POTUS With the Mostess: The Best Pop Culture Presidents (That's Right, It's A President's Day Blog)


Hello ladies, gentlemen, beings endowed with artificial intelligence, or chimps that have learned how to read (APES, TOGETHER, STRONG), greetings and thank you for checking out this week’s blog.

Having said that, I understand that I, as Trove’s blogger, made a grave mistake last week; I missed the GOLDEN opportunity to do another movie-centric blog about the best romances to watch for Valentine’s Day. WHAT WAS I THINKING?! I had a drop of the proverbial ball, that is "fo' sho'". You all suffered for it, as I know that without my guidance you were left flailing wildly for something to watch for the holiday. I imagine many of you deferred to the likes of Nicholas Sparks (in which only “The Notebook” is forgivable to view) or “Fifty Shades of Dumpster Fires.” For this, my deepest apologies.

But I’ve returned to redeem myself by crafting a blog around a holiday that doesn’t get enough cred’: Presidents Day! This could be going out on a proverbial limb (yeah, I dropped "proverbial" twice in the intro, I'm mad with power) and creating a blog that is a veritable disaster, but c’mon, how many blogs have been written like this to celebrate this holiday that graced us with its presence just three days ago? Even if no one reads this, at least we were bold, and went where no blogger … has gone before…

So, without further ado, our list of the greatest pop culture presidents since the creation of pop culture and presidents.

James Marshall

played by Harrison Ford in “Air Force One”

Let’s be honest, any and every conversation about pop culture presidents begins and ends with four words; “GET OFF MY PLANE.” How does a president get more badass than a perpetually growling Harrison Ford beating up terrorists and taking back Air Force One from Russian terrorists? Hell hath no fury like a Harrison scorned, and scorned he is as his family is taken hostage, and he’s forced to take it to none other than the freaking legendary Gary Oldman as the leader of the terrorists to get them back and take back HIS PLANE. Harrison’s James Marshall would win 98% of the popular vote if he ran, guaranteed.

Josiah Bartlet

played by Martin Sheen in “The West Wing”

Some of you young’uns might shoot me a big ole “Josiah-who played by Martin-what from The-West-huh?” with this inclusion, but believe you me, Sheen’s Bartlet is an absolute must for inclusion on this list. Serving as Commander in Chief on the show, Sheen was front man for what is one of the most acclaimed T.V. shows of not just the 2000s, but of all time, as it’s still seen as one of the best written shows ever made thanks to some dude named Aaron Sorkin (“some dude” meaning an incredible screenwriter). Launching the careers of the likes of Bradley Whitford (that guy you recognize but judt can't quite place, but he's in the likes of “The Cabin in the Woods,” and  “Get Out”), Rob Lowe, and Allison Janney, “The West Wing” would’ve been nothing without big bad Jed. He yells at God in Latin at one point, I mean come on.

Barack Obama (and Luther)

played by Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key in “Key and Peele”

We’re obviously familiar with this Obama guy I can imagine, and Peele really does probably the best impression of the man that you’ll see. But really, it’s Key’s Luther that gets this pop culture presidency on our list, as well as being the magnum opus of the pair’s sketch show, “Key and Peele,” (besides maybe A-ARon done messin' up with “Substitute Teacher”) Serving as the subdued Obama’s “anger translator,” Luther expresses their Obama’s untapped rage and frustration to hilarious effect, as Peele’s Obama sits in complete silence Luther absolutely loses his mind. The sketch was such a phenomenon that Luther actually made an appearance at the White House Correspondents Dinner one year. 

Richard Nixon

played by Frank Langella in “Frost/Nixon”

A bit of a more subdued pick here, but a deserving one nevertheless. Plus this is one of the few portrayals of a president that actually goes through several different mediums, as Langella portrayed Nixon in both a stage and film version of “Frost/Nixon.” Centered on the televised showdown between broadcaster David Frost and Nixon, the story is an entertainingly constructed chess match between the two as Frost attempts to stick it to the president while Tricky Dick shows just how wiley and shrewd he really is. The moment where Frost finally has a breakthrough is a stunning moment, and Langella’s acting in the scene is so good it’s bonkers.

George W. Bush

played by Josh Brolin in “W.”

I find it personally offensive how underrated Josh Brolin is. Sure, he was in “Jonah Hex” and “Into the Blue,” two just … just unforgivably bad movies. But the man can act when he so chooses, and “W.” is by far his most underrated performance. A role that in any other situation would’ve bagged him an Oscar nom, somehow Brolin’s performance didn’t get that love despite his empathetic portrayal that is, of course, injected with that token W. goofiness the president was so known for, i.e. he almost chokes on a pretzel. Pretzels are hard.

Selina Meyer

played Julia Louis-Dreyfus in “Veep”

If only Hillary had watched a couple seasons of “Veep,” she may have been able to pull off a win instead of losing to the amorphous peach-colored being currently sitting in office. But I am formally nominating Louis-Dreyfus to run instead as Meyer, a role that’s won her six consecutive Emmys in one of the most lauded shows on T.V., one that not only is a pretty freaking hilarious show, but an excellent show about the epic mess that is American politics as well. Or hell, I’d vote for her as Elaine Benes too; imagine eight years of these kinds of killer dance moves!

Lyndon B. Johnson

played by Bryan Cranston in “All the Way”

If I may be totally frank, after I watched “All the Way” it went “All the Way” to the great void in my brain that is being forgettable, along with brussel sprouts and any song by Taylor Swift. The only thing that saved “All the Way” from washing up on the shores of absolute mediocrity is Bryan Legendary Cranston, a.k.a. Heisenberg himself. (If you don’t understand that reference please, separate yourself from involvement with these blogs). Cranston brings the cocksure swagger, larger than life, brash abrasiveness that so defined Johnson roaring to life in a movie that, if people were smart, wouldn’t have aired on HBO but in theaters so he could GET AN OSCAR NOMINATION -- COME ON PEOPLE!

David Palmer

played by Dennis Haysbert in “ 24”

Sure, “24” wasn’t always the most realistic show, as it always skewed a tad (correction, a FAT tad) towards action over realism, such as incorporating a hungry puma, the repeated devastation of Los Angeles by regular terrorist attacks, and  transportation that, if calculated according to show’s premise of the events happening in real time, simply don’t allow the main character to eat or use the bathroom. But damn if that action wasn’t awesome, and legitimately involving in its better seasons thanks to some memorable characters, perhaps none more memorable than Haysbert’s David Palmer (besides Jack Bauer obviously, America’s greatest badass). “24” went through its fair share of presidents, but Palmer was the best; flawed but virtuous, firm but gentle, powerful but merciful. “24” is long since over, but David Palmer lives on, with Allstate!

Abraham Lincoln

played by Daniel Day-Lewis in “Lincoln”

We’ve spoken about Day-Lewis’ preposterous character acting before, whether it’s cursing at Liam Neeson as Bill the Butcher while shooting “Gangs of New York” or forcing crew members to feed him as the handicapped artist Christy Brown while making “My Left Foot.” His commitment in “Lincoln” is on that same level of ridiculous dedication, as the man completely loses himself in the role of arguably (actually screw it I’ll say it, inarguably) the greatest president of all time, a deft political strategist who occasionally may have gotten tyrannical, but justified it all by bringing the country back together. I try to use the phrase "clothed in immense power" as much as I can in my everyday life because of this movie.

Various Presidents

played by Cast Members from “Saturday Night Live”

I know I know, this is a complete cop-out, but there have been just too many awesome president impersonations on SNL over the years. The show is a veritable time capsule of just ruthless presidential bashing. Of course we all know about Alec Baldwin’s consistent reaming of Trump the last couple years, but that’s just one of many. Chevy Chase sacrificed his body on multiple occasions to mock then president Gerald Ford’s tumble down the stairs of Air Force One; Dana Carvey skewered George H.W. Bush so well that he got invited to the White House for Christmas; and, of course, Will Ferrell practiced some serious “strategery” as the younger Bush. If you want a steady stream of solid pop culture presidents, try NBC at 11:30 every Saturday night and you’ll see very honest, intimate portrayals of our country’s leaders. And by honest and intimate I mean cartoonish and buffoonish, but tomato tomato (read that correctly for the sake of the joke, please).

Well that’s that for our incredibly ambitious, groundbreaking blog on Presidents Day. You, ladies and gentlemen, have just witnessed blog history. You’re welcome, and if you want to read some of our other, safer blogs, check out our website! Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you next week when we make our Oscar predictions!