Monday, October 20, 2008

Jr. Sr... Jr. Jr. Sr. Who can keep track: A review of "W'

Monday, October 20, 2008

From the other blogs I've read I think I'm obligated to have a disclaimer like

SPOILER ALERT: don't read on if you don't want to know

There's no getting around the fact George W. Bush is not a well liked president, these days. Anyone not creating parodies or busy making anti-Bush bumperstickers is asking "My God, How could anyone fuck up this bad?!" Oliver Stone's "W" movie is an introspection into the life of George W., and For the most part, it attempts to show President Bush actions were dictated by his faith, his father, and his advisers.

Josh Brolin as George Bush Jr. was effortless. The guy is on fire, seriously.He's like No Country for Old Men, wham. American Gangster, bam. W,and thaaank you ma'am. He had the attitude, the look, and everything down to Bush's walk perfected. The script, in conjunction with his acting ability was very humanizing of one of the most disliked men in America right now.

I was thoroughly impressed by Elizabeth Bank's(Definitely,maybe and Scrubs) portrayal of Laura Bush. I'm not really qualified to say if it was accurate, but I was impressed by her ability to play a serious character. I've only seen her in a romantic comedy light and I have to say, after seeing her in a serious light, I can say the girl got skillz. Sean says she reminded him of me. I'm not sure what to think of that. One, because Sean sees parts of me in every girl, literally. Two, because I think I might step in and take over if Sean was causing global chaos. Anyway, their relationship was very sweet and they seemed like a good match.

The movie captured all of the events and popular Bushisms we hate to love (or just make fun of). He says things like "Ayatollah cacamamy" and refers to members of his staff as "Rummy" "Brother George" and "Vice" and he rarely calls them anything else. They include the infamous pretzel incident and in a particularly funny and symbolic scene where Bush loses his way as he and his staff are walking around his land. Very down home country bumpkin, more so than I thought was necessary, but maybe it's accurate what do I know?

However, I really liked finding out the other variable you(the average citizen) never knew about. I mean, most of the momentum in "W" comes from his tumultuous relationship with George Sr, who is hard to please and clearly favors George's younger brother, Jeb. "W" shows that many of George Jr's actions are not his indpendent thoughts, but direct response to his father's feelings, either in defiance or as an attempt to gain his approval. A shocked George Sr. tell George Jr. to wait to run for governor of Texas until Jeb has secured his spot in Florida and that only seemed to solidify his decision; George Jr is determined to run at the same time so as not to be outdone by Jeb. The movie is consumed by fights and tense moments between the two of them,but I thought one of the few genuinely tender moments takes place when George Sr. tells Barbara Bush(Ellen Burnstein)how much he's worried about Jr. involvement in Irag. It's obviously been keeping him up at night, but sadly, his stubborness keeps him from expressing his concern to George Jr.

I had no idea that President Bush was an alcoholic for a while. It seems like someone should have mentioned that when we were voting him into office, but what's done is done, I guess. The movie focuses a lot of attention on the effects of his alcoholism. During his alcoholic phase he couldn't hold down a job, challenged his father to a fist fight, and just generally bungles his way through life. The movie-which is very much non-linear-makes him seem very lost during those years. He has no idea what he wants except to make his father proud. Thus,the decision by a rough and tumble young George to get into the family business of politics seems totally abrupt, and even his parents are surprised. The movie suggests maybe a lack of better options. Naturally alcoholics don't go on to become presidents and in the end his alcoholic years segue into his current Christian fundamentalist mentality. He claims he felt "called" to the presidency and as far as I can tell, believed it. The movie shows how incredibly wrong he was at times, like in the Sit Room when he's informed there actually are no WMDs, and how vehemently he stuck by his beliefs.

Dick Cheney (Richard Dreyfuss) is obviously the bad guy in this movie. Very Rasputin. That's really all I'm going to say about that. He's not the focus of the movie, but it's clear he manipulates Bush in critical times.

I don't think I would watch "W" primarily for it's entertainment value-which it was pretty funny at times- but not a movie you would pull out at a party. Although, I do believe President Bush's life is worth examining and I'm glad to have seen such a controversial film. Bush Jr. seems like a man who tries his best, but made some very poor decisions. If you don't already, "W" will make you feel sorry for our inglorious leader, because he's no Jed Bartlett,that's for damn sure.


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