Thursday, October 16, 2008

W? Zzz.

Regardless of your political persuasion, you’re going to be shaken to the very core by Josh Brolin’s portrayal of our president in Oliver Stone’s film W.

The lights will go down, the president will appear, your jaw will drop. Wait. Are they implying . . . ? Is George W. supposed to be . . . smart?

This George W. is unrecognizable, seemingly capable of anything. He can answer five reporters’ questions in rapid-fire while walking to his car. You’ll shake your head: Bush can talk while he’s walking? He quotes St. Augustine while talking with Tony Blair. He can name books written by Barry Goldwater. He’s self-aware: “I know people say I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth, but they don’t know the burden it carries.”

Uh, whaaa? This from a man who can’t eat pretzels by himself.

From the first minute it’ll hit you: there’s something seriously wrong with this Bush. He’s suave, he’s assured, he’s . . . charming. He makes understandable jokes. When discussing a political rival he snipes, “Ann Richard’s hair is in the clouds.” When asked about his swagger, he replies, “In Texas we call that walkin’.” He frequently wears a thoughtful expression the real guy couldn’t approximate. God knows Our Esteemed Leader doesn’t have enough brains to be preoccupied: I mean, how can he think of something else when he can’t even think in the first place?

We all have mental pictures of the man cobbled together from news reports. To put it bluntly, he’s an idiot. If you watch David Letterman, you’ll know the man says something stupid at least once a day, if not every time he opens his mouth. But the film version -- sure, he makes a few mistakes. Misunderestimate, fool me once, etc. But five mistakes over twenty years does not an idiot make.

You’ll be confused, and then angry. Who the hell is this? Next he’ll discover Cold Fusion while diverting an asteroid from Gotham City.

In fact, Bush's advisers spout as many non sequitors as him. Talking about troop deployment in Iraq, Colin Powell offers this puzzler: “Let’s not forget the ninety Mongolian troops there; they’re damn fine wrestlers too.” Karl Rove is a perfectly nice man interested in politics. Is he trying to grab some of the president’s power? Of course not, he assures the president: “I’m just a little fairy flitting down a little magic fairy dust for you.”

Oh. Okay.

No, Oliver Stone is pulling his punches here, and an Oliver Stone film with pulled punches isn’t a film at all. It’s a reenactment, an infomercial. There are no ulterior motives, no conspiracies. There are no press corps loaded with hustler-journalists lobbing softball questions. There are no evildoers in this White House. David Kay makes a mistake about WMDs, and out of the blue declares resigning is the honorable thing to do. Huh? Like he didn’t lose a quick round of the Blame Game to Karl Rove. This country was really run off the rails by innocent, intelligent people supporting a liberty-loving, God-fearing president? Surely there's more to it than that.

What satire we get is lightweight to nonexistent. “The Yellow Rose of Texas” plays during the bombing of Iraq, “Glory Hallelujah” during the “Mission Accomplished” speech. “Robin Hood” shows up twice. Robbing from the rich and giving to the poor.

Yeah, that fits right in.

In the end, W is a complete waste of time, a cobbling-together of the old and obvious, a great opportunity totally wasted. The surface hasn't even been scratched here, and we walk out realizing if we want to see the real, bumbling, first-class idiot in action, we’ll just have to watch the news.

1 comment:

Yet Another Steve said...

That's good to know. I was going to force myself to go see it, even though I've never liked an Oliver Stone movie, and now I don't have to! Haha, two hours of my life I won't have to regret never getting back!

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