A cynical look at Oliver Stone's upcoming W

By now, anyone following movie production news or politics has heard about Oliver Stone’s upcoming film W, about the life and rise to power of President George W. Bush.

Ever since I heard this, one thought has run through my head… and it has remained constant…

What the fuck?

This is easily one of the most pointless movies put into production since Steven Segal was considered to do a musical romantic comedy in space. So much is wrong with the concept, starting with the audience for this film that simply doesn’t exist.

Bush supporters won’t see the film simply because it’s a movie about Bush made by Oliver Stone. Oh, Stone has come out to say it won’t be an anti-Bush film, but does anyone believe that? Nixon didn’t actually paint a warm and fuzzy picture of Tricky Dick, and Stone considered that movie to be unbiased.

Bush bashers won’t see the film because by the time it is released, no one will care about George W. Bush. It serves no political purpose in that Bush is the lamest of the lame ducks this year. He’s not up for reelection, and his veep isn’t running either. Come January 2009 (and arguably right now), for better or for worse, the W legacy is over.

Party liners won’t care either. Democrats will have a candidate (finally), and the Republicans will be throwing their weight behind McCain. They’re not going to waste their time on a president that both candidates will be distancing themselves from.

And the foreign market won’t bother. You might think that worldwide anti-American sentiment will bolster the box office, but this audience hasn’t come out to see the other political movies like Stop-Loss, Rendition and In the Valley of Elah. Why should they start now?

In fact, the only people who will be vaguely interested in this movie are the media vultures (like me) who just want to see a good, old fashioned train wreck come October.

Oliver Stone has a lesson to learn. He’s had a lesson to learn for years. He peaked cinematically with JFK, and with the exception of World Trade Center (which stayed out of politics because he would have been crucified if he had launched into conspiracy theories for that one), his movies have been overblown, tedious, drawn-out, egomaniacal, masturbatory exercises.

As of this moment, I predict this film will be one of the biggest bombs in 2008. Opening weekend, it will be lucky to break the top 5, with a worldwide cume of no more than $12 million… if that.


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