Friday, October 17, 2008

My review of the movie "W."

If you've been reading the papers and magazines and watching the political talks shows the past eight years, you've already seen the new movie "W."

George W. Bush has daddy issues.

Brother Jebbie was the golden child, the one to carry on the Bush legacy into politics, while George, or "Junior" as he was called in his younger years, was a fuck-up who drank to excess but was still well-liked by the guys, given his personal touch and amazing ability to remember people's names.

W, after various hits and misses in the private sector, confessed to his browbeatin' dad that what he really wanted to do was get into baseball.

What? You can't play, you can't coach, said Daddy Bush, who's entirely mystified by his elder son (but always willing to grease the wheels for his next move.)

Later, Daddy Bush didn't "get" W's born-again Chrisitianity after he quit demon rum, though he was relieved he quit boozin'.

But Daddy Bush summoned W to Washington to help out in his presidential campaign and everything turned out alright, leading W to run for governor of Texas and WIN -- even though he couldn't understand why his son couldn't just be happy owning the Texas Rangers.

One thing led to another and Bush was suddenly president. Filmmaker Oliver Stone skips both the presidential election and re-election, turning instead to the invasion of Iraq -- the seminal moment in W's sad presidency (except for maybe the current worldwide financial meltdown, which unfortunately occurred well after the filmmaker's deadline ... and who knows how THAT'LL turn out.)

Anyway, Daddy Bush thought it unwise to invade Iraq, but was so estranged from his president son that he couldn't bring himself to have a heart-to-heart chat, so he had his former national security guy, Brent Scowcroft, write an op-ed for the NY Times warning of the perils.

Boy, that pissed W off, just like all the other stuff over the years, but the war went quite well until ... they couldn't find any Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq.

And Iraq, well, who really knows how THAT'LL turn out, so there's no resolution there, at least for filmmaking purposes, so what we have here is a character study.

The scripts incorporates some of W's well-known malapropisms into the dialogue that occurs behind closed-doors, complete with those nagging subject-verb foul-ups you've seen on TV.

Josh Brolin's portrayal of Bush is believeable. He's got the gestures down and the syntax. In the movie, Brolin-as-Bush is constantly eating, eating, eating, wolfing down sandwiches, pretzels, other people's leftovers, chewing, chewing, chewing very, very fast, gulping down an O'Douls or a Dr Pepper while processing the important questions of state and then -- BAM -- making a decision.

Who else? Oh yeah, Richard Dreyfuss as Dick Cheney is convincing and Ellyn Burstyn as Barbara Bush is good.

James Cromwell as Daddy Bush is OK but doesn't look anything like the real thing, which is a bit jarring since so many of the actors have the same look as the people they're portraying, particularly Thandie Newton, who's pretty much a dead-ringer for Condoleeza Rice, complete with the helmet hair, but who doesn't utter a coherent sentence in the whole movie, which, if true, is rather frightening.

So, I guess I give it a B.

About two-thirds through the movie, I was gettin' squirmy, ready to go.

After all, I've already seen this movie.


Swearengen said...

Thanks for the review Banjo! I think I'll wait till it comes out on HBO.

PBS won't be airing this until after W is out of office. It's a a very concise depiction of the Crimes perpetrated By George Bush and Dick Cheney against the Laws of the Geneva Convention, the laws of decency, and the laws of the Constitution.

The Movie is called Torturing Democracy and can be watched for free in it's entirety here. Some very graphic scenes, very high quality video.

Todd Mason said...

PBS won't be airing it, but PBS-affiliated stations will be airing it over the next few weeks, as it's been picked up by the largest of the public-television syndicators, American Public Television. Iirc.

mikemcguff said...

You nailed it. I saw it Friday and agree.