It’s an understatement to say I’m not a fan of the Bush Administration. So I must admit to being perhaps a tad overly delighted when I heard that Oliver Stone was going to make a biopic based on the life of our woefully unpopular sitting president. I predicted the film would be trashed by the right prior to its release, and the 20% who still approve of Bush’s job performance would call Stone a lefty slanderer without ever seeing the movie. If the tables were turned, I’d probably feel the same way.
But could it be that Stone’s film actually paints a sympathetic portrait of George W. Bush? According to this story from The Mercury News, that may very well be the case. In the article, Stone seems to indicate that he’s sympathetic to “The Decider.” And Josh Brolin, according to the story, “found much to admire” about Bush. Brolin says, “He has a strong will that gives him an unparalleled power to self-motivate. He’s not an idiot. He worked his butt off to become president.”
Some time ago, after reading that Stone had cut some of the more controversial elements from W., I wondered if the “bad boy” director had lost the nerve to be the unabashed rabble-rouser he proved himself to be with JFK and Nixon. After all, at the time, I considered Bush to be pretty much the worst person on the face of the planet. I wondered if I could be wrong.
This led me to Frontline’s documentary, Bush’s War. After watching the four hour special (which you can view in its entirety here), I have to say my opinion of Bush has been greatly modified. I still don’t like him, and I still believe he’s a terrible leader. But I no longer think he’s utterly corrupt. I think the decisions he made after 9/11 were well-intentioned, but ultimately misguided, and undone by his choice of incompetent advisors.
In the end, I think Brolin’s harshest statement in the Mercury News article pretty well sums up my feelings about Bush: “He’s constantly reacting but never taking any responsibility.”
I was planning on staying very far away from W.. For all the evil chuckles that the idea of the movie gave me, I was never psyched to actually see it. Frankly, I’d rather just forget the last eight years ever happened. But now I think I’m going to check it out. It’s got a pretty decent score on Rotten Tomatoes, after all, and I must admit I am now intrigued to see if Stone can actually make me like the guy.
What do you think?