Sunday, October 19, 2008

Oliver Stone makes fun of his own career with "W."


Oliver Stone enters the independent film market with his artsy history play ‘W.”, about you know who. Lionsgate proudly offers this film that runs 128 minutes and seems as much a satire of his earlier epic films like "JFK" as a fun session with our president.

Nevertheless, the script, by Stanley Weiser, is brilliant. It shows the personality of the president is expresses as a series of manipulations, related to his father’s constant attempts to bring him in line.

Josh Brolin looks little different in his 50s at this film than at 30, when he already looks washed up by alcohol. The film tells two parallel stories: one about the decision to go into Iraq based on self-fulfilling non-evidence of WMD’s, and the other about his “rise” in the Republican Party, pleasing his daddy (James Cromwell) and mama (Ellen Burstyn) who says he is so much like her. We see Texas Democrat Kent Hance (whom I remember from my days in Dallas, played by Paul Rae) make a fool of him, and we see his born-again experience. But, then again, we start off with the fraternity hazings at Skull and Bones at Yale, which are a bit like the tribunals that I skipped in my own lost college first semester.

Stone does not chronicle the 2000 election, or 9/11; I would have been curious as to how he would handle them, but the movie seems to run out of time.

My own middle initial is “W.” but people don’t call me that. Instead the “William” becomes “Bill” which hardly hides me with a pseudonym. But, in the earlier days, his father was called “George Bush” and the son was called “George W. Bush”. And, throughout most of the film, the father, until the son helps him win the 1988 election with the Horton stuff, thinks of him as a drag on the family, having swallowed his silver spoon.

Richard Dreyfuss and Toby Jones are particularly chilling as Dick Cheney and Karl Rove (“Bush’s Brain”) respectively. Rove looks especially like a part-object in this movie. Scott Glenn impersonates Donald Rumsfeld.

There are several funny scenes at a baseball park that looks like the old Arlington stadium that the Texas Rangers used in the 1980s (before building the new Ballpark), since George W. Bush part-owned the Rangers for a while.

The 7 PM showing at a Regal in Arlington VA, in a large stadium auditorium, nearly sold out. Arlington County is heavily Democratic, and might enjoy the voodoo treatment of George W.

Perhaps Stone will some day give us the movie we must all wait for: an Oliver Stone’s “Roswell”. That’s just my imagination right now. Think what he could do with that 1947 UFO cover-up.

News Brief: The AP reports that the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) is (by board vote Sunday) allowing a membership vote on strike authorization and bringing in a mediator. More details may follow in another post. Here is the link to the full story. (no author given, also available on Yahoo!).

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