Tuesday, December 8, 2009

W.

Oliver Stone, 2008 (7.6*)

Though promoted as a comedy, this is such an accurate portrayal of the adult life of George W. Bush that it's a little eerie to witness. Josh Brolin is amazing, he has both the diction and even the look of "Dubya" himself, and was nominated for three international acting awards for his performance. The story is a little watered down however, based on accounts I've read. For instance, the opening sequence of his fraternity initiation at Yale has them drinking booze from watering cans and hoses, and reciting frat member's names, while insiders say that the "Skull and Bones" society drank from skulls (they claim one is Geronimo's!) and recite all the women they've made love with. His alcoholism is heavily emphasized, but no drug use is shown at all (he admitted to cocaine use).

Later political events are also glossed over, and there's no mention of either Bush's economic disasters, each leading to massive numbers of bank failures. However, director Stone does show Bush's imaginary baseball dreams, where "when I'm troubled I just stand here in center field" at the Texas Rangers' stadium. Stone does not reveal that he was basically fired as manager/owner of the team due to ineptitude, though he does mention that "I traded away Sammy Sosa, that was my big mistake".

The casting of actors is uncanny in some cases. Richard Dreyfuss looks just like VP Dick Cheney (in poor health), who is scarily megalomaniacal - when looking at a map of US troop placements in the Middle East, he states "Iran is the only place where we don't have a presence; once we go into that area, we can control the world's energy supply". Thandie Newton is a perfect butt-kissing, patriotic Congaleeza Rice with an offensive nasally voice; underused Stacy Keach shines as the preacher leading Bush's AA group; Ellen Burstyn is right on as a strong-willed and perceptive Barbara Bush; Toby Jones is perfect as campaign manager Karl Rove (and he got one supp. actor nod), getting Bush elected governor of Texas when he had failed at everything else. The only casting misstep to me is the usually perfect James Cromwell as his father (there was no attempt to even sound like Bush Sr), and the story shows nothing of H.W.'s intelligence work or genius in that area (helping bring down the USSR by a bankrupting arms race) - it just makes him look like an inept politician who needed Dubya's help to get elected president, while usually being a dis-approving parent, obviously favoring non-troubling son Jeb Bush over Dubya's lack of commitment to any career.

Most of Dubya's stupid comments are also omitted - just the "Saddam has mis-underestimated me" one was included, when there are dozens available. Also ignored was his being caught on tape saying he wasn't really religious, just "using Christianity to get elected" (a comment the White House said "wasn't meant for public consumption" - I guess not!) This is almost like an authorized and sympathetic version of his political life, making the audience see more of "the guy you'd have a beer with", as Rove puts it (as if our beer buddies would make good leaders), and less of the "evil minion of Satan", as many think of him now. In my opinion, the senior Bush should have been shown as more intelligent and conniving, and Dubya's stupidity, illiteracy, and economic failures emphasized more, especially his fights for deregulation of energy in California (leading to economic collapse there), his connections to the Enron scandal, and other pro-corporate criminality. Still, W. is an enjoyable, if unenlightening portrait of a man who wouldn't have been elected if a valid recount had occurred, as an independent election evaluation later found that TEN MILLION Gore votes had been tossed aside nationwide (likely with pressure from dad), vs. only two million Bush votes, and that Gore would have won every close state race that went for Bush, including Florida.

Quote: "History? in history we'll all be dead" (when asked how history would view his presidency by a journalist Bush calls "Miss China" - what an idiot!)
[Note: in JFK, Stone ignored public court testimony from the mid-80's by CIA heads who admitted to hiring the Mafia for the hit on Kennedy, so I'm inclined to think that Stone actually works for the "black ops" (disinformation) dept of the CIA - at the least, he's adding to their stated tactic of "confusing the facts with so much disinformation that only we know the truth". Who knows for sure? so they've achieve their goal..]
SEE my re-post below this one of Bush's infamous quotes..

2 comments:

rockymeet January 9, 2010 at 4:13 AM  

I've never left a comment, and rarely I comment on other blogs but I read you everyday, and often more than once a day.

I support you on this and I'll try to leave few words here and there.
anti keylogger

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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.



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