Every week, the CriticWire Survey asks a select handful of film and TV critics two questions and publishes the results on Monday morning. (The answer to the second, “What is the best film in theaters right now?” can be found at the end of this post.)
This week’s question: As you may be aware, America is fixing to elect a new President later this year. If you could cast your vote this November for any movie President (real or fictional), who would it be and why?
Christopher Campbell (@thefilmcynic), Nonfics/Film School Rejects
If I had to choose fictional, I’d go with Jackson Evans in “The Contender.” He comes off as so perfect that he’s clearly just a product of the movies. But I can choose someone real, so I go with the John F. Kennedy of “Primary” and “Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment” (and the Drew Associates’ other JFK films) because this is a fantasy so let’s give him another chance. Maybe he wouldn’t be as great as we think he was or think he would be, but hey it’s John F. Kennedy. He came off as so perfect, as a product of TV and the movies, as well. And for this discussion that’s all we ought to have to go by.
David Ehrlich (@davidehrlich), Indiewire
As much as the impending release of “Southside With You” makes it tempting to pick Obama, recent events have had a way of returning my attention to President Andrew Shepherd from “The American President.” Hatched from the mind of Aaron Sorkin, President Shepherd is an idealistic liberal fantasy like none other, but that’s exactly what makes him so appealing in 2016. A serious political campaign would never plagiarize a speech, of course, but it’s truly distressing how little of Shepherd’s climactic address Hillary Clinton would have to change in order for it to apply to the current political climate. Swap out “Bob” for “Donald” and you’re pretty much there: “You cannot address crime prevention without getting rid of assault weapons and handguns. I consider them a threat to national security, and I will go door to door if I have to, but I’m gonna convince Americans that I’m right, and I’m gonna get the guns. We’ve got serious problems, and we need serious people, and if you want to talk about character, Bob, you’d better come at me with more than a burning flag and a membership card. If you want to talk about character and American values, fine. Just tell me where and when, and I’ll show up. This is a time for serious people, Bob, and your fifteen minutes are up.” Oh how I wish I could vote for this guy.
Kate Erbland (@katerbland), Indiewire
Harrison Ford’s James Marshall from “Air Force One.” He’s tough, smart, resourceful and he doesn’t take crap from anyone. No matter the political climate, that’s the kind of leader you want on your side.
Jordan Hoffman (@jhoffman), The Guardian
Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise. He was like the president of the ship.
Tomris Laffly (@TomiLaffly) – Film Journal International, Film School Rejects
Morgan Freeman in “Deep Impact” because everything sounds exactly correct when Morgan Freeman says it, even in the face of an extinction-level crisis. Or whoever ran against Gene Hackman before he became the President in “Absolute Power.” Clearly, he was the greatest of all evils.
Kristy Puchko (@KristyPuchko) Pajiba/Comic Book Resources
The Fictional President by which every other will be judged until the United States collapses under the weight of “Idiocracy” is President Thomas Whitmore (Bill Pullman) in “Independence Day.” Faced with an enemy so terrifying, you couldn’t blame the POTUS if he shat himself in the Oval Office. But Whitmore not only pulled himself together, he pulled the world together. He entreated us all to see past our differences and unify to fight a greater evil than we thought might be possible in a modern seemingly intelligent age. He was an inspiration with a rousing speech to thrill the ages. Which is all the more reason no one should ever expose themselves to his depression-bearded return in the woefully loathsome “Resurgence.”
Q: What is the best movie currently playing in theaters?
A: “Swiss Army Man.”