Monday, October 20, 2008


Sunday, October 19, 2008

If nothing else, this is a pretty entertaining movie. Like I had heard, it's an unflattering but weirdly sympathetic (or at least empathetic) portrait of Bush, more of a character study than a political commentary.

I love Oliver Stone, but I suspect we're past the era of his best films. This is a good one, and so was World Trade Center, but gone is the passion, the sense of urgency, the ridiculous chances he used to take. I know a lot of people viewed Oliver Stone as a left-wing lunatic, and to some people he probably seems more matured and subdued now... but it was exactly that lunacy that made some of his earlier pictures so great. I mean, love him or hate him, agree or disagree, JFK and Natural Born Killers are both works of a kind of epic vision; really reaching for something beyond what films normally do. (Whether he achieves it or not is up for debate). Aside from a few touches here or there, and W. is a pretty standard, albiet well made, biopic.

I mean, I was at least hoping that Bush would see a dancing Indian in the Oval Office, but we're not that lucky.


Patrick said...

I went to see this despite my feelings on Stone and ended up with some mixed feelings. I was most impressed at how much of the movie seems precient mere days after it came out. The way Colin Powell was portrayed in advance of the Obama endorsement for example. The line with Bush being glad a proposal was only 3 pages got a big laugh in my theatre I'm guessing because the bailout plan was originally that long, which is something they could not have known while filming.
I had a feeling that alot of material was left out or that the movie was really rushed. Some scenes are the tonal opposites of others and some performances just don't mesh. Ari Fleischer and Condoleeza Rice had almost zany interpretations while Laura Bush and George H.W. Bush were comparatively subdued.

Dan said...

I would be inclined to say that the portrayal of Condi was grotesquely cartoonish, if it weren't for the fact that it was SO DAMN ACCURATE. Seriously, they made that actress look exactly like her, and her mannerisms were perfect. I think the thing was, most of the other actors were essentially themselves, with slight adjustments to seem plausible as the people they were portraying, whereas the actress who played Rice attempted mimicry. It seemed over the top to me at first until I realized how spot on it was.

patrick said...

Well damn. After spending some time googling some interviews and other videos with her you're right. A few of the decisions of the past eight years make a lot more sense now that I know Buck Turgidson was part of the inner circle.

Shenan said...

well, it may not have had any dancing native americans in the oval office, but it did have the signature oliver-stone-heavy-handed-metaphor in the form of the baseball fantasy, with bush left waiting for the ball to come down...perhaps, for a historical judgement to be made not only on his presidency, but in turn on the worth of his personal life and his success as a man, as well as a president?

yes, i think so.

ps i really really loved this movie.