I saw the movie W. last night. It was sorta funny in parts. The people in the theater certainly guffawed. But I hated it.
It made me feel filthy. I laughed at some points. Josh Brolin did a magnificent job: he evoked George W. Bush without engaging in caricature. The acting was generally very good, in fact. Whoever it was who played Condoleeza Rice is the exception: she was an unbelievable farce and it was hard to watch her.
But the acting wasn't the problem. It was the movie itself: the writing, the directing, the whole awful conception.
I don't know when I became such a stick-in-the-mud killjoy, but I found the campy, farcical tone of the movie offensive. Understand, it takes a lot to offend me. And I certainly have no sentimental feelings about George W. Bush. But I was offended as hell.
When I think about the American soldiers who've died in Iraq, the people left to rot on their rooftops and in the Superdome after Katrina, I don't find the George W. Bush oedipal psychodrama funny. When I ponder the fact that my government tortures people, that it routinely eavesdrops on its on citizens' phone calls and internet communications without a warrant or the faintest whiff of probable cause, I don't feel like laughing.
I recognize that there's a time for laughing at tragedy. I understand that there's room for broad comedy in the face of tragedy. But this was all wrong. I don't even know exactly why. I have a black sense of humor. I love me some South Park and Monty Python and The Kids In the Hall. But the pitch of W. is just off. It's not serious enough to be a serious critique, like Oliver Stone's Nixon and it's not broad enough to be a total farce like Little Bush.
It was just...uncomfortable. And off. And wrong. I laughed at moments-and I was ashamed I had.
Maybe the movie does a service. It puts the deadly seriousness of the catastrophe that Bush has been in clear relief. I knew I was angry before I saw that movie. I knew I was indignant. I knew I was determined not to abet those that would repeat Bush's mistakes.
I guess I didn't know that I was also very, very sad.
And I am.
I have a great deal of hope for the next administration, but goddamn...what have we done?