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Nolan's Pop Culture Review 2008!
   Assistant Editor / Co-Moderator:  Terence Nuzum.                                                   HOME      ARCHIVES
Established A.D. 2000, March 19. Now in our ninth calendar year!
Number 447  (Vol. 9, No. 42). This edition is for the week of October 13--19, 2008.

The Yellow Submarine Chronicles Part Six: There’s Only One Way to Go Out
The Last Debate .... Palin And Biden .... Pain In My Glute .... Red Sox/rays h
October Classic .... Passing On .... Movie Notes .... Nice Try, Tubby .... Take That Homeland Security .... Not Just A Clever Title .... .... .... And The Oscar For 1973 Should Have Gone To... c

Edie Adams dead at 81

Mike Smith's official PCR review of the new Oliver Stone film, W, is posted and is recommended reading to get story details before you go further. I saw the film at a sneak preview Tuesday of this week accompanied by Lisa Ciurro, and, while I don't intend to compete with Mike's astute observations of the film, I do have a few comments of my own regarding this remarkable movie.

Since the "plot" of the film is based on documented real-life events, there are really no spoilers, but in 100 words or less, would go a little something like this:
The ne'er-do-well son of a rich political family bumbles and fumbles his way through a life of frat-partying and short-term jobs until, at mid-life, he is seized by the inspiration to go into politics, to the disbelief of his family and friends. Despite a dysfunctional relationship with his father, but with a ruthless ambition and an urgent need to prove himself, he succeeds in becoming governor of Texas and, eventually, president of the United States. However, the inescapable feeling that he never quite made daddy proud continues to haunt him.

First of all, if Josh Brolin does not get some sort of Oscar nod for his portrayal of George W. Bush, it'll be a crime. Brolin channels and inhabits the character completely. His vocal impression of Bush is virtually indistinguishable from the real thing! Close your eyes and you're listening to Dubya. At a passing glance, he certainly looks the part as well. Body language, stride, everything, spot on.

In fact, nearly all the characterizations in the movie are eerily close to the real thing. The make-up effects (Hollywood legend Matt Mungle among the contributors) are outstanding. Besides Brolin's Bush, Richard Dreyfuss' Dick Cheney, Elizabeth Banks' Laura Bush, and Jeffrey Wright's Gen. Colin Powell are particularly instantly recognizable.

What Stone gets right he gets really right, but I say "nearly all" because, strangely, there are some inconsistencies that raise even my liberal eyebrows, most notably, in the characters of Condoleeza Rice, Karl Rove, and George Herbert Walker Bush.

Condoleeza Rice (the talented Thandie Newton) is such a cartoon character here as to cause audience laughter whenever she spoke. Her bleating, nasally, whiny tone came off more as an SNL skit parody than the real thing could ever be (I agree with Mike Smith here). Despite past talk of Rice's possibility as a presidential candidate, I've always observed her more as a follower, not a leader. Director Stone must agree, because in W, she is, at best, not much more than Bush's personal secretary, at worst, a groveling toady!

Similarly with Karl Rove (Toby Jones), Bush's personal advisor. Despite the controversy, I recall his real-life persona as a little more imposing than the almost muppet-ish character appearing in the film.

The case of the amazing James Cromwell as George Herbert Walker Bush is an interesting one. An Academy Award-nominee, there was never any doubt he could tackle the part, but is the only cast member where no special prosthetics, make-up or wigs were employed to even try and make him look like anyone other than James Cromwell. Same with vocal affectations -- none. OK, I wasn't expecting a reprise of Dana Carvey's hilarious Bush Sr. impression necessarily, but something. However, that said, it is James Cromwell, of course, and his performance is solid enough to make you forget he doesn't look or sound anything like G.H.W. Bush!

Other notable performances include Stacy Keach as Dubya's religious mentor from A. A. meetings, and Ellen Burstyn as the feisty Barbara Bush.

Among Dubya's passions is baseball, and there are numerous baseball analogies used throughout the movie, mostly in dream sequences. One used near the end seems to signify that, after all the dust has settled, George W. Bush may not ever be quite sure he ever hit the grand slam.

I've been asked if I'd consider this to be a "Bush-bashing" movie. I'd have to say yes and no. For someone anti-Bush (like myself), it doesn't bash, it merely depicts his warts-and-all life. For someone pro-Bush, "bashing" likely wouldn't be strong enough a word.

A Message Board thread has been started on this topic

Edie Adams Dead At 81
Tony Award-winning actress, singer, comedienne Edie Adams, wife of the late TV pioneer Ernie Kovacs, has died from complications of cancer and pneumonia at the age of 81. Look for this week's Mike's Rant update for more on this historical lady.

A Message Board thread has been started on this topic

Readers' Comments

The Readers' Comments section for this issue of PCR is now closed. To continue to interact, please use the Message Board or write a Letter to the Editor! The comments below are listed starting with he most recent. Thank you.

Crazed FanComments -- We Welcome Reader Feedback on any article(s) on this page.
Steve Beasley [20-10-2008 01:14] 
Mike Smith says:
The American Heart Association has declared that the musical beat of the Bee Gee's "Staying Alive" is the perfect rhythm to use when doing CPR.

Hey Mike, I heard that, "Another One Bites the Dust", was equally perfect for the same reason, but...for obvious reasons, they felt the better choice was the Bee Gees tune.
Paul Guzzo [19-10-2008 21:30] 
Good job with the film man ... that was a HUGE and AMBITIOUS project. I am not a movie reviewer nor do I wanna be, so won't even try. But as a filmmaker, I can say that it was impressive. Again, very ambitious.
Mark [19-10-2008 17:40] 
Nolan sorry you coudlnt make it out. It was nice to see Paul and meet Lisa.
Paul "A Really Cool Guy" Guzzo [18-10-2008 05:58] 
Not good enough ... I suggest you talk to an albino and learn how to lash yourself!
Nolan [17-10-2008 14:02] 
I shall erect a statue, made of bronze, commemorating the moment I typed "winner" instead of "nominee". As a personal atonement, I invite you and your friends to come over and pee on said statue. Least I can do.
Legendary Tampa Chef Puff Chrissy [17-10-2008 11:50] 
Not soon enough, I'm afraid. I must have told over a dozen people about James Cromwell's Academy Award win last night. I even wrote a poem about it on my blog! You've made a fool out of me!
Nolan [17-10-2008 11:11] 
HAhahaha! Hey, I posted the correction as soon as I could, OK!
Tampa Master Thespian Puff Chrissy [17-10-2008 08:01] 
We trusted you, Nolan. And you pissed all over our trust with this gross inaccuracy. What else have you lied to us about? Will we ever be able to trust you again?
Nolan [17-10-2008 04:17] 
Thanks to eagle-eyed PCR columnist Mike Smith who noted to me in a personal email that in my review of "W", I referred to actor James Cromwell as an Academy Award-winner. Mike reminded me that Cromwell never actually won the golden statuette, and I should've said "Academy Award-nominee". I regret the error and my review has been edited to note this fact correctly.
"The Professional" Paul Guzzo [16-10-2008 19:58] 
I understand W is a great showcase of the Bush administration.
Chris Woods [16-10-2008 16:21] 
Nolan and Mike - I enjoyed your reviews for "W". I'll have to check out the film. I watched some of the trailers on line and the film looks very interesting.
Tampa Dancing Sensation Puff Chrissy [16-10-2008 09:39] 
Terence [16-10-2008 08:45] 
[31-12-1969 16:00] 
End of Comments    

"Mike's Rant" is ©2008 by Michael A. Smith    "Matt's Rail" is ©2008 by Matthew Drinnenberg    "La Floridiana" is ©2008 by William Moriaty     "This Week's Movie Review" is ©2008 by Michael A. Smith    "FANGRRL" is ©2008 by Lisa Ciurro    "Retrorama" is ©2008 by ED Tucker    "Sports Talk" is ©2008 by Chris Munger    "DRAGOON" is ©2008 by Terence Nuzum and John Miller      All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2008 by Nolan B. Canova    
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