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W. Movie Review (a review originally written for college)
Séamus Hanly6 January 2009
'W.', Oliver Stone's latest true story film, is a simple biopic of America's 43rd President George W. Bush, touching on certain aspects of his life, including his college life, his alcoholism and his relationship with his father, the 41st president George Bush, while revolving mainly around his first term in the white house, specifically his controversial 'war on terror' and search for WMDs in Iraq. Like any biopic, there are two ways for it to be viewed. The first is how the feature stands as a film on its own, regardless of its comparison to the source material. Obviously the other way of perceiving it is to compare it to the source material, considering it's about something real and about real people who are alive or have lived. Unfortunately 'W.' is a movie that isn't particularly strong with either of these angles in mind.

The film's light and sweet perspective, which portrays George W. Bush as a smart and well meaning guy, with flaws like the rest of us, doesn't balance with the fact that many of the scenes drone on. This is significant especially for audience members with no particular political expertise, which arguably this film should appeal to. Its father and son story has no real interesting conflict either, except for early on which isn't a good place to have focus, since we're meant to be kept sitting around for the duration of the 2 hours, of which this film runs. The structure of the film is confusing and the ending itself falls flat, leaving a hole that the audience may not be able to fill themselves, seemingly trying to make tough point about whatever issues the film is attempting to cover.

In terms of comparing the film to the real subjects of which it is based on, 'W.' has even less to show for itself as the film focuses on the less interesting, or more widely known, pieces of just Bush's first term, and almost completely avoids the interesting material. Examples of said material would be the controversial speculation around the legitimacy of his position as president, the even more questionable aspects of Bush's behaviour around the time of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the film even makes absolutely no mention of Hurricane Katrina.

The performances in this film are the only real things it has to brag about as Josh Brolin carries the film quite nicely with his charming and quirky take on Bush, along with Richard Dreyfuss' Dick Cheney, Thandie Newton's Condoleezza Rice, and others. However these still feel like impressions, granted they are rather good impressions. Another problem with the film's performances is James Cromwell's portrayal of George Bush Sr., as he is shown as a sweet, hard working old man, with no similarities shown in the real George Bush Sr.'s speech or mannerisms, which, I guess, was necessary to make the character likable.

Overall, 'W.' is reasonably entertaining with its imitations of the American president and the people surrounding him in his career, however the viewers shouldn't delude themselves into thinking it as a reliable source of historical or political information as it covers any subject it has chosen to include, very lightly giving very little for it to say, despite the fact that there would be many things for this film to include, considering its protagonist's history. The only real conceivable, politically taut, reason for why this film was even released before the end of Bush's time as president is that, to avoid anyone else making a biopic of Bush, in case they might have had the kind of daft, one sided sense to portray George W. Bush as a hero, and his enemies as scum, Oliver Stone jumped at making the film in an act that sort of resembles suppressing an explosion.

Verdict: Stone's telling of George W. Bush's life is long but thin, however it doesn't have any huge bias leaving it as an empty and boring chronicle with little harm.
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A Fair And Balanced Portrait of a... Fairly Simple Man
doubleosix12 October 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This is a very good movie, but not the classic it wants to be. It's funny and tragic, although not too informative if you've read a newspaper with any regularity over the last eight years. In short, there are no surprises.

Josh Brolin gives an excellent performance as W., and the supporting cast is generally superb, although Jeffrey Wright, Richard Dreyfuss, and James Cromwell particularly stand out. Thandie Newton is hysterically funny as Condie Rice, but it's an SNL-type parody, not an emotionally honest performance.

The film is obviously meticulously researched and carefully considered, which is why the sequences that are clearly either utter conjecture or merely political finger-pointing stand out by a mile.

Bush -- whom I personally despise for his offensive combination of idiocy and self-righteousness -- is treated with fairness and sensitivity. The effort here is obviously to fashion him as a tragic hero; a man who genuinely wants to do good but simply doesn't grasp how hard that is, especially when surrounded by the likes of Karl Rove and Dick Cheney (who is, very specifically, the villain of the piece, as he is in life). And it generally works. I found myself feeling bad for the poor guy.

However, while trying to make W. a sympathetic character, Stone pushes his theme -- "It Was All To Prove Himself To Daddy" way too far. He overplays his hand, including a mood-breaking dream sequence near the end. There simply has to be more to George W. Bush than that..... doesn't there? The film ultimately plays much, much better when Stone relies on actual transcripts and information gathered by experienced reporters, and those sequences, whether they are cabinet meetings, press conferences, or more personal moments, snap and zing.
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robertgrimm-127 October 2008
One word sums up how I felt while watching W: uncomfortable.

I went into this film expecting more of an absurdist comedy than a tragedy. The level of realism was far beyond what I expected. For the most part, the cast, makeup, and casting crew did such a good job with the characters that it was very easy to imagine that these were not actors on the screen but the actual people. Josh Brolin's characterization of W was certainly Oscar-worthy.

Even better than Brolin's part was Phedon Papamichael's photographic direction. The job of the Director of Photography is to bring the story to life through the creation of images to draw the attention of the viewer where the Director wants. Few films are as good of an example of this as W. Papamichael used the camera to force moral and emotional perspective in a way that I have rarely seen outside of the films of Stanley Kubrick. I've only seen the film once, viewing it as a complete work. I intend to watch it again to study the photography.

Overall, I thought the film was fair in its treatment of the actual people involved. The most ardent Bush supporters will not like it, but to still be that supportive of him in the final months of his second term, you either have to not be paying attention or be uncritical in all of your thought. While artistic license was taken throughout the film, the portrayal of all events and people, with the possible exception of Dick Cheney, were far more grounded in reality and recorded history than I expected.

The film made me uncomfortable on multiple levels, which is why it succeeds and deserves such a high rating. The portrayal of Bush's relationship with his parents, especially his father, forces the viewer to feel sorry for him. The overt religiosity that pervades the public service portion of his life must anger anyone who believes strongly in the separation of church and state. There are many moments when, with any other characters, the film should have generated much laughter. Only one moment in the film actually caused more than one person in the theater to laugh. I guess 4000+ dead soldiers drains the humor out of even the most hilarious gaffes.

I would recommend this film to anyone who wants to see a realistic portrayal of historical events. I wish Stone had waited until Bush was out of office to make it, though. While it captures the major events that were involved in building the Bush legacy, it ends far too early.
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Waiting for the final ball to drop...
With his "in the moment" biopic "W." the normally volatile Oliver Stone wisely saves his judgments for history when hindsight will be 20/20. Achingly subdued and slightly satirical, Stone plays it straight and to the bone. Here he presents us with the early years of our current lame duck president, showing Dubya rushing a frat-house at Yale, meeting Laura at a barbecue, living in the shadow of his father and brother, his troubles holding down a job, his failed bid to become baseball commissioner, and his defining moment when he gives up drinking and becomes born-again. All of which leads us to his first term and the Iraq War quagmire, where Dubya honest-to-goodness truly believes "God" wanted him to become president and that Iraq did have those rascally WMD.

In the lead role, Josh Brolin is an endearingly bumble-headed Dubya, and Stone presents him as a simple-minded man with good intentions who has been crippled by his "daddy issues" and has surrounded himself with the most cynical, self-serving, and corrupt administration in modern American history. The supporting cast is a hoot, with highlights including Thandie Newton eliciting big laughs just with her facial expressions as a wicked and moronically faithful Condi Rice, Elizabeth Banks giving a winning portrayal of Laura Bush, and Richard Dreyfuss playing Cheney as the most insipid megalomaniac American politics has ever seen.

Stone accomplishes three major coups here that should surprise those who expected a one-sided liberal smear job. First, he humanizes George W. Bush. The director does this with savvy editing showing the back-story of why Dubya does the things he does (i.e. why he uses nicknames for everyone or why running three miles every day is so important to him), and then juxtaposing that with the inane decisions he has made as president. By utilizing actual transcripts from press conferences, news coverage, and meetings, Stone and scribe Stanley Weiser allow Bush and his administration to speak for themselves, and it's both comically cathartic and occasionally frightening to see it dramatized so well. Second, he redeems the presidency of George "Poppy" Bush (a somewhat miscast but still effective James Cromwell) by showing what a restrained and thoughtful Commander in Chief he was compared to his naive and too-eager-to-please son. Thirdly, he redeems the legacy of Colin Powell (a surprisingly good Jeffrey Wright), who is shown here as the only person in the administration with any hindsight or foresight, and the only sane voice who questioned the motives for entering Iraq, though he eventually caved in and played along. His "f-you" to Cheney towards the film's final act is priceless.

As the actual presidency still has a few months to go at the time of the film's release, Stone's biopic was never written a true ending, leaving us with a symbolic image of Dubya looking up to the sky in center field waiting to catch a ball that will never drop. It may be another twenty years before we can pass any accurate judgment on Dubya's legacy, and likewise, Stone's film will have to wait. It's going to be a long time before anyone catches all those balls George W. Bush's administration threw up in the air.
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Reduntant and therefore disappointing
supah793 February 2009
I used to be an Oliver Stone fan. But after Natural Born Killers I read in an interview that he had doubts about continuing his directing career. "I don't think I have another good movie in me".

Well, I still think that he does, but W. isn't it. The reason I like and watch Oliver Stone films is that he has a strong opinion about a subject. One that isn't mainstream, but expresses it in such a way, that he wins his audience and therefore can change popular opinion. The best examples for this are Platoon and JFK.

Oliver Stone makes a decision with this film which I do not like. The life and times of George W. Bush offer enough subject matter to make a powerful, semi-documentary film with hard hitting political and religious views that would sturr up popular belief. But instead of going for the jugular, Stone takes W. on his knee, pats him gently on the head and says: "I know, son. I get it." The film has all the elements that make W. the infamous guy that he is: the invention of axes-of-evil, God is on the side of good (The US of A), W.'s history of failed business, tale-chasing and alcohol abuse. Add the wheeling and dealing by the Bush-dynasty and you would think it's dynamite stuff.

But it's not. The script is superficial. Tame at best. Stone is not good at satire and this film shows us why. Anyone who reads the Sundaypaper and watches the nine-o-clock news could have written this movie. It has the character motivation of a soap-opera. The father-son relationship for me was totally unbelievable. I expected a true depiction, with close source material. But it has become an imagined portrait by the screenwriter. Another thing that disappointed me was the lack of insight into the kitchen of the (right-wing) Bush-Administration, more over: the infiltration of the Hawks in the White House.

This film doesn't add anything new or reveal any new insights. The movie is based on research done by outsiders. I knew every detail of this movie because I am up to current events. I don't want a summation and lovable depiction of a man who is responsible for eight very defining years of US foreign policy. I wanted new insights, make me doubt my own beliefs and discuss this with friends and on message boards. The end result has me shrugging my shoulders and saying: Eehh..., so what?
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Enjoyable, Provocative - Like Him or Not, W. is Us
beckwith1015 October 2008
Saw W in a preview last night and overall found it engaging, provocative and, frankly, a bit eerie. Of course, because Mr. Bush is still in office, watching re-enactments of critical moments in his administration, still fresh in our memory, has a quality of watching an SNL spoof; one is always aware one is watching actors, and very good ones at that, play the parts of principal figures on the Bush team, leaving a viewer continually comparing the actors' portrayals, make-up, etc, with the real life figures we know from the news. In other words, the film never completely transcends the spectacle of its simulation to feel seamlessly naturalistic. This is hardly a fault of the film necessarily, only the curious timing of its making and release here in the waning months of the Bush administration. (Had the film been made several years from now, no doubt audiences would bring a different. more relaxed, attentiveness to it.) I won't spell out my conclusions on Stone's version of Bush - that for you to discover - however, I will say it is fully appropriate we allow our private and public preconceptions of Bush the man to be challenged and examined. There is more to be said about the man than merely we like or dislike him. After all, we put him in office for eight years, and that says a great deal about us as a nation.
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a waste of time
funkyfry21 November 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this movie at my friend's insistence, and watching it while drinking a beer seemed more fun than sitting at home. In retrospect, only the beer was worth my time. Not that it's an irredeemably bad film... some of the sections depicting George Bush's early life are interesting, and the whole thing is technically well done. But when the film gets into his presidency, we're treated to impersonations rather than performances.

W (Josh Brolin) is the prodigal son of the wealthy and influential Bush family, and the film depicts a series of unfocused episodes or vignettes that led up to his assuming the presidency of the United States. Bush is depicted, probably correctly, as a man virtually without intellectual curiosity. His family life is left very much untouched outside of his relationship to wife Laura, perhaps out of respect for the Bush children who after all did not ask for such scrutiny. I did enjoy the aspects of the story that touched on his relationship with his father, President George Bush (James Cromwell). Nothing else in the film had much interest or gave us much information outside of what's readily available.

I think it was a mistake for Oliver Stone to make this film during Bush's presidency, when there is no fresh perspective and when audiences are already so used to seeing the man on TV that attending the theater to see him represented seems pointless. And it not only seems pointless, but in Oliver Stone's rambling and unfocused film it actually is pointless in my opinion. What's the idea behind this film anyway? "George W. Bush is a human being." Wow, give the man a cookie. It might be interesting to people decades from now but at this point everything in the film is common knowledge and a lot of the things you see in the film you might as well just watch the original footage on youtube. There are also a lot of jarring performances -- Thandie Newton's take on Condoleeza Rice comes off as cartoonish and silly, and yet Jeffrey Wright's take on Colin Powell seems nothing like the man we've known in public service for decades. It's as if half the performers thought they were doing a re-enactment while the other half were being directed to play it broad from the hip.

Oliver Stone deserves the blame for this stinker. I simply cannot fathom why he's considered by so many to be a good director. He had some talent as a screenwriter, but his whole task as director seems to be to produce glossy post-cards of history that probably never happened. He's like a Cecil B DeMille for our times. Not that I doubt the overall points that the film makes about our 43rd president, but more I wonder why anyone feels the need to make them at this point. The film does not address any of the worst aspects of Bush's career in the presidency and lets him off the hook by portraying him as a mere incompetent who was persuaded by Rove and Cheney (Richard Dreyfuss) to be a devil's accomplice. Real history must be more complicated than whatever happens in Oliver Stone's head. This film is afraid to step on anyone's toes so it ends up being dull. It should have gone one way or the other -- courted controversy by depicting Bush as a kind of hero or villain. Instead we get a very tepid representation of him as a well-meaning loser. Whether it's close to reality or not should be for historians and true political observers to say, but I don't see much point in basing a film on such a middle of the road interpretation.
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Great Acting, Very Entertaining Film
Kaddie16 October 2008
I had a chance to see this film on Wednesday and I loved it !!! I'm not a Bush fan or supporter, however what I loved most about it is that it isn't a Bush-hate fest. Rather, it was a successful attempt to show Bush as simply a man with several human foibles, many of which just happen to be hilarious.

What makes the movie so amusing is that Stone miraculously finds a way for you to not laugh at Bush the man. Rather, one laughs at the improbability of the entire Bush saga.

Against that backdrop is the importance of the fine performances given by the actors.

Some actors, like Banks as Laura Bush, give performances that are good but that are altogether too predictable and uninspired.

On the other hand, Brolin nails his performance as he turns Bush from a doofus to a poor schmuck that finds out too late that he's in over his head.

Newton is the OTHER BRIALLIANT performance in the film. Although, some critics apparently wanted the average TV-Movie-muck type of performance where the actress finds the "lighter side" of the real life person, Newton and Stone smartly resist that trite nonsense.

Newton transcends her own glamorous persona and gives a hard-as-nails imitation of Rice as a person that is smart enough to understand and follow those that actually have the power in the Bush White House as she helps them manipulate Bush to acquiesce to their desires.

Newton's performance successfully evokes images of the Rice that recently went to Russia and had the nerve to coolly and robotically lecture Putin on why it's OK for the U.S. to travel half the globe to punish those who kill Americans, but it's not OK for Russia to go over its border to punish those that kill Russian citizens.

It's one of the gutsier performances all year by anyone, male or female, and it really helps make the movie great.

As I stated at the beginning W. is great, and we finally get a movie that appeals to those of us that don't want to waste $10 bucks on a film about a Hollywood Chihuahua.
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A Few Pieces Of An Historical Puzzle
fanaticusanonymous21 October 2008
Oliver Stone and Josh Brolin manage the impossible by giving a present reality a sort of farcical look. Frightening to see how easily the farce and the reality merge and marry in the most natural way. George W, eats his way into history. The most mediocre of men drowning in a pool of his own making and in a way, drowning all of us with him. But, somehow, neither Stone nor Brolin describe a monster. On the contrary, here the monstrosity is in our hands. The man was voted (sort of) twice. Richard Dreyfuss IS Dick Cheney. A terrifying truthful performance. Thandie Newton is the one really out there. She plays her "yes woman" like Talia Shire in the Godfather III. Very bizarre, but fun. So, the biggest surprise is that Stone didn't come with a hatchet but with a magnifying glass. Seeing what we already knew but a bit larger made for a riveting evening at the movies.
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A sad job
minman3-11 November 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Disappointing! While no person is perfect this portrays all in this fill as if they were all the three stooges and a power hungry leader that wanted to make the final decision. I cannot believe this is an accurate portrayal of individuals in privet conversations and in classified meetings. I have seen other Stone movies and enjoyed them and got the point. I think it may be time to retire and accomplish other life goals. To indicate that W. went to Iraq to get even for "poppy" and for oil was unrealistic and shows just how thin this story line really was developed. The acting was well done, with the individual mannerisms but the character of the individuals were corrupted from the people that we know them know them to be. I would have to rate this on as a must miss even on TV.
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It is what it is
tyzylstra7 February 2009
Like many others I began watching this movie expecting to see Jr. mocked and ridiculed but instead was surprised to find a drama. As it has been said before, if you're looking for something that's pro or anti bush...you're just not going to get it. There are many gaps in the story and I'm certain that there was a reason for that.

W. wasn't meant to be a political piece but instead a character piece about a man that normally would have been quite forgettable...but as president would create many enduring memories globally.

I gave it 8 out of 10 for the acting and the story...all of which has been said before so I feel no need to repeat it.
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Okay, but not great.
em8907200227 October 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This film bored me. It's a sad story of a pathetic character. Essentially W's life-story is reduced to a two hour melodrama more suited for a 'movie-of-the-week' TV slot than the big screen.

It's understandably difficult to condense anyone's life-story into two hours of film, but a focus on a specific incident or time period in W's life would have allowed for more character development all around. Here, there was just too much of the overall story so as the numerous characters were paraded-out they came across as shallow and two-dimensional.

The episodic flashbacks were over-used and made for a pretty choppy film.

The rocky father-son relationship was hammered home pretty hard; I was almost expecting W to cry out 'rosebud' in the middle of the night.

For what it provides, this film just ran too long; much like the main character's current administration.
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Less about his presidency than about how he got there
Fargoisgreatmovie18 October 2008
Enter the theatre with the wrong expectations and you will be disappointed. I was excited to see the movie because I thought it would be a chronicle of George W Bush's presidency (2001-2008) as well as a biography of his life before assuming office. Unfortunately, the movie does not extend past 2003 and most of the screen time is given to his earlier life and his love/hate relationship with his father. Easily the most interesting scenes in the movie are the ones with him and his Cabinet. One significant flaw in the movie is the casting, particularly the ones for Dick Cheney, Colin Powell and George Bush Sr., who either do not have the proper voice (the former two) or bear any physical resemblance (the latter). Josh Brolin's performance in this movie is one of the best things about this movie and he should deserve an Oscar nod as he should have gotten for his outstanding performance in the Coen Brother's masterpiece No Country For Old Men. This movie could have been better had Stone waited for the real Bush to complete his presidency and then painted a complete portrait of his Presidency instead of just the first 3 years and if he had changed some of the cast around. The father-son relationship is interesting but becomes redundant. The writing, acting and craftsmanship are impressive, however. 8 out of 10.
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A Snapshot View with Little Point
sparkle_fade9519 October 2008
This movie was only able to scratch the surface of the man who will define a decade of disaster. With two hours of film, I was able to deduce little more then I already knew about W. and especially about his presidency. Stone barely mentioned 9/11, he did not get to Rumsfelds or Powells resignation, even though both characters were central features of the movie. Not even one glimpse of the 2004 election and only one sentence about the infamous 2000 elections. Lame. It really should have been a movie from George H.W. view since he was a dominating factor in every scene. His father might have been his biggest influence, it certainly was the biggest influence of this movie, but it didn't go far enough to explain the decisions of W. administration. That is were this filmed failed and why its just plain boring.
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typical Stone
webcrind9 February 2010
I hesitated to leave a review at first, because it might make certain people curious to watch that show, which is not what I would like you to do. Oliver Stone doesn't deserve making any more money by you renting his movie. I am not an American and I also never was a fan of Bush, jr. or senior. But I rented that movie because of some of the misleading comments on IMDb, which shows how gullible I can be, I know. I lived for 30 years in Europe and now reside in Canada, and you can take my word for it when I state the fact that most people outside of the U.S. think the Americans as an arrogant and ignorant bunch of bible wielding Joe six-packs. And many of the comments on this forum only prove it. George W. is not a moron, that's just how he came across. He graduated from Yale and passed the exam to get into Harvard Business, so how stupid can he possibly be. But Mr. Stone portrays him as such, because he is riding the anti-Bush wave. He is cashing in on the fact, that many people have a low opinion about their former president and he is using Michael- Moore- tactics by aiming low. And be it as it may, my main criticism with this movie is: would Oliver also make a movie about Mr. Clinton and portray him as a lying, cheating, warmongering, cunning, unethical and greedy non-individual? Of course not, so where is the artistic integrity? Because Clinton belongs to a group of politicians Oliver Stone obviously relates to. And if this political colouring leaks through a movie, the director is bad. I don't care what Stone votes when the elections come, so why does he need to tell me. Mr. Stone should concentrate on making documentaries, but he is not of the caliber of a Werner Herzog; Hell, they are not even in the same league. Stone is like Moore, with maybe a tad more talent. But the talent is waning. And I follow up with an apology to anybody who feels offended by certain comments I made, I am not anti-American. To conclude my opinion about Oliver Stone: he is a very biased film maker that lacks the skill of a Tom Tykwer, Martin Scorcese, Coppola or even Sam Peckingpah. And when it comes to bias, I have similar issues with Lars von Trier, who started out as a promising talent and now only demonstrates what a racist he really is. And "emotions" like that are better kept in and not transmitted onto the screen. Whatever happened with the director that made a movie like U-Turn?
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With Liberty and Justice For All
Kristine12 November 2008
Oh, boy, a film about George W. Bush, could be the new "Forrest Gump", lol. My head still hurts, because I was just banging it on the wall after I watched this film, how in the heck did this man run our country for 8 years without burning it down? Now I understand why this film was released right before election time, now I work at a movie theater and everyone who came out of the theater said they felt bad for W. and a couple of my friends who I saw the film said they also felt bad for him... how about us?! OK, before I start banging my head up against the wall again, so Oliver Stone is the critical director who decided to take on this wonderful project. The film is actually well made, Josh Brolin does a decent job of portraying our constant dumbfounded president, the story is pretty sad when you think about all the pressures he must face on a daily basis.

Based on George W. Bush's life, we go from when he was just a crazy party animal in college. Dubbed as the black sheep of the family, that his brother would be more suited as president, facing constant criticism from his father George Bush, Sr. who was also our president for a short time. We explore W.'s life with his family, his presidency, the pressure he faces, and the Iraq war. We also go into his world of having to pull himself out of his rut with his family who constantly puts him down with a country who is not exactly proud of him as well.

W. is a good film, it's well acted and put together, however, my main complaint, but I think there is a reason why, is that Oliver completely skips the election controversy we faced in 2000 as well as 9/11 which I thought was an important subject to touch. But I have a feeling why he didn't bring it up is due to how hard those times were for him and wasn't exactly sure how to go at it. Over all this is a watchable movie, but for me, it is forgettable, I don't know if it will be considered a classic down the line, but I guess we'll find out if our future kids are watching it in their history classes and asking us "what were you on when you voted for this guy?".

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Stone doesn't even make an effort.
greg-oswell30 April 2009
Oliver Stone doesn't even bother to make an attempt at creating a realistic portrayal of GWB's life. He simply reviewed a few relevant historical facts and conjures his mental image of how the instances must have unfolded and films it.

To be fair Josh Brolin does a better GWB impersonation than Will Ferrell but the script, as farcical as it is, is better suited to Ferrell's talents. The actors deserve credit for doing an admirable job in what can best be described as a Saturday Night Live version of the life of GWB.

Entertaining as fiction but don't take it as historical fact.

I am no fan of GWB but this film does not even attempt to make a fair portrayal of GWB's life.

I would write more but this film doesn't warrant the effort.
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Stone Hits New Low In Film Making
Hal Guentert28 October 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I already knew "W" was a propaganda piece, especially coming out while George W. was still in office and untouchable, but I was curious enough to see it after hearing a misguided review from someone I respect. It proved to be the waste of over 2 hours, just as I expected from the trailer.

Anyone claiming that Stone is a "master story teller" is insane, with this garbage having no ending. It just, mercifully, stops.

The only good thing you can really say is there are a handful of decent actors in the movie who should be ashamed for participating in this farce. At least Christian Bale had enough integrity to bale out of the project.

This is completely a fraud and a propaganda piece trying to whitewash George W. Bush as a simple minded, well meaning, frat boy/drugstore cowboy who suddenly found religion and stumbled into the Presidency of the United States. Supposedly, he was in charge and mislead by even more simple minded advisors. Nothing is further from the truth. George W. Bush is nothing more than a puppet, and many misleading scenes misrepresent the Bush family relationships to the CIA and Bill Clinton.

If the movie had any relationship to the truth, it could not have been made while W. was in office, and it would provide the evidence that there has never been a more criminal, unconstitutional Presidential administration with more political skeletons (including NAZI financier, Prescott Bush) in the family closet, a President with more connections to the CIA/Skull & Bones/Bohemian Club organizations, or a President that lies at every opportunity. The problems with Bush as an innocent rube are unlimited, and I hope someone will produce something resembling the truth one day after he leaves office, is indicted and prosecuted.

Bottom 10 worst excuse for a movie I ever hope to see.
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Once again W. dupes us.
Vincent Rocca19 October 2008
The Whitehouse preached WMD's and the advertising for this movie preached an entertaining comedy about an underdog who lands the most important position in the world. Neither delivered.

Instead I got a movie about a guy who pines for his father's affection and becomes President, all the while never really getting said affection. There is no ARC in this flick, nothing is learned and many events of Bushy administration are skipped. All those great phrases on the teaser poster are ditched. How a guy does a 180 with his life and becomes President in 10 short years isn't here. Nothing is really here, not even an extreme left view that W. screwed us. Nothing. The movie is pointless.

So why make this flick? Oscars! That's it! Lets get some shiny statues for outstanding performances in another useless SLOW boring movie. It's sad, Tom Cruise should get an award for his performance in Tropic Thunder, but instead an actor from this flick will get that award, because this is a serious Stone vehicle.

Why a 1? Because it is a movie you will watch once, forget, and NEVER watch again.
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A Toneless mess
MovieDude189316 February 2009
W.- *½/****

Oliver Stone's W. is an oddity. There's no other word for it. In attempting to provide psychological commentary on the presidency of George W. Bush, it forgets the simple cinematic basics of story, structure and character. The tone of the film is nearly non existent, leaving its admirable cast of actors on shaky ground without a leg to stand on.

Stone juxtaposes the rise of "Dubya" (played by Josh Brolin) with his decision to begin the current Iraq War. In displaying Bush's journey from frat boy to drunk to born again AA member to leader of the free world, Stone has enough material to create a wicked absurdist satire, or compelling political theater. However, Stone seems hell-bent on making a film that remains neutral toward the forty- third President, giving him the ability to say things like, "It will contain surprises for Bush supporters and his detractors."# Well, yes, I was surprised indeed. Surprised that the man who's made films as vibrant and lively as JFK and Natural Born Killers, as somber and emotional as Platoon or Born on the Fourth of July has rendered this film completely dull and lifeless.

Perhaps Stone isn't completely to blame. Stanley Weiser's script, bland and talky in the worst possible way, contains figures instead of characters, and when put into scenes these figure say exactly what should be shown in outlets other than dialog removing any hope for subtlety.

I do know this, the film's failure is certainly not the fault of the cast which includes actors as esteemed as Richard Dreyfuss and Ellen Burstyn. By and large (with the exception of Thandie Newton's dreadful aping of Condoleezza Rice) the cast excels at inhabiting the situation. This is especially true for Brolin who's performance is so complete and convincing that it overshadows the entire film and underlines the numerous flaws. Beyond physical inhabitation and imitation, Brolin's performance shows a deep understanding of Dubya as a man, I wish I could say the same about the film.
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Toothless, pointless...whatever happened to Oliver Stone?
WoodrowTruesmith28 October 2008
Instead of tearing W a new one, this film applied some Desitin, patted him on the back and said "there, there." I can't help but think that this, along with World Trade Center, represents a kinder, gentler, and newly boring Oliver Stone, focusing on inoffensive dramaturgy and lookalike casting (except Cromwell as Poppy Bush). It seems he now wants to be a Serious Prestige Director Who Gets An Oscar, rather than the passionate, irreverent wiseguy he was when he made his great films.

So now Stone turns out a movie that will encourage any remorseful Bush voter to think, "Well, of course I was right to have supported him...he meant well." Give me a break.

With the most stupidly corrupt leader in American history as his subject, a rage-filled, sadistic yet passive-aggressive antihero worthy of a blistering satire...Stone instead delivers a wet little Hallmark drama about how a cold daddy produced an unloved, frustrated child. Who just happened to kill a hundred thousand people (left almost entirely off screen, of course.) There are plenty of ironic laugh-lines for smug liberals, but they'll fly right over the heads of Republicans who can enjoy this shameless apologia free of irony.

Where were the remarkable highlights (that is to say, low points) of Bush's public career? "She said, 'please don't kill me' ", "All right, you've covered your ass?" "F--k Saddam, he's going down,"...and ten minutes of lobotomized staring at a children's book...while America was under attack? Well, never mind history...you can't have your main character too unlikable, can you? For all the mentions of "yellow cake", you'd never know that phrase did not just refer to an unsupported claim, but to an obvious lie, a childish forgery that the CIA's own experts disclaimed...nor would you guess that Bush and Cheney stood accused of betraying the identity of the CIA agent whose husband pointed out this inconvenient fact (nor that Bush commuted the sentence of a convicted felon who might otherwise have testified to their treason.) To portray Bush and Cheney's worst crime as being just too darned vigilant is an outrageous libel upon history. (Just a reminder: "you've covered your ass" was W's reply to the CIA handler who tried to show him the Aug 6th memo, "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside U.S.")

The leads are sledgehammered into a mold designed to produce relatable movie characters, instead of highlighting their most interesting facets. From watching the dewy-eyed, sensible, liberal, good-hearted gal called Laura Bush here, you'd never dream the genuine article actually told survivors of dead soldiers that "no one suffers more than the president and I" or that she once killed a boyfriend by running a stop sign.

Oliver Stone - who once made a mainstream movie that accused the CIA of murdering JFK - wants us to believe Bush (who's been repeatedly photographed with wine-colored fluid in his glasses at state dinners and has fallen off bikes, Segways and his own two feet too often to count) passed out on a pretzel...with nothing but O'Doul's at hand? Really? Really?? Whatever happened to Oliver Stone?
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A biased interpretation of hearsay to mock a president
junkymail5015 August 2009
I'm not a Bush fan, but was disappointed to see this movie be such an obvious one-sided interpretation of hearsay and questionable statements that are used to mock a president. This makes it pretty pointless unless you really just hate the Bush administration and want to see a dramatized version of all the hate made into a mocking movie. Perhaps that is the intended purpose of the film, but it's not marketed in that way, it's marketed as a synopsis of Bush's life which is what makes it a failure. For this kind of mocking film (like Condoleeza Rice's character), it would've been funnier to make it more obviously funny (like a straight-out comedy) instead of trying to make it seem like a normal movie.
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someone explain the corn
munky_funky18 October 2008
After watching Stone's latest biopic, I feel like I have lived through George Bush's life. No I have no new understanding of the man's life, I just feel like I waisted 40 years of my own life all in the matter of 2 hours. This movie adds a whole new meaning to boring.

This movie managed to show us every aspect of George's life besides those that might be interesting. We got to see some girl friend??? of George's step on a cob of corn. Why?? Is there some symbolism here. We get to see George be out Texased by some Democratic rival for state senate, but when he is going to make his out Texasing comeback against the Governor of Texas, we are just informed he won. Why not show it?

But by far the worst two things about this movie have got to be the actress representing Condilice Rice and the choice of background music. First, Condi. I am not a big fan of the woman, but my god, what was the decision to present her as a mentally challenged freak with facial ticks. And why does she act more like George's secretary than a deputy of the NSA and then future Secretary of State. I do not know who the actress was as of yet, but I can guarantee you that I will never watch another movie that she is in ever again. She alone made me hate this movie more anything else in any other previous movie.

Now the music. Stone should know better. The sappy crap music reminded me of the dramatic under filler for the series Jericho. It was the music that destroyed the whole series of Jericho. And for all you peanut lovers out there, I can care less about your peanuts. I am glad Jericho was canceled.
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Party of One
tedg28 October 2008
Two of my least favorite people in one project! A president with a blunt intellect, but a remarkable ability to project a simple story. And a filmmaker with the same qualities. Each would be relatively harmless as clerks who amuse at lunch breaks, but these are men whose inadequacies break worlds.

It is no wonder that this portrays Bush respectfully. No wonder that it is all about intent: the man is a good, honest, unselfish man whose only weakness was a vision of an unrealistic utopia and the accident of being surrounded by fools and devils. I believe that all of Stone's projects are autobiographical and he impresses on them his own story. Its Woody Allen, except instead of placing himself in the cosmic forces of personal relationships and self, he wanders among what he sees is a cosmos of global conspiracy. That he is able to make a living in Hollywood is, I think, because our notions of noir are close enough to this so that he (and Spike Lee) can bloviate and make a living.

As time goes on, he worries more and more about himself, so he makes his heroes basically good men, lost.

But this time history bucks him. The culpability of this man cannot be explained away by blaming Rove and Cheney. His qualms about torture are known to not have happened. We know that he pushed for policies that will be evaluated in time as war crimes. Now, he may have done that with noble intent, but more ruthless and scheming than this golden Rube we see here.

This is a disaster for history. Because so few Americans read books, instead getting their history from films and blogmobs.

The cinematic values of Stone's prior work are not even visible. The energy of "Platoon," the craft of "JFK" are gone. We have normal TeeVee movie framing here.

I think we should vote Stone out.

Ted's Evaluation -- 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.
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more positive than it should be
EchoMaRinE15 August 2009
This is a difficult to comment movie indeed. Story telling, acting and directing is very good. You see a decent biography, well organized and told quite professionally. On the other hand, I am not sure whether the point is very clear. The movie is not done to criticize Bush, not at all. There is some notion of criticism to Iraq war but Bush is shown to be tricked and misinformed in this particular incidence. So if you want to see a movie that is making fun of Bush and his period of presidency, this is certainly not the movie you are looking for. But don't even think that the movie is praising him, since it is not. So, it seems they tried to make an objective biography but it is more positive about Bush than it should be.
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