Oliver Stone's George W. Bush biopic, W, is at times more like a Saturday Night Live skit than history, according to some Bush biographers who reviewed the script on behalf of the Hollywood Reporter. "It leaves with the impression that the White House is run as fraternity house with no reverence for hierarchy, the office itself or for the implications of policy," one said. What left that impression? Was it the part where Bush and his buddies locked Colin Powell out of a room as prank, or when Bush rearranges his presidential schedule based on what's on ESPN, or the scene where he practices a parachute landing in the White House pool?
It sounds like, not-so-shockingly, Stone may have succeeded in making Bush into something of a caricature. Yes, he gives people nicknames, but did he really call Colin Powell "Baloon Foot?"
Yes, the invasion of Iraq was cavalier and underplanned, but was it really discussed like a football game? Yes, Bush was an alcoholic, but did he really crash his plane under the influence of alcohol?
In many cases, the historians answer, "No, he did not." But Stone needs to make money at a time when political films are not doing well. That means controversy.
It looks like the most controversial scene might have nothing to do with Bush's wild side but with the idea that he can be reflective and regretful:
All four Bush biographers cast doubt on one scene in which a wave crashes on a rocky promontory as Bush reveals: "There's this darkness that follows me ..."
"He doesn't think or talk like that," Weisberg said. "The darkness sounds like they've been listening to too much Springsteen. It doesn't ring psychologically true to me."