Now that the Super Bowl is over, I know you’ve fallen into an existential crisis, as there is no longer any important sporting event to look forward to (that is, until March Madness). But fear not, gentle reader, you’re just a little under a week away from Presidents’ Day. I’m in London, so I won’t get to reap the benefits of a day off presumably created to think about all the cool dudes who’ve led our country. But, as an ever-generous blogger, I’ve created a list of president-related things you can watch—and one thing you can listen to!—as you celebrate this, the most glorious of random midyear holidays.
Come on, you knew The West Wing would be at the very top of the list. President Josiah Bartlet is the greatest president who never actually existed. Watching The West Wing almost makes me believe in the American political system, the triumph of empathy (and executive power) over pettiness (and recalcitrant right wingers). Go ahead, watch an episode. Pretend America is the liberal, functional bastion of freedom Tufts students want it to be.
Other than possibly Jurassic Park, this is my favorite film directed by Steven Spielberg, an incisive look at the man who successfully governed a nation during its darkest period in history. Set during the Congressional fight for the passing of the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery, this movie is a fascinating look at Abraham Lincoln as a flawed man.
Ever since I saw Hamilton, I have been completely obsessed with its brilliant soundtrack. Okay, Alexander Hamilton was never actually president, but George Washington and Thomas Jefferson are two very important characters in the musical. Do yourself a favor and listen to the soundtrack right now.
- Air Force One
Harrison Ford as the president. On an airplane. Fighting terrorists. Honestly, what more do you need to know?
Other than The West Wing, Veep is my favorite show about Washington (sorry, House of Cards). Raunchy and hilarious, this show follows the exploits of the bumbling Selina Meyer, VP-turned-president who fails spectacularly at governing with the help of her inept staff. It’s also possibly the most quotable show in recent history, as exemplified by this beautiful rant from the fourth season.
- The War Room
You’re thinking, okay Grace, this is all well and good, but where is my documentary about the American presidential campaign? I give you The War Room, a documentary about Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign to become president.
- Any of the 2016 Presidential Debates
We have an actual campaign going on RIGHT NOW! I understand if you missed it— people haven’t been talking about it too much in the news. Presidents’ Day is the perfect time to recap what you’ve missed by watching some of the debates. (Or you could just get lost in a rabbit hole of rewatching the best Super Bowl ads. That’s probably just as mind-numbing.)