Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The revenge of Shrub?

I feel stupid for writing this, and wouldn't if I didn't feel a certain solidarity with other left-leaning worrywarts. But I kind of wish Oliver Stone were releasing his W. biopic after the election, rather than Oct. 17, depriving the Bill O'Reillys of the world of the red meat they like to use to "excite the base." Sarah Palin can't get it up for the listless John McCain by herself.

(Digression: Though it must be said that neither candidate was at their most scintillating earlier tonight. In our 24/7 news cycle whirl I think two televised debates may be enough. I don't bemoan the lack of "specifics"--TVs would click over to HGTV or TCM but quick if either opponent started reciting laundry lists of objectives from would-be plans. But there are ways to sharpen the debate, beyond relying on the usual paeans to Reagan--a great leader largely in memory--and other stump tropes that don't involve pit bull attacks on each other.)

The movie is said to take its shots, with a gallery of well-chosen supporting players as quickly etched caricatures of Cheney (Richard Dreyfuss), Condi (Thandie Newton), Rummy (Scott Glenn), and the gang, but in the vein of Stone's post-mortem Nixon it's also said to be respectful, even sympathetic, with a firm anchor provided by Josh Brolin (pictured) in the lead. (Brolin's dad James played the Gipper in the base-baiting but ultimately forgettable 2003 miniseries The Reagans). I imagine some of those uplifting qualities come from the pen of Stanley Weiser, who co-wrote Stone's time capsule Wall Street and a fawning Giuliani TV movie. I doubt it will be a flavorless treatment of the subject, like Stone's World Trade Center, but I've never been keen on biopics of living people--with the buck of the "greed is good" era literally stopping with this president, the ending is up in the air, and they agitate pundits. The right has as much use for Bush as the left does at this ebb point, yet they will close ranks against Stone and use the film to turn hearts and minds away from the faltering maverick and onto patriotic "liberal media" appeals as the opportunity arises.

Who knows-- I guess I just don't want spanners being thrown into the works in this delicate time. Then again, if W. plays too nice (the PG-13 rating indicates a certain softness of vision) it may be Democrats who take it out on the director...

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