Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I rarely get to see a movie in the theater. Not only did I get to see W. in the theater, I saw it on opening day.

Josh Brolin does a great job portraying George W. Bush. He's got the walk, the squint and the Texas drawl down pretty well. Richard Dreyfus does a great job as Dick Cheney. Another standout in the cast was, Thandie Newton, the actress who played Condoleeza Rice.   Toby Jones, the guy playing Karl Rove kind of stole the show for me as I watched him weaseling his way through the Bush presidencies, putting his stamp on Republican politics for years.

I was ambivalent about seeing W. First, I didn't know how they would make a comedy out of a biographical movie.  The trailers made me think it would be a comedy.  Secondly, I'm not exactly W.'s biggest fan.  So, unless it was a flat out spoof, I wasn't sure I wanted to see it.  And, I couldn't imagine how you could make the Bush presidency funny.  Coming out of the theater, I was still a little confused. Some of the portrayal of W. was a little over the top. But, OTOH, he's a pretty over the top guy himself. Play him straight and  you've got an over-the-top character.  The movie starts with his life at Yale and jumps back and forth from the time he is President and we're in Iraq filling the gaps. The movie highlights his relationship with George H.W. Bush and how W. fails to live up to his father's expectations. The run up to the war with Iraq is portrayed as well as W.'s many business failures and failures to even hold a job. Bluntly, it's the story of how a mediocre student and a screw up with enough money and family clout can rise to become the President of the United States. IMO, not exactly an inspiring American tale.  W.'s life is more of an example of how aristocracy still often triumphs over meritocracy in America.  Oliver Stone does poke fun at W. with the parts of his life he chooses to portray. The movie doesn't go far enough to call it a hatchet job though.  Stone didn't choose to portray just the failures in W.'s life.  The turn around when W. quits drinking and is born again is an example of some of the triumphs of his life that are played straight.

Overall, the movie is pretty good. I walked out the theater kind of unsure about how I felt about it. It's not laugh out loud funny. It's not a serious biographical study.  And, it's too soon for that with W. waiting out his final few days.  It's in-between.  It's somewhat funny. But, it's pretty accurate, at least from what I know of the history. Personally, watching the movie was like watching a train wreck happening again.  I voted against W. in the previous two presidential elections.   So, it was a  train wreck that I tried to tell people was coming.  The Bush 43 years have been even worse than I thought they might be. I don't think history will be kind to the Presidency of W. I've been complaining about him since he first ran for office.  Since I'm with Conservatives most of the time, I used to at least get some push back on my opinions.  Now, I pretty much get agreement.  I'm to the point of starting to feel sorry for the man.  W. is not an out-and-out assault on the W. legacy.  But, I suspect there are some coming.

If I had to make a recommendation (and since going to the movies is such a rarity for me), I'd recommend waiting for W. to hit DVD.  But, it's definitely worth a couple of hours to watch.


kc bob said...

I don't think I'll catch this one Brian.. that said I think that I have had several conversations with friends not unlike those you had with your conservative friends.

The complaints that I had 3 years ago about President Bush were not received by my most of my friends.. these days there is not too much disagreement.. sad.. sigh..

Sequoia Lea Ananda said...

Hi Brian. I went to see W. yesterday too. And I blogged about it too. Thanks for your comments. You can check out my blog entry on the film at http://clhsketch.blogspot.com/