Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Charlie Wilson's War -- yes!

I've got to believe Charlie Wilson was getting laid in Afghanistan, too.

There had to be a tangible pay off at the other end of those long flights from D.C. Just like there was on the American stretch of tarmac.

It's a good yarn, Charlie Wilson's War, and I enjoyed both the movie and the book. In fact, I know several women in Washington and in Austin who were disappointed they were not Chapter Three. Or Four.

When we went to the movie in mid-afternoon, I was tickled to see a tour bus of retired lobbyists sheepishly enter the theater hoping no one would recognize them.

Disclosure: I sort of remember drinking with Charlie and having dinner in D.C. but that's as far as I'm going. Like many, I loved his staff. Charlie's Angels, one of the more active oxymorons. However, his long-time administrative assistant was a male, Charles Schnabel, another Texas character.

I liked the movie so much that I will likely see it again. A comedy about war. Good laughs. Dead-on insight to the way his congressional office worked. Sharp dialogue, as you would expect from Mike Nichols. Oddly, the movie is old-fashioned in its feel.

But there are troubles. For one thing, Tom Hanks has a tough time smirking. He's more like Jimmy Stewart than Charlie Wilson. On the other side of the bed, Julia Roberts is more Pretty Woman than Baptist Bible-thumper. But Phillip Seymour Hoffman is the right guy for the CIA role. And some.

Those are the cosmetic blemishes. Not deal killers. Hell, the film has already grossed more than $50 million and may reach $100 mil.

I am bothered by the Afghanistan that the U.S. left behind. And the movie only hints at the terror to come. Godless communists or the Taliban? Tough choice. Either way, the American government screwed what could have been, should have been a shining moment in the Cold War. For a bit of balance, you might be interested in what Chalmers Johnson has to say about the movie and the aftermath. But most of the reviews have been great.

I'm glad they made a movie about Charlie Wilson. He has always been larger than life. The things he got away with!!! Tom Hanks said he had to tone down his movie characterization of Charlie because nobody would believe the real thing.

I don't begrudge Charlie getting Pakistan as a fat lobby client after he stepped down. And I hope he gets to spend the money before he croaks. He is recovering from a recent heart transplant.

But I wish to hell we had done the Mid-East better.


Anonymous said...

Well, Bush is trying like hell to fix the mid-east now, track down terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq to prevent fighting them here and all he ever gets is constant bitching from the leftists. He certainly has made mistakes, but is determined to stay the course and even alter it when necessary. The media has gone very silent about what is happening over there. Does anyone think that perhaps the latest strategy is working?

The South Plainsman said...

Agree completely with the movies. Having known Charlie and watched him in action, I can say that the movie sure left out a lot of things. Tom Hanks was good, but he's no Charlie, and I agree that "Pretty Woman" was miscast. The CIA agent ought to get an Academy Award, but the movie is probably not left wing enough. I don't see many movies, but I do highly recommend this one. Too bad there was not enough time to tell the whole story.

As for the aftermath, I will avoid getting into that too much. Many mistakes were made by many people in four different administrations. The important thing is that one learn from one's mistakes. George Bush apparently has finally done that. None of the others ever did.

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