshall hates terrorists so much that the movie opens with him giving a speech about his zero tolerance policy on terrorism. Presumably, there was formerly a three-strike policy in place.

If He Were Actually President: President Marshall would have prevented the 2008 recession by tossing the CEOs of AIG, Goldman Sachs, Baer Stearns, and other financial institutions out of an airplane after snapping their necks.

Brad Pike is a writer and standup in Chicago. He also writes for Thought Catalog.

Twitter: brad_pike; Blog: ieatfoundthings.blogspot.com

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Must Reads 9/1/2014