Friday, October 17, 2008

Oliver Stone's W. (2008) **1/2



After eight years of George Bush, Oliver Stone presents two long hours more of Bush43. I liked Josh Brolin's portrayal of GWB, overall I found the movie lacking point of view.

Josh Brolin was able to make you forget he played in No Country for Old Men last year. He gets GWB's gestures and postures down to to a tea. Elizabeth Banks as the to become Laura Bush, comes off as the sanest person in the movie. W.seemed like a look alike convention; Toby Jones as Karl Rove, Richard Dreyfuss as Dick Cheney, Thandie Newton as Condoleezza Rice, Ellen Burston as Barbara Bush, Jeffrey Wright as Colin Powell etc. It was like watching impersonators, who learned the superficial parts of the character, not the soul. I don't put Brolin in that category. Thandie Newton played Condi as a Saturday Night Live audition

It wasn't the kick ass Oliver Stone who made Natural Born Killers. It was Stone trying to be objective. It actually is sympathetic to Bush. He is portrayed struggling for his Dad's approval, and rebelling at the same time, drinking, womanizing and not holding on to jobs. Laura is the angel that sets him straight. Under it all, he is principled but as president, over his head. He is caught between his inflexible principles and emotions, against the reality of the world. The actual villain in the movie is Cheney, who wants intelligence to match his conclusions.

I've noticed conservative sources as Pajama Media gave W. a bad review. I don't think the film is liberal or conservative biased. That is the problem to me. Maybe it's too early to have a Bush43 movie?

See Sex Drive instead.


RENEGADE EYE

38 comments:

themustardseed said...

Sex Drive, huh? Maybe...But I'm still gonna see W. since it's kinda the hot movie right now (I think). Thanks for the review and info though; I'll keep a sharp lookout.

Renegade Eye said...

themustardseed: Thank you for visiting.

I liked Sex Drive. I had about 10 chances to see screenings of it. I thought it would be horrible. It is in league with Superbad. The Minneapolis newspaper gave it 3.5 stars. I cared more about the characters than in W..

Ortho said...

You give a review of W. Dismiss it and tell people to see Sex Drive, but don't review your recommended film. That's not right. It's wrong. Very wrong.

K. said...

Thanks for giving us permission to see Sex Drive!

I can't spend money on a movie sympathetic to Bush.

The Pagan Temple said...

Ren, what is Stone's assessment of how Bush wields authority? Does he present him as actually the man in charge, or does he suggest that he is a mere puppet of Cheney and/or others?

I think that is the main question ope for debate about Bush as of now, and any movie about Bush should delve into that question to at least some extent.

Renegade Eye said...

Two Questions: 1)There is a scene of father Bush yelling at his son, for going to war, without proof of WMD. Was that true?

2) Was it true Bush43 scolded his cabinet, for having shaky WMD evidence, before going to war?


Ortho: If you like the movie Superbad, you'll like Sex Drive. Your point is right.

K: Stone was trying to be objective, for whatever reason. It might be too early for a GWB movie.

Pagan: Bush is presented as strongly principled, but not smart enough to deal with Cheney.

Bush is narrow minded, but sincere in the movie. Cheney is Machivellian. It's not that Cheney bosses him, it's more he knows what to say to GWB to get his way.

I think on a personal level Stone has some fondness for Bush. He loves Bush41.

Red Eyes said...

I'll be checking this out although I have seen sex drive where an online relationship evolved into reality. Thanks for stopping...

FJ said...

Go see an American Carol. No pretenses, there.

The Pagan Temple said...

"Bush is narrow minded, but sincere in the movie. Cheney is Machivellian. It's not that Cheney bosses him, it's more he knows what to say to GWB to get his way."

That's pretty much the way I see it too. Looks like Stone may have made the movie I would have made. Of course that would depend on his portrayal of Cheney's motivations. Machiavellian isn't necessarily evil. I think Cheney is an at times misguided patriot whose governing philosophy is what is good for him and his associates is good for the country, at least in the long term.

I see Cheney as the one who is narrow-minded, and somewhat Machiavellian. I just see Bush as simply naive, though certainly well-meaning. As we have seen, that can be a toxic combination. I would be interesting in delving into the chain of events that led to Bush picking Cheney as his running mate to begin with, particularly the process by which Cheney himself arrived at the decision. Did he manipulate this, and if so, was it a long-standing goal throughout his association with the Bush campaign, did it just come about at the spur of the moment, etc.

I'd also be interested in delving into Bush Sr's role in this development. Obviously he had some input in Cheney's selection on the VP search committee.

I don't think it's too early for a GWB movie. It might be the perfect time, as opposed to fifty years from now, when its too late to get fresh input from any of the principals involved, and when even some known facts fade so much into the background they are forgotten to a large extent. I'm talking about little things that fifty years from now people will have forgotten, even though they can be a small but integral part of the puzzle, if that makes any sense.

Graeme said...

I'm interested to see Thandie Newton.

Renegade Eye said...

Graeme: Thandie Newton was terrible in that movie. She played Condi like a comic strip character. It was hard to watch.

Pagan: I think Stone sees Bush much like you do. That might make for a good book. I don't think it transfered well to the screen.

FJ: I agree with Trotsky, that art is judged in its own terms first. He gave reactionary novels, good reviews at times.

I would judge An American Carol by if it worked. I don't believe in socialist realism.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

I', very excited about seeing this Ren but in the UK we don't get it until the 7th November...

FJ said...

I don't believe in socialist realism. You don't? How about "constructivism"?

Plato, "Laws"

ATHENIAN: Then in a city which has good laws, or in future ages is to have them, bearing in mind the instruction and amusement which are given by music, can we suppose that the poets are to be allowed to teach in the dance anything which they themselves like, in the way of rhythm, or melody, or words, to the young children of any well-conditioned parents? Is the poet to train his choruses as he pleases, without reference to virtue or vice?

CLEINIAS: That is surely quite unreasonable, and is not to be thought of.

ATHENIAN: And yet he may do this in almost any state with the exception of Egypt.

CLEINIAS: And what are the laws about music and dancing in Egypt?

ATHENIAN: You will wonder when I tell you: Long ago they appear to have recognized the very principle of which we are now speaking--that their young citizens must be habituated to forms and strains of virtue. These they fixed, and exhibited the patterns of them in their temples; and no painter or artist is allowed to innovate upon them, or to leave the traditional forms and invent new ones. To this day, no alteration is allowed either in these arts, or in music at all. And you will find that their works of art are painted or moulded in the same forms which they had ten thousand years ago;--this is literally true and no exaggeration,-- their ancient paintings and sculptures are not a whit better or worse than the work of to-day, but are made with just the same skill.

CLEINIAS: How extraordinary!

ATHENIAN: I should rather say, How statesmanlike, how worthy of a legislator! I know that other things in Egypt are not so well. But what I am telling you about music is true and deserving of consideration, because showing that a lawgiver may institute melodies which have a natural truth and correctness without any fear of failure. To do this, however, must be the work of God, or of a divine person; in Egypt they have a tradition that their ancient chants which have been preserved for so many ages are the composition of the Goddess Isis. And therefore, as I was saying, if aperson can only find in any way the natural melodies, he may confidently embody them in a fixed and legal form. For the love of novelty which arises out of pleasure in the new and weariness of the old, has not strength enough to corrupt the consecrated song and dance, under the plea that they have become antiquated. At any rate, they are far from being corrupted in Egypt.

FJ said...

If you don't believe in "socialist realism", at least admit that you believe in social realism.

Otherwise, you wouldn't be panning these truly AWFUL movies.

Foxessa said...

There's been more than enough dubya shoved close up in my face for nearly a decade. Don't need any more.

Don't like Oliver Stone's bio pix either.

What a travesty was his The Doors.

In fact, the only film of his I ever had patience for was Eric Begosian's Talk Radio, but then, Eric wrote it!

Love, C.

Ducky's here said...

A film sympathetic to Bush ... later.

Right now I'm more interested in an Iranian film that's showing, "Sad Song of Tehran". Concerns a couple of losers who try to make a go installing illicit satellite antennas in Tehran.

There's seems to be a stream of "slacker" films coming out of Iran. Another one to pick up is the hilarious "A Few Kilos of Dates for a Funeral". It's like, how can they be the enemy? They have slackers too. We know these guys.

Eitan said...

How can a movie who's entire focus is a failed American President be of any interest to an intellectual the likes of which modern society has yet to witness, ey, Ren;-)

Ducky: you're an avid loser. You can take that as a complement because as you know it's coming from an avid Joooooooo.

Ducky's here said...

I'm sorry Eitan, did I say something positive about Muslims or at least something that implied I don't want to turn their country to glass? Is that it?

What does the fact that you are a Jew have to do with anything? Please, don't be boorish.

Renegade Eye said...

I thought I had comments saved I made last night.

FJ: I like constructivism, but hate futurism. Futurism says all nostalgia is reactionary. The Russian Revolution was related to the French Revolution. Futurism turned into a tool for fascism.

Social realism is not related to the state imposed socialist realism.

Ducky: Are Iranian movies floating around the art movie circuit now?

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill: You wouldn't like W. . It is too tepid for your taste. Brolin did well.

Foxessa: Stone has an interview with Castro, I didn't see yet.

Eithan: The comments about Ducky are out of line.

I saw W. because I get free tickets.

FJ said...

Social realism is not related to the state imposed socialist realism.

Bhahahahahaha!

FJ said...

Futurism says all nostalgia is reactionary.

I guess Orpheus isn't allowed to look back at Eurydice...

sonia said...

Ren,

Was it true Bush43 scolded his cabinet, for having shaky WMD evidence, before going to war?

Seems to me, if Bush based the invasion of Iraq on WMDs, he could have easily pretended to find some old stockpiles in Iraq.

Because he didn't pretend to find any, it seems logical to assume that he invaded Iraq FOR AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT REASON.

I my opinion, Bush invaded Iraq to overthrow Saddam. There was no other reason. WMD was one excuse among many, and it seemed to play better than others, but it was never the real reason.

The question isn't whether Bush lied about WMD. The question is whether Saddam was evil enough to deserve being overthrown. If he was (I think he was), nobody should care about this WMD business.

K. said...

Sonia--

So, by your rationale, had Bush concocted a story about finding WMDs, he would have gotten away with it because it could not have been independently confirmed or denied. That seems like an awfully long stretch.

Also, if Bush's actual rationale was to overthrow Saddam, why didn't he present that to the people of the United States? If that was actually the case, why did we stick around once he was deposed?

And, the question isn't whether Saddam "deserved" to be overthrown. The question is given all of the complications and costs associated with it, should the United States be the agent for overthrowing Saddam? Following from that is why Saddam and not someone else? And what was the sudden urgency? Why not finish the job in Afghanistan first?

You simply cannot reduce invading a country that posed no strategic threat and that had not done us any harm down to an emotional argument that it was run by a bad guy. I mean, you can, but the argument doesn't hold much water.

Renegade Eye said...

Sonia: The movie showed Bush upset at his cabinet, after being scolded by his father, for WMD not found. I suppose that is true.

Al Qaeda is a relatively small, but evil group. Its main strength comes from influencing massive numbers of Muslim's religious ideas. Saddam had no ideological influence outside Iraq.

Putin will cause the US more harm. He is looking for power outside his sphere more than saddam can imagine. Why not overturn him?

Bottom line is the US lost both in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is going to be as a result of this, talks with Iran, Syria, Hamas, and the Taliban.

K: Sonia doesn't believe in reason.

Bush's model caused two lost wars. He caused McCain to lose two elections.

Renegade Eye said...

FJ: I'm not sure if you agree with me or not?

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

FJ, seriously mate, you're a fucking cunt.

Fuck off and troll another blog.

sonia said...

K,

if Bush's actual rationale was to overthrow Saddam, why didn't he present that to the people of the United States?

Because people are selfish. Genocide of Kurds didn't move them any more than the genocide of Darfurians is moving them right now. WMD was the only argument that scared them into action.

If that was actually the case, why did we stick around once he was deposed?

Because a civil war between the Shiites and the Sunnis erupted following the invasion. Bush didn't predict this side effect of his action. Now that this civil war is almost over, US troops will leave.

given all of the complications and costs associated with it, should the United States be the agent for overthrowing Saddam?

Good question, but irrelevant. Bush didn't care (not after Saddam's attempt to kill Bush41 in Kuwait in 1993). Iraqi Shiites like Chalabi (who almost certainly "spiked" the intelligence on WMD) cared even less.

why Saddam and not someone else?

If Al Gore won in 2000 and found out that Khadafi tried to kill his father, I wouldn't be surprised if "the British intelligence has found that LIBYA has tried to acquire yellowcake uranium to built nuclear weapons..."

And what was the sudden urgency?,

The urgency was that in the spring of 2003, Bush only had 20 months until his term in office expired (he couldn't have predicted his own re-election)...

Why not finish the job in Afghanistan first?

Neither Bush (nor McCain for that matter) ever cared much about Afghanistan. No oil. And they don't use heroin as far as I know...

Only Obama seems to care about the suffering of the Afghan people.

You simply cannot reduce invading a country that posed no strategic threat and that had not done us any harm down to an emotional argument that it was run by a bad guy. I mean, you can, but the argument doesn't hold much water.,

It's not an argument. It's a statement of historical fact.

Saddam was a bad guy. He killed many people. But as long as he was only killing Kurdish peasants, nobody cared. But in 1993 he tried to kill someone slightly more important. And seven years later, a hanging chad elected that person's son as President of United States...

Ren,

Putin will cause the US more harm. Why not overturn him?,

As far as I know, Obama's grandmother isn't dying of polonium poisoning. But if she was...


"Personal is political"

Carol Hanisch, 1970

Renegade Eye said...

Daniel Hoffman-Gill: At FJ's own blog, he comments about 10x in a row, on his own posts. My blog needs a dialectic.

Sonia: That is not what was meant of, "the personal is political." It was a slogan in the early days of feminism, when "support groups" were popular.

Invading Iraq was planned before Bush43 took office. He accelerated the timetable.

I agree there was a subjective factor. The way the CIA data was handled, went against the grain.

Bush opposed every democratic demand brought up by Iraqis. Even elections were fought for by Iraqis.

The Pagan Temple said...

Back on the subject of the movie, it might interest you to know that the woman who played Anne Coulter in the film, and who is an Arkansas local news anchor with the local ABC affiliate, was attacked in her home and left for dead. She was in critical condition for a while. She was seemingly robbed, but no one is sure whether her role in the movie might have played a role in her assault.

FJ said...

One of my monologues is worth 10 of your non-dialectics. ;-)

K. said...

K: Given all of the complications and costs associated with it, should the United States be the agent for overthrowing Saddam?

Sonia<: Good question, but irrelevant. Bush didn't care (not after Saddam's attempt to kill Bush41 in Kuwait in 1993). Iraqi Shiites like Chalabi (who almost certainly "spiked" the intelligence on WMD) cared even less.

The question may be moot, but it's hardly irrelevant. You keep referring to Bush as if he were a legally installed autocrat instead of the elected president of a representative democracy. This question exactly summarizes the debate the country should have had before committing itself to a preemptive war.

That the chances are good that if we'd had the debate we wouldn't have gone to war reinforces my point and detracts from yours. You seem so convinced of yours' (and Bush's) rightness about the justification for the war as to make other views irrelevant. I claim that your perspective is irrelevant: That a democracy fighting a war that does not have legitimate public support has lost its way, and that that is the greatest cost of all.

Renegade Eye said...

Pagan: Who knows. The assault most likely is unrelated to the movie. The movie was too boring to stir emotions.

K: The US never won a major war since WWII.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

I can't belive FJ comments on his own posts in an endless self-dialogue, what a nob!

Seriously FJ, your monologues ain't worth shit.

Patrick Roberts said...

Josh Brolin did a convincing Dubya, though he reminded me a lot of his cowboy character from No Country for Old Men... over all, i don't doubt that 'W.' will have the effect Oliver Stone desired

Eitan said...

Ren: You say my comment about "Ducky" is out of line. Lemme give you a history lesson as I know you're fond of history.

During the Enlightment which began in post-revolutionary France, we began "coming out of the ghettos." We began assimilating, creating C-ian-like cults like the Conservatives and the Reform Jews, began inter-marrying and coverting. All the people you look up to and admire so much were either converted or assimilated Jews.

But even when we assimilate, even when we convert, our enemies will continue viewing us as bloody, dirty kykes. That's because no level of assimilation or convertion takes the hatred out of our enemies. You seem to be confused with your Communist/Trotskyist propaganda. Did you know that my father was a dissident in Soviet Russia? Were you aware of the fact that Jews were persecuted for decades; that the USSR provided Egypt and Syria with almost all their weaponry before-as well as following the Yom Kippur War?

See Ren, I know you know all this and the only reason I put up with your propaganda is because you're a great guy-at least that's the sense I get.

Ducky on the other hand is an anti-Semite. Do you get that?

The last generation understood only when it was too late.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Seen it, your review is accurate, quite a dull film, nice camera work and it still made me angry how it all happened but could've been so much better.

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