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Top Movies of 2018

Well, 2018 was quite a year. While I didn’t have a hard time picking my top five favorite films of the year, what I was surprised by was the “big middle” of everything I saw this year. Of the hundreds of movies I saw between theaters, film festivals, and originals thanks to streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, my average for everything I rated was a 3.461765 stars (out of 5). And while I only had a single 5 star movie (spoiler, it’s my #1), my most common rating for the year was a 4.5 (15 films) and a 3.5 (14 films). In terms of raw scores, my #36 isn’t that far off of my #6. That’s all to say we had a lot of really good movies– mixed with a few truly greats.

Because of that (call it indulgent, IDC) I’m giving you my Top 40, just like Casey Kasem back in the day.

The Top 40- 11:
(if you skip these to get to the top ten I won’t be offended)

40. Operation FinaleOscar Isaac leads a Mossad team to take down Adolf Eichman (Ben Kingsley) are you kidding me?!? Had to see this. File under: Jews kicking ass.
39. Overlord – the corollary to #40, but a black paratrooper taking out crazy Nazi scientists doing superhuman experiments. Reminds us Nazis are the bad guys.
38. The Rachel Divide -A Netflix documentary about Rachel Dolezal, mostly in her own words, the activist who claims she is trans-racial. It’ll make you think.
37. Ready Player One – This was my 13 yr old daughter’s favorite movie of the year. It reminds us that fun Spielberg is fun.
36. Ralph Breaks the Internet – It makes the list just for the Disney princess scene and “A Place Called Slaughter Race.”
35. A Simple Favor – Heavy on style, Anna Kendrick plays up the fun angle with director Paul Feig as a mommy blogger whose new best friend disappears. There’s a fun sort of “true crime” type mystery with the comedy here.
34. Mandy – this movie feels like a relic of another time — specifically, the 80’s with definite hints of Heavy Metal — and feels like it was made under the influence of a lot of drugs as Nicholas Cage takes revenge on a crazy cult who murdered his wife.

33. BlackkKlansman – I should’ve loved this movie more, but its weird tacked-on ending sort of blew it, and only in one shot in the entire movie did it feel like this was the same Spike Lee who gave us Do the Right Thing.
32. QuincyRashida Jones gives us the most intimate look at her father, master composer Quincy Jones. A great watch on Netflix.
31. Deadpool 2 – It’s a Deadpool movie. It’s great.
30. Widows – It’s a high stakes, high concept heist movie with an amazing female cast and political intrigue. It’s great.
29. Mary Poppins Returns – I love Mary Poppins. And Lin Manuel Miranda. It’s not as immediately classic as the original, but who expected it to? Emily Blunt is still amazing. And it’s great.
28. Hereditary – This is the movie that stuck with me the longest. Still, thinking about this movie makes me want to turn on all the lights in my house. Also, an amazing acting job by Toni Collette.
27. Number 37 – A movie you probably never heard of! I caught this gem at SXSW and fell in love. A South African slum gangland take on Rear Window by a first time black female director. Yes please.
26. RBG – This was a great year for documentaries. This one on the Notorious Ruth Bader Ginsburg checks all my boxes.
25. Incredibles II – This sequel to one of the greatest animated movies of all time (and one of the greatest superhero movies of all time) did some really amazing things thanks to director Brad Bird,, but the ending took it down a few notches. But the fact that this ended up at 25 tells you just how competitive this year was.
24. BlindspottingDaveed Diggs and Rafael Casal‘s tale of police violence, Oakland, and hip hop was a little too pat in its ending, but was otherwise masterful. A main reason Oakland ended up on my list of “Who won 2018?”

23. Searching – We’ve now seen several of these movies where they’re told only through what we can see on the screen of a computers. Like found footage, there are good and bad, and this is a good one. John Cho and Debra Messing deliver powerful performances in a story about trying to piece together the mystery of a missing daughter through her social media footprint, intertwined with a father losing touch with his daughter in the age of screens.
22. Bad Times at the El Royale – This might’ve ended up higher on the list if it had delivered more on substance over style, but this was still pretty amazing. And that soundtrack!
21. Minding the Gap – An amazing documentary about young adults growing up as friends in a rust belt town as skate punks and how life and domestic abuse has kept them back. Fascinating and maybe a bit too real.
20. A Quiet Place – Wow. Nothing quite shocked audiences as much as this, as well as exposed the worst theater-goers in America. Shut up or the monsters win! One of several reasons why I said Emily Blunt and John Krasinski won the year of 2018.
19. Leave No Trace – Props to writer/director Debra Granik and to amazing performances by Ben Foster and breakout star Thomasin McKenzie in this heartwrenching look at a dad dealing with PTSD who lives a solitary existence off the grid in the woods with his young teen daughter. Of course, when Child Protective Services finds out. . . well, you’re not exactly allowed to do that. And drama ensues.
(18.- tie) The Ballad of Buster Scruggs – There’s a debate as to whether this is a movie, as it is currently being presented by Netflix, or a tv miniseries, which was how the Coen Brothers originally pitched it. This is peak Coen in all their forms, but if this is a movie, this is where it would fall.
18. Mission Impossible: Fallout – Finally it feels like writer/director Christopher McQuarrie leveled up his directing to the level of his writing ability. The perfect summer movie, even if I liked a few other movies from the summer of ’18 a little more.
17. Annihilation – Along with Hereditary, this was the movie that stuck with me (in my nightmares). Astounding visuals and an amazing ending, and an amazing cast.
16. Avengers: Infinity War – We knew we’d get to this eventually, right? There isn’t much more to add. Bring on 2019’s conclusion and Captain Marvel.

15. Upgrade – Done on a tiny budget, this movie packs a punch of a $150 million blockbuster. Brutal, fun, and thoughtful.
14. Vice – Dear Writer/Director Adam McKay, Don’t lie– you made this movie just for me to enjoy, right? Built to my tastes? The fact this isn’t in my top 10 (it would be in any other year) says a lot about the other films on this list.
13. The Favourite – Dear Writer/Director Yourgos Lanthimos, Same Question. Also, thanks for bringing back the fish-eye lens.
12. Crazy Rich Asians – I haven’t wholeheartedly loved a romantic comedy like this in ages. Just pure fun, and its stellar cast is amazing.
11. Won’t You Be My Neighbor – The movie most likely to make me cry in 2018. This is just sheer goodness. Again, how is this not in my top 10?

The answer is because those movies in my top 10 are just so great themselves. Here you go, without any further ado:

10. Roma

Roma

“We are alone. No matter what they tell you, we women are always alone.” A beautiful film by one of the best directors working today, Alfonso Cuaron. An ode to his maid, growing up in an upper-middle class house in Mexico City, this has some of the most beautiful and thoughtful cinematography of any film. The fact that it’s in black and white should also be telling. Even more importantly, the fact that Netflix is going to be in the mix for a Best Picture this year should have every movie studio quaking in their boots. If you watch this at home in your pajamas instead of in a theater, no one will think less of you, or at least I won’t. Just watch it.

9. Hearts Beat Loud

Hearts Beat Loud

Without a John Carney movie musical around for me to adopt this year as one of my favorites, I went with this one. Nick Offerman owns a record shop and tries to connect with his daughter who is about to leave for college through playing music together, when she falls in love with her first serious girlfriend. She writes a great song, they put it on Spotify, it gets some notice… and more. Just beautiful performances, great music, and a movie about love and family. Also, Ted Danson as a bartender.

8. Las Sandinistas!

Las Sandinistas!

Wait, what? Who? This documentary about the women behind the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua is one of my favorite documentaries of the year in a year with amazing documentaries. (This isn’t the last one in my list) I first saw this at SXSW and fell in love. You will too if you can find a way to see this.

7. Paddington 2

Paddington 2

There isn’t a better word for this film than just “charming,” or perhaps “nice” or “good.” This is comfort food you didn’t think you needed. It will heal your soul and fill you with good cheer. Also? Hugh Grant for Best Supporting Actor.

6. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse

Dear Sony, THIS is what you should be doing with your extended Spider-Man universe instead of. . . well, Venom. Every single one of your spider-personas in the film was perfect, but especially Spider-Gwen and Miles Morales. Peter Parker means a lot to so many of us. But it’s great that there are others who can take up that mantle: Spider-Man isn’t an everyman unless literally anyone could be him, regardless of age, gender, race, or species. This new, fresh take is so important, but so so is this animation. I’ve never seen anything like this, and I can’t wait to see more. More Miles and Spider-Gwen please! And Spider-Ham and Spider-Man Noir. Ok, just all of them.

5. Eighth Grade

Eighth Grade

This was another movie I adopted as a favorite ever since seeing it at SXSW. I can’t state this enough: as a father of a 13 year old girl, this is the most true depiction of what her life is like that I have ever seen. The rest of my favorites don’t seem to be getting much notice for major awards, so I’ll be pulling heavily for writer/director Bo Burnham and especially breakout star Elsie Fisher.

4. First Reformed

First Reformed

I sadly missed this at SXSW, and only recently caught up with it. I wish someone had grabbed me by the lapels sooner and made me watch it. What I dreaded as homework and maybe another stolid but off-putting performance by Ethan Hawke I instead found a complex narrative about faith, pain, moral imperatives, and a Christian view of our responsibility to take care of the earth. That REALLY checks a lot of boxes for me. “Will God forgive us?” Not if you don’t see this movie, she won’t.

3. Black Panther

Black Panther

Here it is. The big kahuna. The mothership. The single largest, most important piece of pop culture phenomenon in America for 2018. I literally de-friended a few fellow critics on Facebook because they didn’t like this movie, and when I pressed them for why, their reasons were bull$#!t and a cover for racism. If you can’t appreciate the filmmaking prowess on display here by Ryan Coogler, you have no business calling yourself a film critic.No other Marvel film has ever felt so little like it came off the assembly line. No other feels crafted quite so carefully, so deftly, with precision in every shot, in the delivery of every line. And to that, we have to give credit to this amazing cast. Michael B. Jordan is the greatest Marvel villain, and when he demands to see the Wakandan sunset, and die rather than live in chains, my heart breaks every time. “Show them who you are!” You did, Black Panther, you did.

2. Three Identical Strangers

Three Identical Strangers

This documentary came out of nowhere and astounded me. Sold to me as a story of three identical triplets adopted by different families who reunite by happenstance seemed like it would just be a fun little romp. Oh, cool! Nature vs. nurture– look at all the similarities between these boys even though they were separated at birth. And then. . . you find out what’s really going on. There’s a crazy twist that I still won’t reveal because not enough people have seen this. But once you find out, it will challenge everything you think you know about nature vs. nurture, no matter which side of the debate you are on.

1. Sorry to Bother You

Sorry to Bother You

This is the best movie of the year and the only film I gave 5 stars out of 5 to. Is it, in fact, a perfect movie? No. But, it’s so audacious in what it is trying to do that I will forgive any small problems it may have. And what this tries to do is skewer the intersection of class and race, delivering a stunning repudiation of Bay Area neoliberalism and technocracy. This is about the closest we get to Terry Gilliam, Spike Jonze or Michel Gondry doing a woke black power narrative, and it is fantastic. I heard from a lot of folks that liked this movie ok, until the ending, which they hated. To me, the ending was perfect and what made this so audacious– I, usually silent in most movie screenings, literally gasped, “What the f@$%?!!?!” As crazy as it was, it fit with the film’s themes and made me love it even more. For being that willing to reach for it — no compromises — this was my favorite of the year.

Fin.

So, that’s it. What do you think? You may have noticed some pretty big snubs in there. Some of those were intentional, some of those I never got around to see. Tell us what you loved and what you think I missed, overrated, underrated down in the comments.

And also here’s my list of the worst movies, and my Top 5 of Everything, along with “Who Won 2018?”

Rampage Smashes Into First While A Quiet Place Makes Noise in Second

It looks like Rampage won the weekend, holding off last weekend’s top movie A Quiet Place. Rampage came in first place with an estimated $34.5 million from 4,101 theaters. The film also brought in $114.1 million from 61 markets internationally for a grand total of $148.6 million worldwide. For a $120 million film, that’s a tough one as it really only has one more weekend and then all the oxygen in the room will be sucked up by Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War. The film played to a 55% male audience and 63% were over the age of 25. Audiences gave the film an “A-” CinemaScore.

In second place was last weekend’s winner, A Quiet Place which has seen a lot of positive word of mouth. The film added an estimated $32.6 million domestically to bring that total to just shy of $100 million (and depending on adjustments it might pass that number this weekend). That’s a quick $100 million and Paramount must be happy with the results. Internationally, the film added $22.3 million from 55 markets. The film has earned a total of $51.7 million at the international box office for a worldwide total of $151.3 million.

Another horror film Truth or Dare came in third place with an estimated $19 million debut from 3,029 locations. The film earned a “B-” CinemaScore and had an audience that was 60% female and 40% over the age of 25. The film brought in an estimated $2.6 million at the international box office. The film will have a slow international rollout over the next couple of months. Worldwide the film has earned $21.7 million.

In fourth place was Ready Player One with an estimated $11.2 million to bring its domestic total to $114.6 million. The film also added $33.8 million at the foreign box office from 65 markets. There the total is now $360.2 million for a worldwide total of $474.8 million. The movie opens in Japan this coming weekend.

Rounding out the top five was Blockers which added $11.2 million to its domestic total to bring that to $36.9 million. It also is in 21 international territories where it brought it $3.9 million. The international total is now $16 million for a worldwide total of $52.9 million.

In comic movie news….

Black Panther came in sixth place with an estimated $5.3 million. Its domestic total now stands at $673.8 million. Worldwide the film has earned $1.313 billion.

The Death of Stalin held steady at #18 with an estimated $474,692. The film has earned $6.3 million domestically.

We’ll be back in an hour for a deeper dive into this year’s comic film adaptations and may finally wrap up 2017.

A Quiet Place Makes Some Noise with a $50 Million Debut Weekend

A Quiet PlaceA Quiet Place won the weekend while another debut, Blockers had a solid start. A Quiet Place debuted with an estimated $50 million. That’s the second largest three-day opening of the year so far. The film was written and directed by John Krasinski and had a $17 million budget. The film received praise from critics and a “B+” CinemaScore. The audience was 51% female and 63% of the crowd aged 25 or older. It is expect that debut number will rise higher once the final numbers for the weekend are in.

Internationally, the film debuted in 40 markets and brought in an estimated $21 million for a global total of $71 million.

Dropping to second was last weekend’s winner, Ready Player One. The film brought in $25 million, a 40% drop. Domestically the film has earned $96.9 million and $294.4 internationally for a total of $391.3 million.

In third pace was another debut, Blockers. The R-rated comedy earned an estimated $21.4 million. The film received a “B” CinemaScore with an opening weekend audience that was 51% female and 56% over the age of 25.

The film opened in 15 markets internationally where it earned $3.2 million. It’ll open in Germany next weekend and has 42 markets it still has to release.

In fourth place was Black Panther which dropped 27% in its eighth weekend. The film earned an estimated $8.4 million domestically, the film has earned $665 million. That makes it the third highest grossing domestic release of all-time passing Titanic (not adjusted for inflation). It would have to earned another $95 million to pass Avatar which is in second place.

Internationally, the film added $4.5 million to tat total to bring its international earnings to $635 million for a worldwide total just shy of $1.3 billion.

Rounding out the top five was I Can Only Imagine which earned an estimated $8.35 million an added theaters. Domestically, the film has earned $70 million.

When it comes to other comic related films…

The Death of Stalin came in at #18 slipping just one slot from last week. The film brought in $1.11 million and added 70 theaters. It’s now showing in 554 theaters. The film has earned $5.6 million domestically.

We’ll be back in an hour for a further dive into this year and last year’s comic film adaptations.

Ready Player One Plugs In to First Place

It shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, but Ready Player One won the weekend with an estimated $41.2 million haul. For four days, the film earned $53.2 million. It’s Steven Spielberg’s largest opening since Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in 2008.

The film received an “A-” CinemaScore and the audience as 59% male and 56% over the age of 25.

Internationally, the film opened in 62 markets and earned an estimated $128 million for a debut of $181.2 million globally. The film opens in Germany on April 5 and in Japan April 20.

The film should have a decent run but has competition with Rampage which opens on April 13 and both films need to earn what they can before Avengers: Infinity War debuts later this month.

In second place was Tyler Perry’s Acrimony which earned an estimated $17.1 million. That film earned an “A-” CinemaScore with an audience that was 74% female and 85% over the age of 25.

In third place was Black Panther with an estimated $11.2 million. The film has now earned $650.7 million domestically, the fifth highest of all time and it will likely wind up in third when its run is over. At the international box office the film added $7.7 million to bring its international gross to $623.2 million and $1.274 billion. It currently places eleventh for all-time worldwide total and will easily move into the top ten passing Frozen.

In fourth place was I Can Only Imagine which dropped from third last week. That film added $10.8 million to its domestic total which now stands at $55.6 million off of a $7 million budget.

Rounding out the top five was Pacific Rim: Uprising which dropped from last weekend’s first place. The film earned $9.2 million a drop of 67.3% and brings its domestic total to $45.7 million. The film has also brought in $186.2 million for a $231.9 million worldwide total. The original brought in $309.2 million with a budget of $40 million higher.

In other comic related films…

The Death of Stalin added $1.5 million to its domestic total to bring that to $3.9 million. The movie is now playing in 484 theaters.

We’ll be back in an hour for a deeper examination of comic film adaptations.

The Top 25 Fictional Presidents

Happy Presidents’ Day!

With everyone else running their lists of the top Presidents and the worst and because our current occupant of the Oval Office is, ahhem, how do I put it?

JLW79

Quite right. So, we thought we’d bring you the list of the top fictional Presidents to help us set our sights higher.

Let’s start with a couple of honorable mentions. While they didn’t make the top list, it’s worth noting that Roy Schieder, James Cromwell, and Bruce Greenwood have all played presidents multiple times. Because when someone says, “We need a President—who’s an actor who exudes gravitas?” the obvious answer is the guy who blew up Jaws, Farmer Hoggett, and. . .well, Bruce Greenwood. Robert Rodriguez also seems to like to cast random people as presidents in his movies, including George Clooney in Spy Kids and Charlie Sheen as the most hilariously named fictional president ever, “President Rathcock,” in Machete Kills.

And with that, I present to you, the Top 25 Fictional Presidents of all time

25. Stephen Colbert / President Hathaway — Marvel Comics/Monsters vs. Aliens played by Stephen Colbert.

Because the Executive Producer of Our Cartoon President has also been. . . a cartoon president. Specifically, a president who decides that the best way to attack aliens is with monsters. This film was genius and I never quite understood why it didn’t take off more.

Colbert ASM variant cover

Also, we should always remember that time in Marvel comics when Colbert (his persona as a loudmouth host of The Colbert Report, not his nicer, more mainstream self as host of The Late Show) ran as an independent, won the popular vote, and lost the Electoral College to Obama.

Losing the popular vote but being elected anyway? “Preposterous! Only in comic books!” you say? Sounds right.

Ok, so not exactly a president. But he’s right in that hall of almost presidents with Hillary Clinton, Al Gore and Samuel Tilden. And none of them got to team up with Spider-Man. (Yet.)

24. James Dale — Mars Attacks! played by Jack Nicholson.

Stealing a vibe from Dr. Strangelove and other b-movie alien invasion films, Nicholson is able to channel quite well the hapless president overwhelmed by alien invasion. My favorite is how he keeps believing the worst possible advice. For style, not for substance, you made the list.

23. Tom Beck — Deep Impact played by Morgan Freeman. Ok, I know he belongs on this list, but I get seriously confused about which asteroid movie this was? Oh, this was the one where the asteroid actually hits. Ok. Not with Ben Affleck and Bruce Willis. And was Morgan Freeman also the President in “Olympus Has Fallen”? Oh, no, that was Aaron Eckhart. Almost.

Anyway — Morgan Freeman. That is all.

doctorow wheaton22. Cory Doctorow / Wil Wheaton, Ready Player One

Are you ready for Ready Player One?

With the movie coming in just a few weeks, hype is in full gear. Worth noting, in Ernest Cline’s book that the film is based off of, it mentioned the very real people Cory Doctorow and Wil Wheaton had been elected president and vice-president of the Oasis, the giant online system everyone uses for games, education, second life. At this point, who controlled the Oasis was far more important than who was actually president, as the real world really sucked.

Real people, fake product, fake presidents– but we could use more people like them in politics and fewer like, well, most of the people in charge these days.

21. Preston Rickard / Beth Ross, Prez from DC Comics

Kids elected president? We could do much worse. In this satire where future presidents are elected by Twitter because turnout is so low and kids are allowed to vote, somehow a social media star gets elected president. In the 2015 reboot, they even bring back the original Prez from the 1970’s. It’s great satire because our politics have literally gotten just that bad. You can read a more full review we ran here and also here, and here, and an interview with the writer here. A series that was cancelled too soon, maybe it will get rebooted again in another 40 years.

20. Thomas Whitmore, Independence Day played by Bill Pullman.

Ok, just watch that clip above. That’s the only reason why. Yeah, he flew a fighter jet to save the earth, but so what? Big summer movie speech– the biggest summeriest speechiest movie speech ever. And please try to forget that Independence Day 2 ever happened.

19. Vanellope Von Schweetz – Wreck-It Ralph played by Sarah Silverman. Upon being restored to her rightful place as Princess of Sugar Rush land, Vanellope decides to transition her government into a constitutional democracy and become President. Hey, it’s better than ordering the execution of Taffeta Muttonfudge and the others who were mean to her. For being a president who is able to give up supreme executive power in favor of giving it to the people, you made the list, Vanellope. Also, looking forward to your sequel and you possibly becoming. . . a Disney Princess?

18. Merkin Mufflin – Dr. Strangelove played by Peter Sellers. 

On this list if only for the classic line “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the war room!” And because Peter Sellers.

17. Zaphod Beeblebrox — The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Finally, a president whose narcissism rivals that of our own! Two heads, three arms, and the biggest idiot, he was elected president of the galaxy — a position which has no power and is only there to distract people from who’s really in charge. There are a lot of satirical presidents on this list, but this is one of the best. If he had Twitter, no doubt he’d be tweeting about being “a very stable genius” “despite all the negative press covfefe.” Also, the only president with his own music video (from the 2005 film starring Sam Rockwell as our president) — and he’s better looking, too.

16. President Skroob — Spaceballs played by Mel Brooks.

It’s good to be the king, er, president. Floozies. Unlisted walls. Nobody telling you your ass is so big. Your own canned air supply.

Too bad you run a civilization so dumb that it is running out of oxygen. (I’m betting Scott Pruitt runs Spaceballs’ EPA) But still, hail Skroob!

15. James Marshall — Air Force One played by Harrison Ford. “Get off of my plane!” That’s all you need to make the list. Also, James Marshall seems like a pretty good guy. He’s resourceful enough to contact his people and sabotage his own hijacked plane, he can speak Russian in remarks to the Russian government.

I always thought this was the “President Jack Ryan” movie that we never got (because, let’s face it, Debt of Honor and Executive Orders will never be made into movies) as a follow up to Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger. Plus, it’s Harrison Ford.

14. Richard Nixon’s head — Futurama played by Billy West. “NIXON’S BACK!!!” Disproving the adage that there are no second acts in politics, Nixon served as President of Earth for most of the run of Futurama, providing some awesome times along the way– brought to you by Shenkman’s Rubbing Compound and the great taste of Charleston Chew.

Corrupt, easy to anger, and also pretty stupid, it makes us almost forget how bad the actual Richard Nixon was. And it also seems pretty spot-on these days.

13. Jackson Evans – The Contender played by Jeff Bridges.

One of my personal and pet favorites, President Jackson Evans spends most of the film trying to outmaneuver a slimy and hypocritical Gary Oldman (the second time he’s been the villain on the list! Whaddya know?!?) to get a woman confirmed as his Vice President. Oh, and also trying to order the most ridiculous things from the White House kitchen staff to show them they’re unprepared. Jeff Bridges is also part of a family of presidential stars, including his father Lloyd Bridges president in Hot Shots Part Deux, and brother Beau Bridges as president three times in 10.5, its sequel 10.5 Apocalypse and an episode of Stargate SG-1.

12. Kang – The Simpsons played by Harry Shearer. When Kang and his sister Kodos take over as Bill Clinton and Bob Dole in the 1996 elections, it was only a matter of time before one of them became president. They were sure fire winners, especially with classy campaign rhetoric like: “Abortions for some, tiny American flags for others.” “My fellow Americans. As a young boy, I dreamed of being a baseball; but tonight I say, we must move forward, not backward; upward, not forward; and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!” When it was pointed out that they were aliens, Kodos pointed out it was a two party system. When some idiot said he would vote for a third party candidate, Kang sealed his place in history by saying “Go ahead– throw your vote away.” And that’s what make him so high on this list. Don’t like it? “Don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos.”

11. President Business – The Lego Movie played by Will Farrell. 

Both greed and conformity personified, President Business is perhaps the most subversive choice on this entire list. Most kids will never get the dystopian overtones, but if Gordon Gecko and Big Brother made a child out of Legos, this would be it.

Also, that awesome hat and those legs.

Those legs. 

Genius.

Also genius– you notice those are coffee mugs on his hat, right?

If only we’d heeded the warning of electing a “businessman” to be president. If Trump invited everyone to a Taco Tuesday, we know something evil is about to happen.

10. Lex Luthor – Superman.

Compared to the other villains on this list (and the current POTUS) who knew that Lex Luthor would be one of the least evil and least overt of the great villain presidents?

The best thing about Luthor as president (and always with Luthor) is he doesn’t think he’s the villain. He even gets the majority of America to agree with him. True genius. 

9. Leslie Knope – Parks and Recreation played by Amy Poehler. Ok, so she was never explicitly president on the show. But the show’s finale sure seemed to hint at it. And let’s be honest? She is exactly what we need right now.

Because unlike most of the rest of these dopes in the top 10, Leslie Knope embodies gumption and honesty and has yet to be corrupted by political power. And we hope she never does. We love you, Leslie Knope.

Knope/Swanson 2020.

8. Lisa Simpson – The Simpsons played by Yeardley Smith. 

Speaking of competent, smart, earnest women who could take over the presidency in a heartbeat. . . .

This is the clip everyone knows where The Simpsons predicted President Trump and a huge debt crisis because of his policies. But what we can hope for is the next occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue will have the intelligence and empathy of Lisa Simpson. I’m not so sure about Secretary of the Treasury Milhouse Van Houten, though. I guess if (Producer of Suicide Squad) Steve Mnuchin can do it. . .

7. Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Comacho — Idiocracy played by Terry Crews. 

The smartest president in the not-too-distant-future (and Cassandra-like warning of our current administration), President Comacho was wise enough to let his Secretary of the Interior, Not Sure, put water from the toilet on the crops, even though we all know plants crave the electrolyes in Brawndo, the thirst mutilator. Also, he’s a champion wrestler, and who doesn’t want that in the White House?

Dave Kevin Kline Sigourney Weaver

6. Dave Kovic impersonating President Bill Mitchell — Dave played by Kevin Kline. 

In the second-greatest Ivan Reitman film of all time, we get to see what would happen if we actually let a regular guy be president. And the answer is a not half-bad job. Dave’s jobs program makes sense to me, and his approach to trimming the budget to keep a homeless shelter open? Would that we could actually do that. While not the most accurate portrayal of Washington, it’s a version I wish we lived in and less like the real world Washington, which is more petty and full of incompetents — like Veep.

5. President Lindberg — The Fifth Element played by Tiny Lister.

As one of the many presidents on this list who have faced destruction of the planet, he handled it the best.

Because what every president should do when facing disaster in the 90’s? Throw Bruce Willis (in this case Corbin Dallas) at it. And perhaps the best part is where he gets yelled at by Corbin Dallas’s overbearing mother.

Wait. . . Gary Oldman’s the bad guy in this one, too! Definitely a pattern. . . and maybe a metaphor for this year’s Best Actor Oscar race, too.

4. David Palmer — 24 played by Dennis Haysbert.

Possibly the most badass of our top 5 presidents, David Palmer stood up to assassination attempts, terror attacks, and Kim getting menaced by a cougar (ok, so not that last one).  He was also the only guy who seemed to be able to control Jack Bauer, which probably qualifies you to be on this list anyway. Also, a crazy murdery wife. And a competent brother who made a good president in his own right. But he was no David Palmer. Few people are.

2. [tie] Josiah “Jed” Bartlett/Andy Shepard — The West Wing/The American President played by Martin Sheen/Michael Douglas.

This is a tie because you can’t truly separate these two characters, as they both personify Aaron Sorkin’s idealized White House full of competent, well-meaning people. Yes, it’s a fantasy in itself. But it’s one we wish we had.

Still one of my favorite tv shows of all time and one of my favorite movies of all time. Also, I think it’s time to reboot The West Wing. Sorkin said he’d reboot it with Sterling K. Brown as president, but I think we could do even better. Pitch: It’s the first two years of President Seaborn’s first term. Except President Seaborn is actually Sam’s wife, and she’s played by, oh, I dunno. . . Gina Torres, Eva Mendes, Eva Longoria, or Rosario Dawson.  Who’s with me?

Honorable mention here to President Santos, our first Latino fictional president.

1. Laura Roslin — Battlestar Galactica played by Mary McDonnell.

A lot of fictional presidents have faced down apocalyptic threats to Earth. Few of them have had to live on after the apocalypse.

Laura Roslin did that and more. Despite being completely unintentionally thrown into the presidency (she was a schoolteacher and Sec of Education before) she filled the role like few others could. And she held her own against Adama, against Tom Zarek, against those fraking cylons, and finally against cancer. She made mistakes along the way, but she rose to what she needed to do. And that is why she is the best. So say we all.

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So, who did we miss? There’s a couple intentionally left off here for very real, non fictional reasons, but if we missed your favorite, or think we rated someone too high or too low, let us know in the comments!