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8 reviews

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Movie Details

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Directed By
Oliver Stone

Written By:
Stanley Weiser

Elizabeth Banks, Josh Brolin, Thandie Newton, Ioan Gruffudd, Jesse Bradford, Richard Dreyfuss, James Cromwell, Scott Glenn, Ellen Burstyn, Noah Wyle, Jason Ritter, Jeffrey Wright, Rob Corddry, Toby Jones, Sayed Badreya, Jonathan Breck, Michael Gaston, Allan Kolman, Dennis Boutsikaris, Jennifer Sipes, David Born, Paul Rae, Wes Chatham, Drew Waters, Brent Weisner, Tom Kemp, Bryan Massey, Randall Newsome, Chris Freihofer, Andrew Sensenig, Jim Garrity, Jeff Gibbs, James Martin Kelly, Bruce Bryant, Lacey Ford, Ashley-Anne Parker, Halley Rachal, Matthew Ramsaur, Steven E. Williams, Paul T. Taylor, Lee Ann McDade, Randal Reeder, Rodney Wiseman, John Neisler, Gillian Chung, Charles Fathy, Teresa Cheung, Jeff Hoferer, Jon Michael Davis, Terry Gamble, William Lanier, John Neisler, W. Douglas Waterfield, Jonathon Tripp, Gabriela Ostos-Tamez

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W. (2008)
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Movie Review by Zara
April 1st, 2009

Favorite Movie Quote: "In history, we'll all be dead..."

I'm not a fan of Oliver Stone. I'm not a fan of George W. Bush. Putting those two things together and then deciding to watch a movie about a recently departed and vilely despised president is a recipe for... well, I don't know. But I will put aside those two facts and just rate the movie as a movie.

This is an actors' movie. What I mean by that is that there are a bevy of great actors who have been given living subjects to duplicate and they are running around like children at a party, trying to impress and entertain the adults with their antics. And for the most part, that is the best part about the movie. Watching Josh Brolin grow into the accomplished elder actor that he is after watching him grow up in movies like THE GOONIES when he was poised to just be another '80's heartthrob is great to see. Jeffrey Wright is also a scene stealer in duplicating the complex nature of Colin Powell, an admired military leader who had more decency and common sense than the people around him who ultimately gave him his orders.

But when you strip away the fact that everyone is having a ball pretending to be these people (as evidenced by real life when a group of the actors, including Brolin and Wright, were arrested for drunkenness and public disturbance while filming on location in Texas), this is a slow, droll and boring movie. There is very little added to understanding the mystique of one of our stupidest and most "American" of presidents.

The best of what you can learn from the behind the scenes issues come from James Cromwell as the elder President Bush. If anything, the man that I grew up in junior high school thinking was an old tw*t comes off as far more reasonable and thoughtful than I would have ever imagined seeing him. But most of that is coming from the actor's presentation. Everyone is having fun here, but other than getting exercise from running around, there's not a lot to be learned from this activity, especially if you follow the news with even the most minor of passing interests. And for those who don't, I can't imagine them bothering to watch the film. They much rather see something where a bunch of people fight and get "blowed up."

Sad, when you think about it. Or perhaps a little too bitter tasting of irony.

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Apr 2, 2009 9:28 PM
Hi Zara,

I agree with you. This movie was a bit of a disappointment for me as well, although the acting was, as you mentioned, fairly top notch. I have a feeling that much of this film's audience, myself included, already had strong (probably negative) opinions about our former president. So this was preaching to the choir to an extent. My interest would have been completely lost by the halfway mark if not for Cromwell's performance. However, that doesn't compensate for hanging in through the duration to learn about W.'s "daddy issues." Thanks....

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