Monday, October 27, 2008


I feel awful for saying this, but I kinda feel for the guy. Well, the guy portrayed by Josh Brolin in a movie about a president that is based on a true story about a president. Follow? After watching Oliver Stone’s latest, it’s hard to tell what his motive was. From the previews, and the rush to release it before the November election, I totally thought this would be a film made to make Bush look bad. To make his presidency look bad. Shameful. Awful. Instead, it humanized him in a way where you almost understand all of his inane actions and decisions. And feel for him. Ugh! Is that possible? A guy who only wanted his father’s approval and unconditional love. A guy who drowned his insecurities and pain in alcohol. A guy who was lost and couldn’t find his passion in the shadow of the name Bush and everything it carried. In the shadow of his brother, his father.

Brolin did an incredible job of capturing Bush’s facial expressions, voice inflections and mannerisms. For a film that could’ve easily been just one really, really long SNL skit, the acting, the storytelling style and directing made for an actual, quality dramatic film. I know there’s a lot of criticism for making it so early. That it should’ve been done in 10 or 15 years once the Bush presidency is long gone- not while he is literally still president. But that’s what makes this movie-going experience so fascinating. The line between art and life get very, very blurry. You get this fresh perspective. As you examine the character Dick Cheney (creepily played by Richard Dryfus) or the character Bush as they play out on the big screen, you aren’t thinking way back to a distorted memory, but rather what’s happening in the world now and how your life and the lives of millions of others have been directly affected by the choices of the real Cheney and real Bush.

But, regardless of the difference or closeness in the character W and the real W, Oliver Stone told a good story and made a great movie.

1 comment:

Carl Benson said...

disagree. not entirely, ie I thought Brolin did a fantastic job as well. but the actual movie was, in terms of a dramatic film, nothing special.
beyond a couple of scenes, namely the press conference in which Bush is stumped for an answer, the movie did not reveal much that we didn't already know about the president.
wants to get out from his fathers shadow. got it. relies on gut instinct. got it. not that bright, but not a complete illiterate idiot. know that too.
brolin was solid, as were james cromwell and elizabeth banks, but the rest of the cast was weak (including Dreyfus who epitomized phoning it in for an actor of his calibur) and the film as a whole didn't stack up to recent quality dramas coming out of Hollywood.