W. by L.

It's a week later and I can't get this movie out of my head.

I thought I would and I thought I would spare myself (and you) having to blog about it, but the entire experience was unsettling... mostly because it was so unexpected.

You see, I thought going to see W would be like going to see a Michael Moore movie, the ole "preaching to the choir" experience. It's like when you go to see a romantic comedy. You know you're gonna laugh. You know you're going to get choked up when the couple that almost didn't happen gets reunited by fate. You know you're going to feel comforted by the omnipresence of Tom Hanks.

Well, the election was getting me down (I will hold my breath until midnight on November 4th; I've learned not to count my Obamas before they hatch!). I wanted some light comedy, so we decided to go see W. It would be a roundhouse kick to his wee wee, right?


The first thing you should know is that Josh Brolin is distractingly handsome. I didn't expect this. I never thought twice about him, have never seen him in anything, and kept getting him and Christian Bale confused (Lilly's Pop Vault will tell you the reason: both of their dads married famous women; Brolin's dad married Barbra Streisand, Bale's married famed feminist and former Lilly hero Gloria Steinem). But he's a hottie, and so the first problem I had with this movie is that I spent 2 hours being vaguely attracted to George Dubya. That I had never expected. I never anticipated the lethal mix of Brolin's good looks mixed with a compelling portrayal of George.

Stone knew what he was doing. He puts a disarmingly handsome and capable actor in the seat, and suddenly our defenses are down. That old thing about how you can't hate on beautiful people and all of that. He's pretty, so we listen closely and watch his actions.

And here's the second problem -- Oliver Stone had the gall to paint an evenhanded portrait of the President! Ever the sucker for psychology (me), Stone goes back into the Bush family dynasty and the father-son dynamics. You start to feel for W and to see the position he was in, the need to prove himself that so many people (author included) feel. While Stone puts Bush where he chronologically belongs, ie. in meetings with his team about WMDs and Saddam, he also makes sure the other players are there. You have heard about Cheney's machinations, but to see them play out (courtesy of an uberCreepy performance by Richard Dreyfuss) allows you to take new stock of Bush's behavior. Stone even throws him a smarty bone; Bush makes a comment about his father's campaign against Dukakis that is marketing genius. It would probably go unnoticed if I wasn't so darn b-school obsessed. Ultimately Brolin portrays a likeable, warm, and often charming man.*

I struggled with the call from God. Man, President of our country is not a job I would want, so you have to wonder who would, and why? W's "calling" is portrayed so sincerely that I couldn't even muster up the laugh I had been practicing all week. His religious conviction is so sincere and was so necessary in light of his drug/alcohol abuse that you can't even taunt him for it. It's a problem we see, not just in the American presidency, but worldwide: what do you do when someone believes so sincerely and with the best of intentions that they're doing the right thing, when you know what they're doing is wrong?

I don't know George Bush, so I'd spent a good 8 years painting himself as aggressive and evil in my mind. What if he's not evil but, to use Dan's phrase, just "has a tiny brain!"

When in Texas, do as the Texans do. I fold. Not without resentment and disbelief that we had this guy in office for 8 hours (I was touched by the film; I didn't get a LOBOTOMY!).

I am as ready as ever to usher him out of office but will do so with a little less hatred.

*to answer your question: Brolin is a staunch Democrat and apparently a very dedicated actor?


jonyangorg said...

Tell me if you need an escort to the polls today, to make sure you aren't too distracted by Mr. Brolin's charm and mark the wrong box.

Anonymous said...

i think you meant '8 years' not '8 hours'
8 loooong years.
you've piqued my curiosity about this movie. i'll netflix it.