Lights, Camera, Oval Office!
If Abe Lincoln can be a vampire hunter, shouldn’t our other presidents branch out?
With the arrival in theaters of “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” a new age of mash-up historical meta-fiction is upon us. If Honest Abe can fight off the undead in blood-spewing 3-D, what’s to stop Hollywood from “adapting” the biographies of other US presidents and mixing their DNA with established film genres? There have been 43 chief executives since George Washington — surely there has to be box-office gold somewhere in there. Following are some movies that we’re really afraid will soon be coming to a theater near you.
NIXON: THE MUSICAL
A toe-tapping revisionist take on the life and times of our 37th president. Hugh Jackman is an all-singing, all-dancing Richard Nixon traveling from the comic hijinks of the Alger Hiss years to the elegantly choreographed paranoia of the Watergate era. Highlights include the romantic ballad “I’m Getting It Down Pat,” a frenzied dance-off with Nikita Khrushchev (Vin Diesel), and an 18½- minute tap solo by Kristin Chenoweth as Nixon secretary Rose Mary Woods. Jackman brings his unique energy and a wicked five o’clock shadow to the role. Featuring special appearances by One Direction as the Watergate burglars and Neil Patrick Harris as John Dean.
THE MONROE DOCTRINE
A fast-paced, Ludlum-esque thriller with loads of wall-climbing parkour. President James Monroe (Jeremy Renner) is an undercover operative for his own government, popping up in glamorous New World colonies and fighting off corrupt European spies and politicians. Don’t miss the climactic wu-xia battle where the president (or “Big Mon’ ” as his friends call him) fights the duplicitous Russian ambassador (Stellan Skarsgård) on a cliff high above the Pacific Northwest coastline and makes his stand with the now-classic line, “Keep your bloody, stinking paws off my sphere of influence!” With Diego Luna as Monroe’s wacky Venezuelan drinking buddy Simón Bolívar.
America’s 26th president, Theodore Roosevelt (Channing Tatum), speaks softly and carries a really big stick in this dark, violent urban vigilante drama. Forever scarred by the assassination of his friend and mentor, William McKinley (Kevin Costner), Teddy sets out to clean up the country, one anarchist at a time. With Gerard Butler, Chris Hemsworth, Taylor Kitsch, Peter Dinklage, and Jonah Hill as the Rough Riders, making life miserable for malcontents everywhere. And wait until you see Teddy’s pet teddy, a rescued grizzly cub with unexpected mixed martial arts skills. Emma Stone costars as the first lady, swinging a mean “Bully club” herself when hoodlums trap her in the West Wing.
BILLY CLINTON’S DAY OFF
The early years of our 42d president are portrayed in this breezy comic romp made in the style of John Hughes. Smile as young Bill Clinton (Justin Bieber) cuts school on Student Government Day to hang around with his nerdy best friend Al Gore (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and latest lady loves (Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, Ashley Tisdale, and Miranda Cosgrove) while steady girlfriend Hillary Rodham (Dakota Fanning) drives herself crazy trying to catch him. Former independent counsel Kenneth Starr makes his acting debut as the harried school principal. The scene where Billy puts Al’s dad’s brand-new electric car in the swimming pool is already a classic.
I’M A LITTLE TEAPOT
In the spirit of “American Pie” and “Porky’s” comes this randy teen comedy about Warren Harding and his crazy White House shenanigans. You’ll laugh yourself sick as Harding (Adam Sandler) parties hard with his Teapot Dome oil cronies at the “little green house on K Street” and sneaks his many mistresses into the Lincoln bedroom under the hawk-like eyes of Florence Harding (Reese Witherspoon). Lindsay Lohan plays nutty Nan Britton, turning her teenage obsession with the president into a full-on love affair, complete with hot sex in a White House coat closet. With Kiernan Shipka (“Mad Men”) as their love child and Rob Schneider as Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall.
THE HUMAN PIN CUSHION
A relentless torture-porn horror film about the aftermath of president James A. Garfield’s shooting on July 2, 1881. Dare yourself to keep watching as a team of satanic physicians led by Dr. Willard Bliss (Anthony Hopkins) stick their unsterilized fingers into the bullet wounds, accidentally puncture the president’s liver, and disregard a metal detector devised by Alexander Graham Bell (Woody Harrelson) that correctly locates the bullet. Bryan Cranston (“Breaking Bad”) plays the dying president and Steve Buscemi is the crazed assassin Charles Guiteau. Christian Bale gained 230 pounds for his role as vice president Chester A. Arthur. With Ashton Kutcher as a pus-filled abscess.
ALIEN VS. SENATORS
A big-budget sci-fi action romp that reveals an unknown historical fact: James K. Polk (Arnold Schwarzenegger) was actually a robot from the future who became president to ward off an invasion of alien Whigs. Mel Gibson makes an unexpected comeback as Henry Clay, a slavering extraterrestrial overlord disguised as speaker of the house. Amazing 3-D special effects re-create the hushed-up Battle of the Mall, with a laser cannon hidden by Polk in the newly erected Washington Monument holding off the alien hordes. And imagine the look on the face of Sarah Childress Polk (Jessica Chastain) when she realizes her husband really is a man of steel. Clint Eastwood comes out of retirement to play badass ex-president Andrew Jackson, the only man who knows Polk’s secret.
Ty Burr can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.