Deadpool 2

May 22, 2018 by  
Filed under Movies

Breaking the 4th wall in a film is always a risk. I recall the late great critic Gene Siskel who said, “If you’re going to turn to that camera, you’d better have something to say.” Some actors can pull it off. Ryan Reynolds turns it into an artform in the sequel to “Deadpool”, the most raunchy of the Marvel superheroes. I liked the first film, even though at times it could be a little too jokey. Reynolds really wanted to redeem the “House of the Dead” reject-looking character from “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”. And he certainly did.

Now, he brings “Deadpool” into full-on parody mode in “Deadpool 2”. While there is a bit of a serious storyline, and some touching moments, “Deadpool 2” is an onslaught of in-jokes and making fun of not only the MCU, not only Deadpool himself, but even the actors–and, sometimes, other franchises.

The plot is fairly basic: Wade Wilson (Reynolds) is enjoying an anniversary date with his girlfriend Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) when one of his targets barges in and murders her. Feeling guilty about allowing her death, Wilson tries to kill himself. But, if you recall, Deadpool can’t die by dismemberment. Instead, he reluctantly joins the X-Men in order to kind of redeem himself. They’re enlisted to help a young kid named Russell (Julian Dennison) who is becoming more unstable and could be a future villain. In fact, those worries are confirmed by a time-traveling anti-hero named Cable (Josh Brolin), who has come back to stop him. He lost his family because of Russell’s wrath. Russell can harness fire through his hands, lending to naming himself Firefist.

Cable wants to kill the boy, but Deadpool believes he can redeem him. While in his subconscious, Deadpool revisits Vanessa as sort of a window into his soul, to find his “heart” and save the kid.

In the meantime, we get a lot of jokes. Most of these are hit-or-miss, and when they hit, they hit big. This is basically a Zucker Brothers movie set in the Marvel universe. The film is extremely meta, and comes close to even parodying meta. But, it’s not quite that clever. Nor does it need to be. The college level humor works just fine.

Spending time watching “Deadpool 2” is a bit like spending 2 hours with a stand-up comedian. At times you will be laughing your head off; other times, you’ll want them to pump the brakes a bit. But, even at its most goofy moments, “Deadpool 2” still finds time to have some strength and depth in character. Reynolds may have found his real vocation with this role. He’s had a career before this franchise, but this has really defined him. And it’s served him well. Brolin is great as the comic “straight man”, the Dean Martin to his Jerry Lewis. They work well together, and Brolin has a knack for the grim-faced, hardboiled type.

It’s great entertainment if you’re ready for this kind of humor. You are definitely not getting anything real dramatic; and after “Avengers: Infinity War”, it comes as a much needed comic relief in the MCU.

Grab some chimichangas, fire up the EDM, sit back, and enjoy.

My rating: :D

Avengers: Infinity War

May 2, 2018 by  
Filed under Movies

After 10 years of what we now nickname the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Univerrse), and nearly 20 films, we have come to the supposed culmination of what this was all about: the Avengers joining forces with others from other film franchises to defeat a common enemy, known as Thanos. Throughout these films, we’ve been thoroughly entertained by A-list actors portraying high end characters, cross-referencing story lines, and explosive special effects and fairly convincing CGI. Franchises include the “Avengers” movie series, the individual Avengers involved, and even the “Guardians of the Galaxy”. They now share billing in one of the biggest films of all time, “Avengers: Infinity War”. For about 130 minutes of its’ staggering 150 minute running time, it is an absolute hoot.

The Guardians provide most of the best humor, some of the biggest laughs, and the greatest on-screen presence. Maybe, too, their franchise has been the most satisfying; seeing some of these other, more familiar Avengers is a tad tiresome. Not that I’m tired of seeing them, but they’ve been thrown in so many films together that it’s kind of refreshing to see new faces. It’s hilarious when Drax (Dave Bautista) is impressed with Thor (Chris Hemsworth), and when Thor continuously calls Rocket (Bradley Cooper) “Rabbit”. It works like a comedic family reunion sometimes, with a lot of quips and pot shots that really keep you smiling throughout.

But it’s not all fun and games and laughs and giggles. Thanos (Josh Brolin), a somewhat mysterious tyrant, is fiendishly collecting Infinity Stones that have been carefully protected by the Avengers, in order to possess all 6. He carries them on a conveniently designed gauntlet, and each has its own power that once forged, can make him the most powerful creature in the universe. He can basically do whatever he wants–and what he wants, is “balance”. That means, for him, to level the population of the world and cut it in half. He will destroy civilization, in his mind, for its’ own good.

Well, that’s obviously not going to set well with the Avengers, or anyone with a good head on their shoulders. However, the more this film reveals about Thanos, the more it becomes apparent that the filmmakers are trying something a bit ambitious:

This is more about Thanos than it is about the Avengers. The Avengers are trying, perhaps in vain, to stop a force that they cannot stop. Thanos already has a few of the stones to start the film out, and he’s already more powerful than any one Avenger–except possibly Thor, who is still without his Hammer. The film portrays Thanos as a “fallen angel” type. Maybe at one time, Thanos was bright-eyed and optimistic about the universe. But he’s older, more cynical, and beaten down by years of torment and self-reflection.

Or is he? We really, actually, never get to know the true Thanos. That’s a hard thing to accomplish anyway in one film, when all this time up until now we have been led to think that the Avengers are the best heroes to follow. Are we now to believe that Thanos is the real hero?

Probably not. But, we still aren’t given a lot to work with to look at it from Thanos’ point of view. We still want to believe that Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) has the ability to thwart his plans with his stone. Or Vision (Paul Bettany), with his.

Much of the climax of this film is a lot of highwire acts by the Avengers to stop Thanos from his plan. Many Avengers striking poses, tossing out lasers and bright projectiles. We even get a nice cameo from Peter Dinklage as Thor’s new Hammer forger.

The last 10-15 minutes, though, are really what the whole movie boils down to. I can’t give away details, but my heart sank when I realized what I’m watching.

Part 1 of 2.

Like “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 1”, we are only getting half the story crammed into a nearly 3 hour movie. That means another nearly 3 hour movie still awaits, and will sum up what “Infinity War” is supposed to be about.

So, I cannot once again give a real definitive review of this film. Did I enjoy it? Well, some parts, absolutely. I was right there with these guys, cheering and applauding whenever they did something heroic or spectacular. When it looked like they were beating the bad guys, I was wholly engaged and almost felt like a kid again, when I was reading comics myself.

But it’s not over, and the way the ending leaves you…it just left me cold. Empty. Unfulfilled. I know they are going to resolve this, and it seems pretty predictable how. After all, can there really be “sacrifice” in a comic book movie? If you’ve ever read comic books, you know the answer to that.

So, my heart sank because as much as this film tries to be edgy and shocking–I think I know the outcome too well to either be disappointed by the resolution, or just expecting what looks to be inevitable.

It came off as arrogant to me, after all these years and films, to make audiences wait for an end to just…make them wait a little longer. Especially since other film franchises are going to go on in the meantime. We’re just supposed to suspend disbelief all that time, until Part 2 is released? That’s going to be awkward.

And for that, I can’t really recommend this…

…yet?

My rating: :?

Everest

September 28, 2015 by  
Filed under Movies

Growing up, I had a fascination with Mount Everest. I still have a National Geographic issue that focused on the mountain. I had fantasies of one day ascending and climbing to the summit. Then, I read “Into Thin Air”, Jon Krakauer’s account of what’s now known as the 1996 Mount Everest disaster, and it’s not really on my to-do list anymore. Not only because of what happens to the climbers, but Krakauer did such a fine job of putting you on that mountain with them that you could feel what they were going through, without having to actually experience it yourself. I swear at one point I may have even developed HAPE.

There was one attempt in the late 1990’s to adapt the book into a film, but it was a low level TV film that was panned and forgotten about. I had always thought the story deserved a big budget, the 5 star treatment, and when I read about this upcoming film, I thought I was finally going to get that.

I’d say what we do get is a 3 star treatment. It’s not wasted time, but it doesn’t capture what Krakauer was able to. He is a master storyteller, but surely there should’ve been someone who could’ve brought his story to life. Then again, “Everest” is not technically based upon his account. He is represented in the film, by actor Michael Kelly, but his perspective is somewhat marginalized. In fact, the flaw in the film is that it compromises the most gripping aspect of the story, which is the personal stories of those involved.

The film focuses on Rob Hall (Jason Clarke, quickly becoming a favorite of mine in recent cinema), a likable and bright expedition leader of a firm called Adventure Consultants. The name sounds like one of Enron’s fictional off shoots that Andrew Fastow would’ve come up with, but nevermind. He is hired commercially and leads somewhat unskilled climbers and regular climbers alike to summit Everest. His 1996 crew includes Krakauer, and Doug Hansen (John Hawkes), who is getting up in age where he won’t be able to climb Everest realistically after that year. There’s a Japanese climber, Yasuko Nambo (Naoko Mori), who is one summit away from completing the Seven Summits, and would be the second Japanese woman to do so. Beck Weathers (Josh Brolin) is also along, who has experience climbing but is a doctor by trade.

They are joined at base camp by a rival company, Mountain Madness, led by Scott Fischer (Jake Gyllenhaal), who is a little more of a free spirit than Hall, but likable just the same. Things get testy as too many climbers begin to bottleneck the expedition further up the mountain, and as weather shifts, it becomes dangerous to ascend.

This is all well done in the film, making you feel the tension of the climbers who are getting more annoyed at waiting than they are fearful of the possibility of dying on the mountain. But when the winds pick up and avalanches begin to threaten them, their attitudes change into something more urgent and critical. They look out for each other, try to help one another–they’re all in it together. But the mountain is one cruel mistress. And things start to fall apart once the summit is completed by many of the climbers.

There is so much going on, so much tension, that at times it is hard to bear. You’re gripping your seat in anticipation, hoping they make it. If you don’t know the story, it’s all the more suspenseful. But even as I had known the story and the fates of all the climbers, I still felt captivated by the film’s pace.

Where it somewhat falls apart is after the dust has cleared, and we’re left with some aftermath of what happens to some of these characters. Because we never were able to become invested in them as people, it’s hard to wrap your heart around the concluding scenes, except in the way you would reading a tragic news story. The point of Krakauer’s story was to bring you into these peoples’ conditions and strife through the expedition, so that when you read what happens to them, your heart breaks into a million pieces. Sure, they’re paying a lot of money and are wealthy people; but their aim is true and their ambition is genuine. No one deserves to die just because they want to challenge it. That’s part of the adventure and the allure of climbing Everest. When you arrive at base camp, you’re already about halfway up the mountain. It’s deceptive. It’s mild, there’s no snow, you can wear shorts. Once you make it to Camp One, it’s game on.

The film does bring you onto that mountain, but you still feel like you’re watching something rather than living it, something “Into Thin Air” did brilliantly.The film ultimately treats its characters like throwaways, and that’s a shame. Especially in the case of Beck, who had an incredible story of his own. And not only that, the cast has so much depth you wonder how they put the budget together to get all of these people to play such condensed characters. Keira Knightley (who has the closest performance to something Oscar worthy) as Rob’s wife, helplessly far, far from the mountain, back home. Robin Wright plays Beck’s wife. Sam Worthington plays Guy Cotter, another climber, and sympathetic character. Emily Watson plays Helen Wilton, a dispatcher at base camp. It’s a beautiful cast, and all of them do their best with their meager roles. But ultimately, the mountain wins out, and maybe it has to. Maybe it’s impossible to get that much depth from a 2 hour film. And a mini series may drag out the story too long. In the end, it’s a flawed film, but it is a well done film. It is shot wonderfully, and most of the pace of the film is fine, by director Baltasar Kormakur. It’s just a shame that the narrative gets lost in the storm as well, because it is one amazing story of survival and heartache. I’d recommend seeing this film–but as a companion, I recommend reading “Into Thin Air” even more.

My rating::-)

Men In Black 3

May 30, 2012 by  
Filed under Movies

I have a continuing dilemma whenever I see that there will be a new MiB movie released. On the one hand, I have a lot of anticipation that it will be better than the last one that came out; and inevitably, when I see it, I’m always underwhelmed and disappointed that it wasn’t even as good as the last one that came out. Such is the case again with “Men in Black 3”, a movie with just enough ambition to make a smile-worthy film,but tries nothing new to re-invent itself or push its own limits. It goes through the motions and hopes we are pleased. This may work for some people who just want to get out of the house for a few hours and sit in a cool theatre on a hot day (as I call them, “get away” movies); but for me, at least with this franchise, I’m always wanting more. The jokes are predictable, the climax and resolution always seem to leave meempty–and in this case, kind of sour.

This film begins with a bad guy named Boris “The Animal” (though it’s just “Boris” to you) who is locked up on the moon afterbeing captured by Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones). Hesubsequently breaks out and goesback to earth with the intentto travel back in time,kill Agent K, and start an invasionwith his cronies, an alien race known as the Boglodites. Agent K’s original capture of The Animal 40 years ago is legendary because he also installed what’s called the ArcNet, a protective shield that won’t allow the Boglodites into the earth’s atmosphere.

Agent K and J discover Boris’s time travel plot when they are checking out routine alien criminal activity, and when K disappears, J also finds himself in a rip in time that makes him crave chocolate milk, and he soon learns that he’s in an alternate present in which K was killed 40 years ago by Boris. J then has to go back in time to save Agent K to the 60’s.

I’m going to stop here and reveal that I’m instantly on edge whenever time travel is introduced to a plot as a device. It’s so incredibly contrived and overused and because there are so many possibilities and flaws, it winds up being ludicrous and unconvincing. It also usually leads to many, many plot holes. When I was reading about the production of this film, Will Smith had said they had tried everything to make sure that the film’s time travel rules were followed as best as they could. At the same time, the film’s director, Barry Sonnenfeld, admitted they did not have a definitive act 2 or 3 when production began. Well, it certainly showed.

J has to convince K about this plotof Boris (played by Flight of the Conchords’ Jemaine Clement) goingback in time,stopping K’s original arrest of Borisby killing K, and also killingan alien named Griffin whose race created the ArcNet (Arcadian is the name of Griffin’s race, and Net is pretty easy to figure out) and gave it to K to begin with. Griffin (played by Michael Stuhlbarg) is kind oflike a cross between Tobey Maguire, Elijah Wood, and Robin Williams. He has one of themore memorable scenes whenthe three of them arein the infamous The Factory(although the Andy Warhol joke is a bit weak, I thought), when hegoes on and on about possible futures, confounding Agent J.

The best scenes in the film involve Agent J (always charismatically played by Will Smith) and the young Agent K (well imitated Jones by Josh Brolin–he has a knack for imitation). We finally seea softer side of Agent K, and find out he did at one point have a love interest, Agent O (played in the present tense by Emma Thompson). That plot is never really explored but it’s probably for the best as it would’ve been far too complicated to sort out in an alien comic action adventure movie.

As relieved as I was that it didn’t become a love story, I was also left unmoved by the main story involving the plot to save Agent K. I’ve enjoyed the two characters through their movies, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say I really cared about them. And usually by the time the new movie comes out, the old one has evaporated from my mind. These are not inherently memorable films. While the chemistry is fine, and it’s fun to see some of the antics the MiB go through to catch the bad guys (bowling with an alien’s head, for example), it never really leads to anything that memorable. I also found the villain Boris to be a bit staleat best;and at worst, kind of irritating. You never really get a good read on what kind of personality he has. He’ll toss out a one-liner here or there that makes you think he’s hip; but then he’s stone faced or upset about being called “The Animal”. I also thought that the lack of “place” in the 60’s was a missed opportunity. I get that they can’t go “Austin Powers” on everybody, but what were aliens like 40 years ago compared to now? There could’ve been many possibilities for humor and even some adventure. There’s one flat joke about how the Neuralizer has evolved but that’s pretty much it.

Where the film ultimately fails, though,is the ending (how could you guess?). There’s a twist whichI won’t give away–I will just say that it has its heart in the right place, butunfortunately doesn’t have its logic in the right place. Up until that point the film was digestible. Nothing great, but nothing bad. But the twist, with all of its intentions, just falls flat. And you don’t even have to think that hard about it. Almost immediately you will think, “Are they just throwing this in here for the sake of it?”

Sometimes I wish someone would just tell a screenwriter, “Look you don’t have to just throw a twist in there okay?” Just resolve the movie and move on. Sure, the film would still be less than a masterpiece. But it at least would be closer to that than an out of focus Polaroid, which is what “Men in Black 3” ultimately is.

My rating::?

The Goonies – 25 Years Later

June 7, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog, Entertainment

Yeintruders bewarecrushing death and griefsoaked with bloodof the trespassing thief.

How many times have you said this, in that totally awesome Fakey British Accent just like Corey Feldman as Mouth in The Goonies? If you grew up between the years 1985-1990, you know these words by heart. You probably know half the movie, if not all of it, by heart. It was a defining kids movie of the mid 80s that still lives on as one of my favorites of all time.

What sets it apart for me as a great film compared to a lot of other kid gang adventure movies is that this one has a lot of heart; and not only doesnt spend its running time showing off kids talking in their lingo and being against their parents but the whole plot revolves around a group of foul-mouthed kids who want nothing more than to help their parents. They want to save the Goon Docks, a little neighborhood tucked away in the rainy, gray skies of coastal Astoria, Oregon.

My friends and I wanted to be The Goonies. Of course, we didnt have to save our neighborhood. None of us had a Spanish speaking cleaning lady who had to beware of cockroaches and live without food or water if she didnt comply with orders. Also, none of us, unfortunately, lived near a legendary pirate ship carrying thousands of rich stuff.

the-goonies
This was the kind of adventure every boy dreams of, hopefully before they get to 16. In the wide-eyed days of 1985, when we were younger, it was still possible to dream that something like this could happen. This movie was incredibly fun, even with the lame typical mafia-is-after-us subplot. I mean, I guess kids movies always have to have a bumbling group of darkly dressed burglars or whatever chasing them. At least this one had a young Joey Pants, and the fight over Pepperoni Pizza was funny. And of course, no one can forget Ma Fratelli who utters the famous line, Kids suck. But still, I dont think theres a kids story out there like this one that doesnt involve some bumbling mafia guys or some lame government plot that only kids can bust wide open.

I like that the Fratellis never steal the spotlight from the Goonies themselves. Their story is even amusing sometimes, and endearing because of Mas deformed progeny, named Sloth. Plus, the Fratellis are actually dangerous, unlike most other bumbling villains in kids movies. Were introduced to them breaking out of a prison and murdering someone, stuffing the corpse in a freezer at a seasonal restaurant thats closed. Well, thats not totally true–the restaurant is somewhat open. But all they serve is pinkish colored water and tongue.

The Goonies realize that whats important about the restaurant is that underneath is a cave that does, indeed, lead to the pirates treasure. The infamous One-Eyed Willie. But along the way, Sloth joins the group, the Fratellis follow them through the tunnels and the booty traps (thats Booby traps!), and of course theres a climax where theyre all on the pirate ship itself.

HEY YOU GUYS!!!!

HEY YOU GUYS!!!!

I was first introduced to this movie through a family friend who was talking to my twin sister about it when we were visiting them down in Slidell, Louisiana. She told us about this movie about a pirate and a bunch of kids, and the pirate was named One-Eyed Willie and he had a patch over his eye. It sounded scary to me, and I didnt really hear much more about it after that. That was because at the time my family and I were living in one of the most remote towns in the countryLyons Falls in Upstate New York. I was surprised that in my second grade class, the student body was invited to a screening of The Karate Kid. But nothing about The Goonies.

It wasnt until 1986, a year after it being released, that I finally got to see the movie. Living in Atlanta, Georgia, and surrounded by neighbors who all had kids me and my sisters age whom had all seen the movie, it was only a matter of time before I finally got to myself. My next door neighbor, whose hobbies including setting fire to things and copying movies he rented onto blank VHS tapes, let me borrow a copy of it. I was hooked from the first viewing. I identified with its main protagonist, Mikey, and some of my friends around the neighborhood resembled the kids in the movie. I wasnt nearly as brave or cunning as Mikey, and I didnt have asthma or braces; but I had a bowl hair cut and I was about his height, I think. I liked quoting Mikey.

Down here its our time its our time down here.

My friends and I had little adventures of our own. There was an abandoned barn down at the end of a street in our neighborhood that was spooky and old. Naturally, we explored it. There was also a field and a forest behind it. I always wanted to imagine what was beyondI found out later that it was a Seven Eleven. But at age 8, thats still pretty cool.

Pizza...? Shhh! Pepperoni...? Shhh!

Pizza…? Shhh! Pepperoni…? Shhh!

The movie shaped my childhood, along with other adventure movies like Explorers, The NeverEnding Story, The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, and The Goonies famous rip-off, The Monster Squad. Throughout my teenage years I didnt watch it much. I was over all of that, and I had to give it a break. I think I had watched it 20-30 times during the years of 86 and 91.

But probably about 8 years ago, around the time when it started to be cool to think back on the 80s (VH1 really went to town with all of thatthey sure Loved the 80s), I really missed this movie. I still had a clamshell VHS tape (those always made me feel weird, because it just seemed baby proofed or something) and I popped it in and watched it. It really made me ache for my childhood again. I couldnt watch it for years after that.

For whatever reason, The Goonies is still a little painful for me because its such a reminder of a wonderful time in my life thats long over. Sounds strange, but its like revisiting the grave of my youth. I dont know if kids nowadays are introduced to The Goonies, but even if they are, its not the same. The Goonies came out in the middle of the 80s, when it started to define itself as a decade and date itself. There are elements of the movie that are incredibly dated. The clothing (Mouths Members Only jacket), Stefs insanely large glasses, Chunks Hawaiian shirt and plaid pants (when was that ever popular?) and of coursethe music. Some of the songs they listen to are just brutally 80s teen rock ditties Im sure were sellers back in 85. But now, they just sound bad. Fun bad, but bad.

This past weekend marked the 25th Anniversary of The Goonies. AMC was showing it throughout the weekend. Twenty-five years. Its pretty hard to think about that. When I was growing up I still remember thinking the 25th Anniversary of Psycho meant its old. Now The Goonies is in that class. Its old. Its a by-gone era. The Silver Anniversary. Its just not fair. It should never be considered an old movie–but it is. I just listed reasons why, too. But I dont want to accept it! I dont want to accept that Im old!

OK, I had to get that out of the way.

The DVD release, while not providing a true widescreen presentation (ahem), was a real treat. The commentary track featuring the cast and director was so nice to watch along with revisiting the movie. It was like catching up with old friends. OK yeah, we werent really friends. But I made so many connections with these characters, thats what they felt like. And apparently, these kids formed friendships on the set as well, so it was a real reunion for them as well. It was cute to see, and its a cute movie.

Everything from Datas Pinches of Power to his father telling him in his native Chinese You are my greatest invention; Chunk getting his favorite pizza (Dominos?!?) from his mom and telling Sloth that he loves him; Mouth and Stef sharing a moment; and, the hottie cheerleader Andy telling Mikey hes a good kisser.

Ah, the Truffle Shuffle!

Ah, the Truffle Shuffle!

With more viewings of the movie, more things just become so darn cute about it. Datas rant when he falls down the stairs is really hilarious. Mouths Im taking them all back soliloquy moves me. And I just think its funny that Jake Fratelli makes up a story (presumably?) about going to the Bronx Zoo; and then tells Sloth a story (most definitely true) that they spent money meant to fix his broken teeth on brother Francis toupee. There are a lot of little things that just come out of nowhere that add to how great this movie is.

Sure, theres vulgarity that caused some tidal waves from parent groups back when it came out; but even Ebert said these kids sounded like real kids. Of course that meant to him that he couldnt follow what they were talking about. But we, of course, followed it perfectly. Even when they contracted themselves. Contracontradicted themselves. We just didnt want to dictateor delude ourselves.

Happy Twenty-Fifth, The Goonies. Youre still good enough.

W.

October 21, 2008 by  
Filed under Movies

Ah, the movie event of the year! Well, sort ofOliver Stone was originally going to do a film about the My Lai massacre, and it got scrapped. So, what is a 60+ year old conspiracy theorist director to do?

Why, make a movie about the current president of the United States, of course! And when you see Oliver Stone attached to something about a Republican president, all the right can do is roll their eyes, and the left licks their chops.

But, hold on a moment. Before jumping to a conclusion, lets give Stone a chance. I mean, he had said before the movie was released that this was going to be more like The Queen; in that, Bush would be looked at from a personal standpoint, and not just the character assassination that Nixon got. Did he pull it off?

First, he cant get over how much success his dad has had, and how much his dad admires his brother, Jeb. Second, hes a booze hound who is more interested in partying and getting drunk than doing anything with his life. He is the essence of a spoiled brat. And his father resents that because he believes that the Bush name is about working hard for everything, and not being entitled to everything. What do you think you are, a Kennedy? he asks junior.

But, George has a change of lifestyle when he meets Laura Welch, played wonderfully by Elizabeth Banks, and eventually gives up drinking and takes up politics. Laura is great. She, too, was a drinker and a smokerand a Democrat! Very open minded, she becomes a great supporter of her man, and is represented as a loving, fair minded individual, and very strong willed.

As George gets deeper into politics, he helps his fathers campaigns in 88 and 92, and decides to run for Governor of Texas in 93. To everyones surprise, he wins, and becomes Governor in 94. From then on, Bush enjoys some successes, and eventually of course wins (steals?) the 2000 Presidential election.

Whats interesting is that the movie does jump around a little in Bushs life. We do see him in office in the early part of the film, and we get to see him with his conniving advisers, including Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld. The performances of all three of these guys are very goodwith Dreyfuss being absolutely dead on as Cheney. Hes got the smug little smirk down perfect.

In fact, most everyones performances were very believablethe only one I disliked was Condy Rice. I dont know if they were going for comic effect or just trying to make her as annoying as possible, but Ive heard her speakshes not THIS bad. Distracted from the movie, and is the one pock mark on an otherwise pretty strong effort. Brolin shines as W., and deserves Oscar recognition.

The story itself revolves around Bushs inability to really analyze anything and that does come back to haunt him in the Iraq invasion, and the film ends on the note that the Iraq war starts going downhill, and his popularity starts to dwindle. Theres an interesting running theme of Bushs love of baseball being manifested in a recurring daydream he professes to his father in which hes in center field, catching a fly ball. Its his happy place, and he can always go there when things arent going well. For Bush, this happens often.

Stones take on Bush is a success, and deserves to be looked at fairly since his take on Bush is presented justly. You actually do kinda like W. by the end, and feel a bit sorry for him because he just cant seem to get things right. In so many things in his life, he never tries to really do the right thing. In the case of Iraq, he really believed he was doing the right thing, and believed the wrong people. Hell most likely go down in history as the worst president in our history.

But at least well have this film to look at and say: but he wasnt THAT bad of a guy

My rating: :smile: