A Quick Reaction to W.

This is my quick reaction to W:

1. The guy who played Colin Powell was the person who was good at crossword puzzles on Lady in the Water.

2. Condi always had a befuddled look on her face. Her lips were agreeing with Bush, but I wondered if her heart was saying something else.

3. I’m unclear about whether the Bush Administration knew Iraq didn’t have WMDs when it went to war. I think the movie was trying to say that they realized the evidence was not rock solid, but they still thought Iraq had them. In one scene, the person responsible for seeking the WMDs said he sent a memo to George Tenet saying Iraq didn’t have them, and the look on Tenet’s face was priceless. It was like, “News to me.”

4. I read in a biography of Bush that Bush knew the names of everyone in his frat house at his initiation. When I read that, I didn’t picture a bunch of shirtless initiates having hard liquor poured down their throats through a funnel. I guess that’s frat life!

5. I wished the movie got more into Bush’s Christianity. On the movie, he always led his cabinet in prayer after he made a decision, never before, as if Bush looked to God to rubber-stamp his choices. The movie also lacked a conversion scene. There was one good scene in which Bush had a heart-to-heart discussion with his pastor long after he had become a Christian. His pastor told him that being a Christian isn’t always an emotional high, that Christians are worn-out sinners, and that God has taken notice of Bush’s six month sobriety. He was saying good things! I think what the movie was trying to convey, however, was that Bush believed God was guiding him, giving him an inner sense of infallibility, which proved to be disastrous.

6. The movie depicts Bush I crying when he found out he lost to Clinton. I seriously doubt that happened! I wouldn’t be surprised if he expected to lose on election night–or at least viewed it as a strong possibility.

7. The movie depicts a lot of intense discussion within Bush’s cabinet, in which Bush actually participates. That contradicts the stereotypes I always heard about the Bush Administration: that Bush’s advisers were too intimidated to speak their minds, or that Bush was a dunce who let Cheney run the show. On the first stereotype, Powell boldly spoke against the war with a lot of foresight, saying, “If you break it, you’ll have to buy it.” I doubt he had that much insight at the time, especially since the movie also portrays him as supporting the war, only advocating a more cautious approach (as opposed to what Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Rove, and Bush wanted). And, regarding the second stereotype, Bush made clear to everyone that he was the man in charge.

8. In the scene in which George W. wins the governorship of Texas, his father gives him cuff links, which he called the only thing that his father (Prescott) gave to him. Roger Ebert referred to this as a generation-to-generation Oedipus complex. Much of the movie is about George W.’s attempt to please his father, who shows favoritism to his brother Jeb and expects him to be President.

9. Why did we go to war? On the movie, Bush sincerely believes that we need to spread peace and democracy throughout the Middle East. But Cheney gives a speech to the cabinet saying that we want Iraq and Iran’s oil supplies, then no one will “f” with us. Cheney even used the word “empire.”

10. The lady who played Laura Bush was hot. The movie didn’t have a “Jack Daniels or me” scene, however.

11. Bush passed out while watching a football game. What was that all about?

12. The movie wasn’t as emotionally gut-wrenching or deep as other Oliver Stone movies: JFK, Nixon, Born on the Fourth of July. That was disappointing. There wasn’t even a dramatic soundtrack!

13. Bush had a quiet place where he could think: a baseball field. I can appreciate that, since I like to think at a nearby park. The baseball field is at the beginning and end of the movie. In both scenes, he’s the only one in the field, and no one’s in the bleechers. In the final one, he’s about to catch a fly ball, and it disappears. Is the point here that the Bush Administration is a big fat disappointment?

14. There’s one scene where Bush is doing his “mission accomplished,” and it looks like we’ve won the war. This surprises Bush’s father, George H.W., who told Brent Scowcroft to write an op-ed piece against the idea (according to the movie). Powell says to a celebrating Cheney, “I thought you said we shouldn’t overthrow Saddam” (which we see in a flashback about the first Gulf War). Cheney replied, “I thought you said you were going to be President.” Powell responded, “F-you.”

15. Bush looks well-meaning. He offers a soldier without a leg an “Operation Iraqi Freedom” T-shirt! Goody! But the touching part was when that soldier said he wished he could stand and salute his President. And Bush responded that he’s the one who stands for him (the soldier).

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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