Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

More CHARLIE WILSON Analysis

UPDATE: Andrew (see thread below) is right: The movie is anti-communist, anti-Christian, and anti-Islam (anti-both the Biblical God and the God that failed), and somewhat conventionally opposes brains and guts to right-wing moralism. Real men and real women aren’t priggish when it comes to drink, sex, and so forth, and their morality comes from hating all threats to their liberty or the liberty of others. (Real men and real women are also somehow basically decent in spite of it all, and in their own way know how to treat women [or men] as they really want and deserve to be treated.) The true or lovable America doesn’t depend at all upon and in fact is mucked by Christian values. But the film does give right-wing Christian wackos credit for being on the right side on communism, if for the wrong reasons, and the Julia Roberts character (right-wing Christian rich lady who still sins [wink, wink] a lot) is the one who spurs Charlie to action. It’s a left libertarian movie that separates today’s [still pro-Israel] Hollywood elite from McGovernites and implicitly criticzes Bush I and Bush II for their incompetent lack of devotion to liberty properly understood. My verdict: The movie is pro-Hillary and even suggests what a Ms. Clinton foreign policy would be like. Yes, it’s still really good and you should see it.

Discussions - 18 Comments

Boy, Peter has let it all hang out here! I agree. Real Americans show how one can be manly and womanly without being Machiavellian. Of course, it's only romantic in the context of real Christianity. As for the movie, we're going this afternoon. Juno doesn't see to be playing in Spartanburg.

Perhaps a little ex post facto anti-communism, in the portrayal of the Soviets, is a small price to pay (from Hollywood's standpoint) for the larger goal of advancing, yet further, other Hollywood tropes. Whether the real Charlie Wilson is accurately shown or not, the fact that this rare movie containing anti-communism happens to be about such a ribald character is no accident. What is almost inconceivable is a movie about a (hypothetical) Charlie Wilson who was straight-laced, a good Christian, etc. Again, I would ask, as I asked in the previous thread:
Will ordinary viewers take from this movie what others (e.g., those who know about communism and the Soviet Union) take from it? I rather suspect that "Charlie Wilson's War" is another shot in the culture wars -- aimed firmly at us, and probably also at President Bush.

All three of us loved the movie, and I don't see the bugaboos David and others worry about. The book came to my attention when my very conservative in-laws were reading and praising it. They read it as a Tom Wolfe novel about manliness a la Peter's post. I commented afterwards that in portraying a manly congressman it really makes politics seem potentially a manly vocation again. The tawdry opening scene in Vegas to which all allude is really a low point from which a manly Charlie emerges. The script is intelligent and witty, the casting terrific, including Charlie's jailbait office staff. There is a reference to Charlie working with a Republican president, but the role of Bill Casey and the Gipper is mostly suppressed. I wonder if the book details more of this. According to my wife, The Houston conservative gal did likely have a dalliance with Charlie. There was a story about her in the Houston Chronicle the other day, the day in fact that we were there. It's a man's movie in a way, but there are great and manly (and beautiful) women everywhere. And both the liberal and conservative women come out equally appealing.

Thanks, Rob, for adding all that good stuff. A great Christmas to you, Christina, and Majorie...

Peter,
Did you mean the movie is really "good", or the movie is really "enjoyable"?
From your review I'll pick enjoyable.

I'm sure it is a good movie, but, as I alluded to in the other thread, why should anyone be surprised that the Democrat/liberal angle is highlighted while ignoring the Republicans/conservatives?

And, for me, that taints the movie to the point that I don't care if I see it or not.

It would be one thing if this was just an occasional occurance, but it happens over and over.

Dale, I think you have to give the writers and directors of historical and political films (I'm talking about a film based on reality, not a documentary) a break. A couple reasons for this: 1.) films need conflict to be good, which means somebody is going to draw the short straw (unfortunately, this is often the conservative character); and 2.) life isn't lived through cross cuts, montages and other filmic elements. How mundane would this film be if the writers simply used Congressional hearing transcripts and personal accounts from CIA agents and Wilson himself to write the script? Terrible. Anyway, like any good film, this is examining what type of American man Wilson was, and how his choices affected him. He happened to be a Democrat. Would this film had been different if he was a Republican? I think writer Aaron Sorkin would have seen it the same way.

Peter, and to you, Rita, and Catherine.

I never stated anyone should just rely on transcripts.

Nope, not giving anyone or any film a break, not at the arm and leg prices you pay at the theaters even without popcorn and drink.

It wasn't that long ago that the liberal line was that Reagan was responsible for 911 because his funding for the mujahidin.

And yet, the films seems to state, at least from the trailers, that it took a Democrat to truly get the U.S. involved over there, especialy in the CIA funding and covert acts.

Just returned from seeing the movie. Recommended. Coarse, even ribald, at times (especially the opening)....but it wasn't the Boy Scouts we were taking on in Afghanistan. My eldest daughter (who actually bought my ticket!) is a staffer for the senior Republican on the House Armed Services Committee. The "jail bait" comments about Wilson's staffers (wholly deserved, BTW) struck a little close to home.
The "gray" in the movie finally showed the good guys wearing white...acting manfully...and moving history in the right direction. So real people in the real world are a mixed bag: Let's go pour ourselves a drink. The dialogue was terrific.
Merry Christmas!

Gary, The jail bait does strike home because of the various revelations over the last decade or more. But notice that the movie Charlie, at least, never fooled around with members of his staff. And his top AA, in particular, was tough and brainy, in addition to being a knock-out. As Rob pointed out, the opening scene was the film's low point, and even there it's not clear Charley fooled around and he certainly treated the women from the hot tub w affection and respect. (He did fool around with the Julia Roberts character, but she knew how to take care of herself and called the shots [wink, wink].) All in all, the film recalls the good old days when men were men...and so feminists properly understood, appreciating every part of women, including their obvious superiorities.

Peter: All good "qualifiers." My daughter (who works for a "manly man" and a gentleman, by ALL accounts) reports that the predators/womanizers (congressmen and staffers) are well known and avoidable. A relief to a father...
A "chivalrous coarseness" coursed through the anti-communist veins of the movie Charlie. A more highly ordered disorder than the greedy coarseness that pulsed through the veins of the movie Gordon Gecko....around the same time ('80s).
Now on to the "resurrections" of Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman in "{The?} Bucket List". Can't wait for Pat Deneen's review....only in part so that we can read Julie's review of his!

Sorry to disappoint . . . but if I see any movies over the holidays at all it will be something like The Chipmunk Movie (sure to be a stinker, I think), Enchanted, or some other such . . . all of little interest here. I still say, however, that Ratatouille was one of the best movies of the year. And not just a kid movie. It's on DVD now and my nephew got it for Christmas. If I can get all the kids recuperated from our Christmas surprise of a hop-scotching flu virus, that's on the agenda for tonight.

Julie: You get the reprieve you asked for (if not the NLT mug!): "The Bucket List" doesn't come out until April. :-) The trailer for Ratatouille looked good....as did the one for "Juno", which *is* now showing.

Ratatouille is a wonderful movie; among its many virtues: Paris, the City of Lights, is a leading character; the malevolent food critic is brought back to his domestic (and maternal) roots and rediscovers his humanity and his vocation. The movie fits into the George Bailey theme, because the rat has genuine talent that the country cannot develop or recognize. There are a few false notes (mainly with love relation) but I'll let you discover them on your own. Crunchy cons would like it, but they would be disoriented because of the positive urban "message."

You know, urban is as good as suburban and rural.

That is the problem with folks, they beliece their way is THE way and everyone else should be as them.

Paul: Here is what I said about Ratatouille when it came out this summer. But you are right to note the connection to George Bailey . . . and being misunderstood or unappreciated. You're also right that the "love interest" story doesn't quite work or, at least, is not as satisfying as the rest of the movie (and certainly not as satisfying as the love story between George and Mary Bailey which I rate as among the most compelling and fine examples in all of movie history). The girl is too aggressive for the main character's disposition--but she does have the best line: "Excuse me for being rude . . . but we are French."

Leave a Comment

* denotes a required field
 

No TrackBacks
TrackBack URL: http://nlt.ashbrook.org/movabletype/mt-tb.cgi/11630