Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Post of the Unnamed Presidents

This week's fight features a fictional president whose name we never learn. So for the purposes of this blog, we simply refer to Billy Bob Thornton's character in Love Actually as "Unnamed President." He's the only president in the bracket who is nameless. However, there are plenty of other nameless presidents featured in films and television that didn't make the bracket.

These are their stories.

E.G. Marshall

Marshall's president had the misfortune of being in office in Superman II when Superman gave up his powers AND Earth was visited by three native Kryptonians who had recently been able to break free from their imprisonment in the Phantom Zone.

This is a bad time to be president.

After General Zod, Ursa and Non tear shit up in the White House, the president pulls a Padmé Amidala and uses a decoy, only to come forward moments later to kneel before Zod.

Later, the president gets on TV and addresses the nation, and the world, to tell everyone that Zod's in charge of the planet. He then begs for Superman's help, but Superman's gone and Clark Kent just got his ass handed to him by a trucker in some diner.

It really was a bad time to be president.

In addition to playing the president in Superman II, Marshall has played George Washington, Grover Cleveland, Harry S Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower (twice).

Didn't make it because: The Presidential Gladiatorial Arena™ is no place for that kind of wussery.

Stanley Anderson

Anderson holds the distinction of playing not one, but two unnamed presidents. After a group of rouge Marines seized a stockpile of rockets armed with deadly gas in the 1996 film The Rock, they seize control of Alcatraz Island during a guided tour and threaten to attack San Francisco with the rockets.

Anderson's president orders an air strike on the island, thereby neutralizing the gas, killing the terrorist, but also killing the 81 tourists being held hostage.

Two years later, this president — possibly the same president, re-elected in 1996, after the incident earlier that year — is called upon to inspire the nation, and the world, after an asteroid the size of Texas is discovered to be found heading for Earth in the 1998 film Armageddon.

At first, I was impressed that this guy was cast to play the president twice in two separate films until I realized that both The Rock and Armageddon were directed by Michael Bay.

The same year Armageddon was released, Anderson played the Judge Arthur Vandelay, who sentenced Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer to a year in jail in the series finale of Seinfeld.

Didn't make it because: To be honest, we didn't remember either The Rock or Armageddon having a president until someone pointed it out to us. You've gotta have some brand recognition to make this bracket. Also, having already included Tom Beck, we figured our quota for asteroid-themed disaster movies was met.

Daryl Philbin (as portrayed by Craig Robinson)

Philbin, who is already a fictional character, played the president in Michael Scott's Threat Level Midnight in last week's episode of The Office.

This president calls on Agent Michael Scarn to stop Goldenface from blowing up the NHL All-Star Game. At this point, Scarn had already saved the NFL All-Star Game, the NBA All-Star Game and the MLB All-Star Game, but was unable to prevent the WNBA All-Star Game from suffering an unspecified calamity. Still, going 3-1 in saving all-star games is usually considered pretty good.

We later find out that the president is in cahoots with Goldenface and is looking to blow up the stadium housing the NHL All-Star Game, which the president owns, for insurance money. But at the end of the movie, the president is inexplicably good again? To be honest, the plot of Threat Level Midnight is a little bit of a mess.

Really, this was the best episode of The Office in years. And it will probably be its last great episode since Steve Carell will be leaving at the end of the season, yet they'll be continuing the show.

Didn't make it because: To be honest, Philbin's president would have most definitely been included in the bracket had this episode aired two months earlier.

Bruce Grey

Grey portrayed an unnamed president in the 1996 Leslie Neilsen parody vehicle, Spy Hard. His presidency is seen only in a flashback sequence where we find out what happened when Nielsen's character, agent Dick Steele (which, what a strangely bland name), was part of the secret service. Those of you well-grounded in the Nielsen oeuvre can probably guess how that went.

We're told that the life of Grey's president was saved not through any help of Dick Steele's, but because he was a strong swimmer. It would be the last time Steele was put in the line of fire.

Didn't make it because: Swimming, while an excellent cardiovascular workout, won't help you in the Presidential Gladiatorial Arena™.

And speaking of the line of fire...

Jim Curley

We're going out on a limb here, considering that neither HttCttD author has seen In the Line of Fire. However, neither IMDB nor Wikipedia gives us a name for Jim Curley's president, the man whom Clint Eastwood was trying to save from John Malkovich. That seems rather unusual, given that the events of In the Line of Fire supposedly take place while Curley's president is running for re-election; you'd think there would be a sign some place giving Curley's president's name. Apparently not:

Didn't make it because: Again, being honest? We only heard of this guy about five minutes ago. So, tough luck.

Unfortunately for these fine actors, they could not be included in our tournament. You can show your support (or dislike) for unnamed presidents by voting in this week's poll if you haven't already.

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