We've got two portrayals of U.S. Presidents vying for Oscars this year: Josh Brolin as W in W. and Frank Langella as Richard Nixon in Frost/Nixon. I've yet to see either one, though I did see Langella in the Broadway play, which I hear the movie faithfully replicates. On the eve of W.'s release, it seemed like a good time to get a discussion going on Best Screen Presidents, real or fictional. Here's my list, which is surely missing some obvious choices -- but that's part of the fun.
1. President Jackson Evans (Jeff Bridges) - The Contender
For the past couple of elections, pollsters have asked people which of the two presidential candidates they would rather "have a beer with." Inevitably it is pointed out that the person you would rather have a beer with is frequently not the person you would want to run the country. Jeff Bridges's President Jackson Evans, though, wins at life: he's the guy I'd want to have a beer with, and the guy I'd want running the country. Seriously, I would vote for Jackson Evans over either John McCain or Barack Obama. He's charming, and funny, and a bit of a jerk when called for, but he stands up for what's right and gives the best Rod Lurie Speech to date. My favorite movie president -- though for the record, I think The Contender is only pretty good.