So we went to see W. last night with several friends. I had read several reviews. Pretty much all of the reviewers had been surprised that Stone had not skewered Bush. No, Stone does not portray the current president as the Devil incarnate. And I agree with most of the reviews I read, it is almost impossible to see the film and not empathize with the guy.
Personally, I think a lot of people misunderestimated Oliver Stone. Yes, he can be out there personally...but the guy knows how to make movies. Stone is too smart of a filmmaker to have done what many expected him to do, savage Bush. Why would he do that? He knows the far left was coming to see this movie no matter what. If he wanted to make a point to people who hold views different than his, Stone had to be a little more subtle. He did not want to drive people away by focusing on every one of Bush's personal failings. He wants people who consider themselves fans of the President to be willing to come and sit through the thing.
Some examples of Stone's obvious effort to appeal to the Right:
1) The Cocaine. You don't see it, even though it was widely reported and certainly discussed in mainstream America prior to his election. Why not? It's not like Stone handles Bush with kids gloves. For 60% of the film (it seems), W is either downing a drink or pouring another. And this is a director who certainly does not feel that drug use itself is that demonizing. Hell...supposedly "Scarface" was loosely based around Stone's own addiction to cocaine. It is obvious to me that Stone knows there is a certain fairly large segment of the population who does not believe W did cocaine. He chose to ignore it, so as not to turn those folks off. I think rightfully so. Who gives a shit. Let's face it...by the time your average American who has enjoyed the nightlife reaches the age of thirty, it's probably just as easy to list the illicit substances they have NOT tried, as opposed to those they have. We are a nation of consumers. Hey, capitalism requires it. Personally, unless a potential politician has an addiction that is ongoing, I don't think voters even need to know. Bush let us know he was addicted to Jesus and it was because he has a problem with alcohol. Fair enough. Thanks for the heads up. BTW, he was an idiot for not just admitting the coke. He made it into an issue. I loved Obama's response when asked if he inhaled: That was kind of the point.
2) "Laura Bush." In particular, the respect the film shows her. One scene in particular, Laura comes in to the room, wakes a hungover W up and proceeds to change. Being the Elizabeth Banks fan that I am, I got a little eager there when I saw the clothing change coming. Now I know Oliver wasn't going to give us any First Lady T & A, but I was ready for a little JCPenny-ish catalogue undergarment material. When the blouse comes off...tanktop. Now, call me crazy, but I think Oliver actually thought he would piss off some of the religious diehards if he showed "Laura Bush" in a bra.
3) The 2000 election. Non-existent. One single line about it, the purpose of which was to establish yet another wound inflicted upon Jr. by Poppy in his never-ending battle with his daddy issues.
All in all, it was a decent film. It was however, the best movie experience I've had since high school. See, the power kept flickering, 'causing the sound to cut off. The picture kept running, but there were a hand full of several minute interludes there at the end, where we had no sound. There was a fair-sized audience in attendance. One of the employees came in to explain what was happening and say passes would be available.
After a couple of more sound outages, some of our fellow patrons decided to go ahead and leave. Being the juvenile idiots we are, this led us to start shouting, "Stay the course! Terror lovers! Why do you guys hate freedom!" Given the movie, I think everyone enjoyed the comments. I hope no one was offended. Personally, I almost pissed myself laughing. Seriously...I haven't laughed so hard like an uncontrollable retard since we watched Speed at the Capri and saw the bus jump the gap in the freeway. Of course, back then...we had a little assistance in acting so foolish.
So what's my final take? W. Good times, especially when there are power surges.