The Stoning of a president

How accurate is Oliver Stone’s new movie about George W. Bush?  Why not ask someone who grew up with the man? The Washington Times recently had a few words with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush regarding his views on the biopic (which opens today)… and not surprisingly, little bro’ is not impressed.

Oliver Stone has proclaimed that his new feature film “W.” aims to be an “empathetic” psychological portrait of President Bush.

The president’s younger brother has a different impression.

At the heart of “W.,” opening nationally in theaters Friday, is a psychological portrait of George W. Bush as living perpetually in the shadow of his father, former President George H.W. Bush, and driven to invade Iraq at least in part by a desire to prove he is as tough as the elder statesman.

The Oedipal rivalry is high-grade, unadulterated hooey,” former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush told The Washington Times.

Well, you know what they say: One man’s art is another man’s unadulterated hooey.

The WT continues:

Exploring such a complicated family dynamic might have benefited from direct conversations with, say, the president’s younger brother who, in the telling of Mr. Stone and his “W.” screenwriter, Stanley Weiser, was regarded by his parents as the more promising sibling.

I didn’t receive a call,” Jeb Bush said.

Hmmmmm… I’m sure Ollie just lost the guy’s number.

So if Stone didn’t talk to Jeb or anyone close to George Bush in the making of this film, where exactly did he get his information?

The collaborators, who did not return calls seeking comment from The Times to the agency that is spearheading publicity for the film in the Washington, D.C., area, appear to have relied heavily on secondary sources such as Bob Woodward’s “State of Denial” and Stephen Mansfield’s “The Faith of George W. Bush.”

Mr. Weiser told Reuters news agency earlier this year that he read 17 books about the president while researching the film.

17 BOOKS, folks!  Now THAT’S research.  Who needs first-hand sources when you’ve got Woodward and Mansfield?  Who needs that tedious process of picking up the phone and calling a few people who actually KNEW and TALKED to George Bush on a daily freakin’ basis when everything you could ever want is in the bargain bin at the Barnes and Noble?

For those who are planning on seeing this movie, I would not only advise watching it with a grain of salt, I would suggest bringing the whole damn container — the one with the little girl holding the umbrella. Because however well crafted this movie may be (and Stone is talented in that area) it is likely to have little bearing on reality. Oliver Stone tends to give us Oliver Stone’s version of the story.

We’re talking about the same directer, after all, who’s botching of the Jim Morrison story led former Doors keyboardist Ray Manzerek to later say “The guy I knew was not on that screen.” The other remaining band-members were none too happy either — and this after Ray and the boys had provided extensive consultation to Stone throughout the making of the film.

So if it’s an honest intimate portrayal of the man called George W. Bush you are seeking, this pile of cinematic horsesqueeze called ‘W’ ain’t gonna give it to you. You’ll have to look elsewhere if you want to separate the myth from the man.

Try calling Jeb for starters — he’d be happy to talk to you.


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