If you’re someone who thinks George W. Bush or Barack Obama was the absolute worst president in U.S. history, or that Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump would be horrible at the job, relax. We’ve had much worse presidents — in movies, at least. When you think of presidents in movies, you probably think of the great ones first, such as Morgan Freeman in Deep Impact or Bill Pullman in Independence Day. But Hollywood has given us plenty of terrible presidents through the years. Here’s a look at 10 fictional presidents who never should have even been elected.
10. Leslie Nielsen (Scary Movie 3 and 4)
Wait, the same guy who had zany adventures as a police detective in The Naked Gun film series gets elected president? What could possibly go wrong? There’s a fun scene in Scary Movie 4 where President Baxter Harris continues reading My Pet Duck even in the face of an alien invasion.
9. Jack Nicholson (Mars Attacks! 1996)
There are just too many skeletons in Nicholson’s closet for him to ever win the presidency. He led that uprising in the mental institution, and attacked his wife with an axe (Here’s Johnny!). He had that big “You can’t handle the truth!’ meltdown in court. We won’t even mention his darkest period, when he menaced Batman while wearing ugly makeup.
8. Mark Cuban (Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! 2015)
Anyone who would assume the role of president in a movie as bad as Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! is a bad president. Actually, it’s perfect tongue-in-cheek casting for one of the panelists on TV’s reality show Shark Tank. It’s worth noting the Dallas Mavericks owner has been one of Donald Trump’s biggest critics during the 2016 presidential campaign.
7. D.B. Woodside (24, Day 6)
There were plenty of devious politicians in the Fox TV series 24. D.B. Woodside portrayed one of the worst. Wayne Palmer was nothing like his brother, the honorable president David Palmer (portrayed by Dennis Haysbert, best known for those Allstate commercials).
6. Bob Newhart (First Family, 1980)
We’re just not sure Bob Newhart is serious enough to be president. But just imagine three visitors introducing themselves at Newhart’s White House: “I’m Larry, this is my brother Darryl and this is my other brother Darryl.”
5. Chris Rock (Head of State, 2003)
James Earl Jones became the first African-American actor to portray a president, in the 1972 film The Man. (Yes, even back then he had the gravitas and deep voice that made him a perfect fit for the role.) There have been plenty of great black TV and movie presidents since then. But Chris Rock was just too inexperienced when he won this job, coming straight from the D.C. board of alderman.
4. Lloyd Bridges (Hot Shots! Part Deux, 1993)
Bridges was almost 80 years old when he filmed this role, which involves him engaging in a swordfight. And people thought Ronald Reagan was too old to be president.
3. Peter Sellers (Dr. Strangelove, 1964)
Sellers plays both a former Nazi and the American president in this classic Cold War film. Although given some of the bad candidates we’ve had in recent years, “former Nazi” might not be a disqualifying title on a presidential resume these days. In all seriousness, Sellers is brilliant in this flick.
2. Charlie Sheen (Machete Kills, 2013)
Remember Sheen’s public meltdown back in 2011, when he claimed to have “tiger blood” and “Adonis DNA”? Suddenly, Trump’s erratic behavior doesn’t look so bad by comparison. Sheen is credited in this film by his birth name, Carlos Estevez.
1. Kevin Spacey (House of Cards)
Spacey’s Frank Underwood is devious. He is murderous. He is sociopathic. Could a real politician win the presidency with those characteristics? Only if he could carry the swing states.