Normally, historians wait for a generation or so to determine a statesman’s place in history, and biographers wait at least until the end of their term to tell the story. Oliver Stone, being neither historian nor biographer, will rush a George Bush movie to the theaters before the end of this year. ABC has an advance look at the script, and it seems about as fair and balanced as his look at Richard Nixon:
The movie, which starts filming this month with “No Country for Old Men” actor Josh Brolin playing Bush, paints a humanistic portrait of the president along with plenty of embarrassing anecdotes from his life story, judging by a copy of an early screenplay obtained by ABCNEWS.com.
The film’s script captures purported notorious moments in Bush’s life:
- Rumors that his father pulled strings to get him into Harvard Business School.
- His arrest during college for tearing down the goalposts at a football game.
- Almost getting into a fistfight with his father when he comes home drunk one night in the 1970s.
- His vow to quit drinking when he wakes up with a wicked hangover soon after his 40th birthday.
Reading through the rest of the “spoilers” in the report is tiresome business. Stone has essentially trolled through sensationalist reporting on the Bush family and strung together a sequence of alleged events. He hopes to build a narrative for W, the current title of the film, in a Kitty Kelley manner. It sounds very much like his Nixon, which got roundly denounced by everyone who ever knew Nixon, including sharp denials from his family on most of the supposed events depicted.
It might worry the Bushes, except for the non-entity Stone has become. He did an excellent job on World Trade Center, eschewing his normal self-centered directorial style for a much more straightforward and affecting approach in telling the true story of two 9/11 survivors and the people who rescued them. Everything else he’s done since JFK has descended into paranoia and unintentional self-parody. Any Given Sunday, his opus on the NFL, was incomprehensible and ridiculous, wasting Al Pacino, Dennis Quaid, and a normally brilliant cast on a retelling of every sports cliche this side of North Dallas Forty.
And don’t even get me started on Alexander … (h/t: HA reader Newton)
Now he wants to rush a biopic to market, just like every other direct-to-video or Lifetime Channel director. The description provided by ABC puts W squarely in line for a WB Movie of the Week slot by the time the next President gets inaugurated into office. I’ll take a non-Sunday pass.