5 Movies with Horrible Presidents that Make Guys Cry

DISCLAIMER: This is not a series dedicated to proving men shouldn’t cry, or to suggest ONLY women cry and are therefore inferior. The goal of this series is to dispel the pre-established (yet flawed) notion that being “manly” and being disconnected from your emotions go hand-in-hand. Even the most macho of men enjoy and even shed a tear at films, and the sooner we can admit that the sooner the concept that one sex is better than the other can go away. While the approach to these articles is one of light-hearted comedy, the emotional core is valid. While men might be more hesitant to admit it, movies often times have the potential to make us cry, for example:

“Horrible President Movies”

Let’s face it; the American political scene has devolved into some sort of dystopian version of itself. The Democrats lie to try to make themselves look honest and pure, while the Republicans have fully embraced the dark side of the force. What better way to distract us then by popping in a few innocent movies, right? Well, you might not want to press play on this week’s list. Compiled here is a collection of cinematic Presidents that make our reality look tame by comparison. Leaders that are either wholly incompetent or corrupt beyond measure, these films take the demonized personas that exist only in political attack campaigns and bring them to life. Will these films distract you from reality, or remind you of the unfortunate world we can’t press pause on? At least the movies are fun to watch.

1. Idiocracy

The only reason this movie wasn’t a bigger box office hit is that it’s so accurate that many people became scared at seeing a glimpse of our future (that, plus Harvey Weinstein is a total dick). Perhaps others were insulted that they felt ridiculed, which only proves the point that this film is the cinematic Nostradamus. In what might be his defining role, Luke “I got fat once” Wilson is an average modern man who is accidentally frozen, and wakes up in a future where humanity has devolved into drooling morons. Plants are watered with Gatorade and no one knows why that is killing them, technology is used but barely understood, and culture has degraded into porn and swift kicks to the groin. And at the helm of this disaster is President Camacho, a cross between a professional wrestler and an elementary school hall monitor. This president is hilarious but decidedly anti-intellectual, asking others to solve his problems so he can blame them when things don’t work out. Sound familiar?

The sad part from this film is that in the end, no problem that was presented gets resolved. Humanity is stunted due to selective breeding and aversion to hard work, and Luke’s three average kids versus the 32 stupid kids sired by his friend prove that stupidity will still overrun intelligence. It’s basically a movie about a hopeful speed bump in an otherwise inevitable decline into extinction.

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2. The Hunger Games

Really any of the films in this series work, but we’ll throw the first one on this list as a tribute (see what I did there?). A society existing after the world fell, it really doesn’t look like humanity was that badly hurt by the apocalypse. Everything would have been perfect had it not been for President Snow, a man who begs the question of whether his parents knew he would have a glorious white beard when they named him. For those of you who’ve seen the movies or read the books (and honestly it’s okay to admit it now guys, it’s got Mystique in it) you’ll know that President Snow makes all other antagonists in this series look like mini-bosses. He’s evil enough to keep most of humanity under his thumb but super evil enough to even kill his companions to increase his control. A movie mirroring society’s frustration with the one percent, President Snow is that one percent congealed into a person and made into an asshole. But damn is that a fine beard.

This is a Y.A. novel adaption, so what isn’t an action scene is a teen angst drama. That being said, what guys are going to really get hit in the feels on is Phillip Seymour Hoffman. This man was a schlub, yet his acting chops let him jump from sophomoric comedy to heavy-hitting drama. Dying before this series was complete, they had to use computers to complete his performance. Every time we notice the transition, a tear is shed.

3. Mars Attacks!

Remember when Tim “Eye Shadow” Burton made a cross between an Independence Day spoof and a 1940’s alien invasion movie? WHY NOT?! It’s fantastic! This is a crazy movie and for some reason it has Tom Jones in it, as well as a host of other cameos and celebrities. The short synopsis is that green skeleton brain aliens attack Earth, and if not for an allergy to yodeling music all would be lost. Who dares step in to the spoof-shoes of Bill Pullman? No other than Jack Nicholson, who also plays a spoof of Donald Trump for a double header! Jack isn’t necessarily an incompetent president to be fair, or evil, though he does do a good job of running away during the entire film. In the end he makes a hand gesture during an impassioned speech to the aliens suggesting that Earth is bigger than Mars. It’s the little things in politics, right? Yeah, they kill him dead.

This movie was never really sad until recently when the Senate decided that they didn’t want to government anymore but would rather be Walter Peck from Ghostbusters and exist only to stop others from doing their jobs. I want a gif of President Jack Nicholson in this movie saying “I want the people to know that they still have 2 out of 3 branches of the government working for them, and that ain’t bad!”

4. Absolute Power

Would you call this a Clint Eastwood movie, an Ed Harris movie, or a Gene Hackman movie? With such acting power being thrown around it’s hard to say. Hackman gets to be president in this film, and like all of us can relate to, he accidentally kills his adulteress. Clint “The Clint” Eastwood happened to be robbing the house at the time and witnesses the crime, deciding to bring the President to justice. Oh, did I forget to mention that the President had the chief of staff cover up the crime? Cause he did. It’s a tense movie and fun to see all the great actors trying to outfox each other. Not the highest bar for a President though.

The sad part is that the President commits suicide. Sure, he accidentally had his secret service kill a lady, but on the global stage impeachment and imprisonment is better than suicide. America will go from being treated as a world leader to a high-risk mental patient from now on in this fictional universe, and that’s just sad.

5. Scary Movie 3

You may be saying to yourself “But these movies are barely satire, and mostly boob and poop jokes.” You’re right, but the late great Leslie Neilson was president in 2 of them, and what a president he was. A dolt surrounded by barely more competent morons, Leslie’s marketable skills were that he could be cowardly and pee out of his finger. Really if that’s what got him elected president in the fictional universe of these movies, can you imagine how this society even functions? This one’s a soft ball for sure, but any president who is more Mr. Magoo than anything else needs to be honored. Honestly I wouldn’t be surprised if President Harris (Neilson) was the president before President Camacho.

What’s sad in a movie like this? That we don’t have Leslie Neilson anymore.

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Daniel Epstein
Father, filmmaker, and writer. Once he won an Emmy, but it wasn't for being a father or writing.