Head of Stone
January 22, 2008
An Oliver Stone movie about King George II ranks high on my list of Movies Nobody Really Needs to See, but other than that — who cares? It’d be one thing if Stone were going to adapt Kevin Philips’ muckraking books about the Bush Dynasty, but that’s clearly not going to be the case:
“I want a fair, true portrait of the man. How did Bush go from an alcoholic bum to the most powerful figure in the world? It’s like Frank Capra territory on one hand, but I’ll also cover the demons in his private life, his bouts with his dad and his conversion to Christianity, which explains a lot of where he is coming from. It includes his belief that God personally chose him to be president of the United States, and his coming into his own with the stunning, preemptive attack on Iraq.”
My first reaction to reading this was, “When did Bush stop being an alcoholic bum?” My second was faint nausea, made a little worse by the news that Stone wants to cast Josh Brolin, the star of No Country for Old Men, as Incurious George because he “has the same drive and charisma” as the Squatter-in-Chief.
Drive and charisma — we should all live so long. Personally, I’d cast Will Patton or William Sanderson in the lead. But really, is there any question of how this movie will turn out? Oliver Stone, the man who saw the hawkish John F. Kennedy as the savior who would have led us out of Vietnam, and who recast the brimstone-smoldering Richard Nixon as a decent man struggling to gain control over The Beast, is going to give us George W. Bush as a potential liberal undone by his fixation on his dad. Mark my words.
Not that any of it will matter. Stone’s JFK and Nixon movies are strictly curios that evoke horselaughs from anyone with even a cursory knowledge of the periods in question, and Stone’s Dubya movie will join them in the back racks of your local Blockbuster. I would just rather skip the caterwauling of the wingers, who are primed to howl like William Donohue at a Philip Pullman fan convention the moment Stone’s GWB hits the screens like a fistful of rotten fruit. Their preferred director would have been Cecil B. DeMille, the epic cheesemaker of The Ten Commandments, but you konw, they don’t make ’em like they used to anymore.