The Screening Room Blog
Friday, October 24, 2008
Fact and fiction meet in "W"
(LONDON, England) -- Could it be more timely? As America prepares to go to the polls, “W,” Oliver Stone’s biopic of the still incumbent president, George “Dubya” Bush tells the story as that of a heavy-drinking frat boy who found God and made it into the White House -- twice.

Stone’s treatment of a man he presents as the world’s most influential idiot is, in fact, surprisingly gentle. Dubya’s deep unpopularity and catalogue of political blunders would have been the perfect license for a damning portrayal.

Instead, while not exactly giving him the kid glove treatment, Stone’s film takes a sometimes mocking (check out the multitudinous close ups of Bush’s patriotic belt buckles with Texas flag design -- and later the Presidential seal) sometimes sympathetic look at Dubya -- and it is an effective psychological portrait of the man who somehow became president.

Stone is helped along by Josh Brolin as the lead of an impressive cast, who, while ‘getting’ Dubya’s mannerisms and ticks, doesn’t ham it up with a straight impersonation. The film portrays Dubya as the quintessential moneyed jock with nothing much in his head -- “Don’t think about it too much, Pappy. It’ll screw you all up,” he counsels Bush Sr. on the subject of whether or not to invade Iraq first time round.

The film opens with Dubya and his advisers (Condi Rice played by Thandie Newton, accompanied by Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld and co.) conjuring up the phrase "axis of evil" and two things very quickly become clear. First of all, Dubya may think he’s in charge but, according to Stone, it’s his advisers who are making the real decisions -- “I’m the President. I’m the decider,” he reiterates to Rumsfeld a few times during the film. Stone's depiction of Dubya's utterly flip attitude to matters of state implies it must have taken more than a twitch of the strings of influence to get him where he is today.

Stone presents Dubya as a charismatic Texan cowboy who possess the confidence and quick wit of a man born to be a "master of the universe" -- admittedly more so around the poker table than in White House press conferences. But critically, he comes across as very human. The kind of "average Joe" that the average Joe would like to sit down with and slug a beer.

While there are a fair number of Bushisms in evidence – “You fool me once, shame on you. You fool me twice and … you can’t fool me again” -- we also see a man strangled by the constrictions of a dynasty that has been built up over a few hundred years, and who has been dealt with very harshly by Bush Sr. “What do you think you are? A Kennedy? You’re a Bush,” he barks when Dubya is arrested after some post-ballgame pranks at Yale.

Visually, the film fails to impress and it’s obvious that it was made very quickly -- Stone says he wanted to get it out before the U.S. election. It also ends very ambiguously, but then the story of Dubya’s presidency and its significance for the current race is still unfolding.

Josh Brolin makes a very convincing George W. Bush. Who would you cast to play Barack Obama, John McCain or, even Sarah Palin?

-- From CNN's Mairi Mackay

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Tina Fey for Palin, of course!
I think that Will Smith would do well at portraying Obama, while perhaps Robert Duvall would make a good John McCain. As for Sarah Palin, we should stick with Tina Fey.
Dennis Haysbert (?spelling) as Obama, he matches the voice and the physique a bit. Also It would be great marketing to let the most famous fictional black president play the hopefully first real black president.

Paul Newman would've made a great McCain but due to the unavoidable laws of nature he can't but someone like John Lithgow could make it work.

Biden is tricky but James Cromwell could do it and obviously Tina Fey could make a great Palin, so as would Julianne Moore if it is more of a drama.
Barack Obama should be played by Denzel Washington (just my opinion), with Tina Fay or Megan Mullally as Sarah Palin, Chris Cooper as Joe Biden and maybe Joey Viera as McCain? McCain and Biden are toughies because its hard to find decent lookalikes!
If Obama actually ends up winning this thing, the Film should end with the R Kelly song "I believe I can Fly"
Well a cheesy ending to a cheesy movie, why not?
I think if Denzel Washinghton goes back to his Malcom X weight he can play a great Obama. Another good option that is probably not going to happen is Jaleel While. (yup, Urkel) He is a talented actor and he's got the "ears" for it. As for Mccain , not a lot of people can pull it off, Mccain has the look of a wealthy corporate guy. My best bet Michael Cain.
tina fey as sarah palin for sure
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