Monday, February 21, 2011

Unnamed vs. Monroe

Unnamed President

(Portrayed by Billy Bob Thornton in Love Actually)
Age: Thornton was 48 when the movie was filmed

PROS: Slick — we don't know much about this guy, but we know he was something of a smooth operator. Indeed, he was charismatic, something of a lothario... It would help if maybe we knew something about the man they based the character on, but —


Basically, what we're trying to say is, the guy was probably loaded with enough testosterone to make him a formidable adversary.

Obscurity — Obviously, there's a lot we don't know about this guy. On the other hand, doesn't that mean we can use him as a blank slate? Yes, commenters, the only limit to this man's powers is... your IMAGINATION!

CONS: Poor timing/impulse control — For those of you who haven't seen Love Actually, here's what goes down (don't worry, I'm only spoiling about 1/16th of the plot for you). So, we open with the election of a hot, dynamic, young, and single British prime minister. Again, it's hard to tell who this might be based on —

Oh. Well, except for the single part, I guess.

Anyway, our young PM is played by Hugh Grant. So, Hugh Grant's hot, dynamic, etc. PM soon meets Natalie, a hot, dynamic, young single lady. Well, by "meet," we mean that her job is to serve him tea. Anyway, chemistry ensues. Unfortunately, President Billy Bob arrives for a summit during the "we haven't really acted on any of this" phase, and wouldn't you know, Natalie is sent to deliver the president some tea. Whereupon Hugh Grant walks in to find them totally making out.


In response, Hugh Grant drops a little bomb on the president on his way out the door, and I'd totally show you what it was, but YouTube won't let me, so we'll all have to be content with a link. Which is a shame.

Fine, we'll throw in a picture, too.

Point is, president chucklepants over here may have damaged the United States' relationship with a crucial ally, just over some dame in a skirt. To be fair, surely he didn't know about the Hugh Grant/Natalie flirtatiousness... but we're guessing he didn't ask too much about her status, either. Nice going.

Obscurity — Remember everything I just said about how his character was a blank slate that we could project on? Well, we can project weaknesses as well as strengths, can't we? Just throwing that out there.

James Monroe
5th President of the United States
Served: 1817-1825
Ages during term: 58-66

PROS: Surprisingly bad ass — While Monroe was attending the College of William & Mary, he joined a group that raided the arsenal Governor's Palace for weapons for the Williamsburg militia. He later dropped out of school to join the Continental Army.

During the Revolutionary War, Monroe was shot in the shoulder. He was also supposedly portrayed in two famous John Trumbull paintings.

And if Trumbull concentrated on one thing, it was historical accuracy in his paintings.

He claimed an ENTIRE hemisphere — In 1823, after much of Latin America had declared independence from their European colonial powers, he declared that the Americas should be free from future European colonization. The U.S. would stay neutral in wars involving still-existing colonies and their powers. But, he also declared that any act of aggression against a sovereign nation in the Western Hemisphere would be an act against the U.S.

There was no way the U.S. had the military to back up the Monroe Doctrine. Europe could have just ignored this talk from a still-wet-behind-the-ears nation and recolonized Latin America, but they didn't. Britain even agreed to help the U.S. enforce the doctrine, even though these two nations had just finished fighting less than a decade earlier.

Monroe said. It happened. End of story. And it shaped the future of U.S. foreign policy.

CONS: Not used to real opposition — Monroe, a Democratic-Republican, had the advantage of running for president just as their rival Federalist Party was dissolving. In 1816, Monroe easily beat Federalist candidate, Rufus King, with 68% of the popular vote. By the time 1820 rolled around, the Federalists only remained in a few states, so they had no candidate. As a result, Monroe ran unopposed, though a New Hampshire elector threw a vote towards John Quincy Adams. He and George Washington remain the only presidential candidates to run unopposed. (George Washington did it twice. But, c'mon, he was Washington.)

I sure hope he doesn't expect the Presidential Gladiatorial Arena™ to be as easy as the Election of 1820. Because, let me tell you; it's not.

Maybe his anger for New Hampshire Elector William Plumer could fuel Monroe's ire.

He was the last of a dying breed — Monroe was the last president to have fought in the Revolutionary War. He was the last to wear powdered wigs knee breeches. He even tried to be like John Adams and Thomas Jefferson and up and died on the fifth anniversary of their deaths.

Monroe signals the end of a generation. Albeit, it's probably the greatest in our nation's history (you want to fight us on this one, Brokaw?) but how much fight is left in these scrappy folks by the time Monroe takes office?

The Fight

Doug: Both President Skirt Chaser — would it have killed Richard Curtis to name the president? — and James Monroe would be remembered for their foreign policy. Monroe, in a well-calculated move, proclaimed our spot on the world stage and told Europe to stay out of the Western Hemisphere and they did. President First Base, on the other hand, shot the U.S. in the foot and made us looking like Yankee cowboy assholes, which is not something we were used to in 2003.

Tony: Whoa, we weren't used to looking like Yankee cowboy assholes in 2003? Really? I'm pretty sure that's not the case. I mean, we had to have at least used up our supply of post-2001 good vibes by then, otherwise, there wouldn't have been that super-British-pride involved in the press conference scene.

Doug: Ugh. Your sarcasm detector is on the fritz. Of course we were used to looking like YCAs in 2003. We bullied other nations into helping us invade another nation all on false pretenses.

Tony: We sure as hell did! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! Wait...

Doug: Anyway, Mr. No Name is going to go into the arena with absolutely no plan. He'll just go in as his slick self and hope that it works. It didn't work with...

... The Prime Minister? Wait, Hugh Grant's character didn't have a name either? You're killing me, Curtis. I know that movie had, like, 50-something central characters, but if you run out of fake names, just go to the phone book and pick a first and last name at random.

I digress. The President's impulsive nature may have gotten him into the White House, and into the Presidential Gladiatorial Arena™ by extension, but it also gets him into trouble. And when it does, shit goes south.

Tony: See, I don't know if the president's "no plan" plan didn't work. I mean, think about it — he basically gets everything he wants out of the summit itself. Then, at the end, PM Poncey-pants finally grows a pair and says "well, next time, you'd better watch out." But that's all talk. The next time they get together, the president is probably just going to bitch-slap the little snot back into line.

Doug: Okay, you raise a good point. Next time, the PM might lose his nerve and allow himself to get kicked around by the president again. However, there is no next time in the arena. Just a decorated Revolutionary War veteran who won't take any shit.

Tony: Meh, I dunno if Unnamed is going to be intimidated by Monroe. He's probably just going to see someone dressed up for a costume party. Easy pickings!

Doug: Well, since we're allowed to make up things about Unnamed, then I give him hemophilia. Dude can't stop bleeding. Ooh, tough break. Blood is everywhere. It's not long before the place looks like a fake Sam Peckinpah film.

Tony: If we're making stuff up — then I give Mr. Unnamed President a Hulk-like reaction to wig powder. DUN DUN DUNNNNNN!

Doug: I imagine that whole thing might be quite frightening. I mean for Mr. Unnamed. He was born over a century after powdered wigs fell out of fashion. And it's not like they came back later with a different name, like bellbottoms / flares, they just disappeared completely. This is is first time being exposed to wig powder, so when he transforms into the Hulk, there must be a few moments of "What the hell is happening to me?" before he realizes that this transformation makes him stronger. Monroe didn't back away from the Hessians in the Battle of Trenton, I can't imagine he'd stop here. By that time, I'm sure Monroe had broken skin somewhere.

Tony: You're not wrong about Unnamed freaking out when he transforms for what is likely the first time, but I'd remind you that the original Hulk probably went through the same thing, and he didn't wind up curling into the fetal position. Instead, he broke shit. Ergo, Monroe's not going to need a Doctorine...

... he's gonna need a Doctor.

As always, polls close Friday, 9 a.m. Mountain Time.

Vote & comment!

Unnamed vs. Monroe


  1. Really? "Love Actually" vs. the great great grandfather of Marylin Monroe? No chance. 27 towns/cities in 21 different states are named after James Monroe and his opponent's name was what again? That's what I thought... nothing, BOOM roasted.

  2. Well, if this where a race to see who could get into a lovely lady's pants first, I'd have to go with Unnamed. As it is a FIGHT TO THE DEATH, however, I've got to back Monroe. (Although the fact that Unnamed gets as far as he does with Billy Bob Thornton's face shows he's got gumption, I'll give him that.)

  3. Since we're allowed to get out the 1080-P for "Unnamed," I need to remind all readers of HttCttD that Mr. Thornton was also the genius dressed in the red suit in "Bad Santa." 'nuf said, but I'll just add that Monroe's little larceny at the Governor's Palace was nothing more than a panty raid, and as I understand the rules of combat 'round here, "Doctrine" don't mean dick. Unnamed works this bulimic Joe Lieberman look-alike inside of the first round. P.S. Doug, I'm still mildly disenfranchised.

  4. I am representing the voter who knows jack squat about history and is voting on pure popularity and visual appeal. Someone who knows absolutely nothing about the platforms (or in this case, fighting skills) of the combatants, but votes based on other random crap. Meaning, I am representing the average American (idiotic) voter.

    Billy Bob apparently has OCD, including a rare (and weird) phobia of antique furniture. Now, ordinarily I'd say that Monroe, being an antiquity himself, might use this phobia to his advantage somehow (like yelling out "cherry rolltop desk" in Unnamed's within the ring). However, that statement involves too much thinking, and I am not here to represent snarky yet clever perspectives today.

    I think Unnamed will win because his suit is prettier (do you SEE that purple tie?), his hair is more kempt, and the ladies are more likely to give him a celebration roll in the hay. Which might be just the motivation he needs to knock Monroe to the ground.

  5. I would vote for unnamed president, only because it is the best movie ever. Even though initially, I thought to leave unnamed out of it (out of spite), I think now, unnamed should win because his ( admitted crater-face) leaves him cutie status to some 30 somethingthings. Oh Billy-Bob, where have you been all my life.

  6. Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze painted Washington crossing the Delaware not Turmbull.