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Films >> W. (2008) >>

1) I want a fair, true portrait of the man. How did Bush go from an alcoholic bum to the most powerful figure in the world? It's like Frank Capra territory on one hand, but I'll also cover the demons in his private life, his bouts with his dad and his conversion to Christianity, which explains a lot of where he is coming from. It includes his belief that God personally chose him to be President of the United States, and his coming into his own with the stunning, preemptive attack on Iraq. It will contain surprises for Bush supporters and his detractors. (Oliver Stone, qtd. in Fleming)

2) Here, [Oliver Stone] is all over the place, portraying Bush as a superficial party animal, super-compulsive addictive personality and, above all, rich kid with daddy issues. (Ann Hornaday)

3) "W." might have had some impact had it been made four years ago. But it's both too late and too early for a movie about our sitting president. Its "outrageousness" feels complacent. Controversial? Daring? In the fall of 2008, it seems neither. (David Ansen)

4) I could not have quit drinking without faith. I also don't think my faith would be as strong if I hadn't quit drinking. I believe God helped me open my eyes, which were closing because of booze. (George Bush 34)

5) Love him or hate him, everyone has his or her own Bush, and so no screen portrayal of the president will satisfy everyone. (Mick LaSalle)

6) In a sense, the elder Mr. Bush is traversing uncharted territory. The first President Adams died 16 months after John Quincy Adams was inaugurated, and 24 years separated their administrations. By contrast, just eight years separate the Bush administrations, and the men themselves are only 22 years apart in age. (Sheryl Gay Stolberg)

7) In the immediate aftermath of 9/11 [The Bush administration] lept to embrace exactly the position that it had viewed as the weakest element of the Clinton approach, namely, personalizing the struggle against al Qaeda as a matter of “getting” Osama bin Laden. When bin Laden’s escape, probably to Pakistan, proved that approach a failure, the political impasse thus created left the road open for administration hawks who had long been interested in overthrowing Saddam Hussein to change the subject and press for regime change in Iraq. (Colin Campbell 97)

8) Somehow, by simultaneously mythologizing and miniaturizing Bush, Stone has lost sight of the man in full. And the audience, regardless of partisan predisposition, is the poorer for it. (Ann Hornaday)

9) States like [Iran, Iraq, and North Korea], and their terrorist allies, constitute an Axis of Evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world. By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. They could provide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred. (George W. Bush)

10) The war against terrorism is a new kind of war. In my judgment, this new paradigm renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions. (Alberto Gonzales, memo to Pres. Bush, Jan. 2002, qtd. in Trudeau)

11) Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. (George W. Bush, qtd. in Stanford)

12) I did write a scene that went into the present, but it didn't work. When I wrote the original script, before the script you saw, I wrote a 161-page script that had 9/11, him winning the presidency — I hit a lot of bases that people may assume are missing, but it wouldn't have worked because it would have made the movie three hours. It would have been impossible to release. You just can't tell everything. (Stanley Weiser, qtd. in Brevet)

13) Saddam Hussein has not deployed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. (Colin Powell, qtd. in Stanford)

14) There's an old saying in Tennessee -- I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee -- that says, fool me once, shame on -- shame on you. Fool me -- you can't get fooled again. (Bushisms)

15) W. is the rare Oliver Stone film that had to tone down the historical record because the truth was too lurid. How the hell do you tell the uncensored story of a guy like George W. Bush? No one would believe it (Timothy Noah)

16) My politics are way to the left and I wanted to keep my politics out of it to where it would be too right for the left and too left for the right but for the undecided people we could maybe change their minds. Instead of preaching to the converted or the people that will hate it no matter what you do. (Stanley Wesier, qtd. in Brevet)

17) For the first time, [Stone is] turning his cameras not just on a living president but on one who'll still be knocking around the White House when the movie premieres late this year. As if that weren't provocative enough, Stone could end up releasing the film as early as October, at the height of a presidential campaign in which one of the major issues will undoubtedly be the legacy of the guy on the screen. (Benjamin Svetkey)

18) The president portrayed in the film (by Josh Brolin) is not evil. He is a man struggling to do the right thing, who ultimately fails due to ignorance, laziness, egotism, bad advice and a misguided belief that he is doing the will of God. (Reed Tucker)

19) Bush's reach has far exceeded any imaginable mandate -- and all such mandates are, in any event, imagined rather than real. We could not have imagined Bush's vigorously partisan style of government from the words he uttered in the election campaign of 2000. (Colin Campbell 331)

20) I would like to be a person remembered as a person who, first and foremost, did not sell his soul in order to accommodate the political process. I came to Washington with a set of values, and I'm leaving with the same set of values, and I darn sure wasn't going to sacrifice those values; that I was a president that had to make tough choices and was willing to make them. (George W. Bush, qtd. in Walsh)

21) Stone provides a model of ineffective critical information literacy via George W. Bush. (Robert Detmering)

22) I'm not reading this [draft UN speech]. This is crazy.
(Colin Powell, qtd. in Stanford)

23) Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning? (Bushisms)

24) It's a new mission. Its goal is to help the Iraqis to build a free nation that respects the rights of its people, upholds the rule of law, and is an ally against the extremists in this war. (George W. Bush, qtd. in Stanford)

25) You think he will be done in January. Bullshit. His influence will be felt for many years. We will never forget him. He is not going to be a forgotten. (Oliver Stone, qtd. in Goodridge)

26) We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud. (Condoleezza Rice, qtd. in Stanford)

27) My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators. (Dick Cheney, qtd. in Stanford)

28) We know where they [WMDs] are. They are in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad. (Donald Rumsfeld, qtd. in Stanford)

29) Fuck Saddam. We're taking him out. (George Bush, qtd. in Stanford)

30) I don't believe anyone that I know in the administration ever said that Iraq had nuclear weapons. (Donald Rumsfeld, qtd. in Stanford)

31) We're under attack because we love freedom, is why we're under attack. And our enemy hates freedom. They hate and we love. We differ from our enemy because we love. We not only love our freedoms and love our values, we love life itself. Our enemy hates innocent life. (George W. Bush, qtd. in Stanford)

32) The fact that the inspection team found nothing, but was still looking at the point that the Bush administration set a deadline for Saddam's removal and for the war to commence, must at least give some pause as to whether the threat of WMD was ever the real motive for the war. (Colin Campbell 333)

33) It's a blot. I'm the one who presented it [the UN speech] on behalf of the United States to the world, and [it] will always be a part of my record. It was painful. It's painful now. (Colin Powell, qtd. in Stanford)

34) They misunderestimated me. (Bushisms)

35) They hate things; we love things. They act out of hatred; we don't seek revenge, we seek justice out of love. (George W. Bush, qtd. in Stanford)

36) The people who now doubt whether or not Saddam really has WMD programs, chemical and bacteriological in particular, are really two types. Either they work for Saddam or they're doing human imitation of an ostrich. They really are, I think, no other possibilities. (former CIA director James Woolsey, qtd. in Stanford)

37) Geneva does not apply to our conflict with al-Qaeda; al-Qaeda detainees also do not qualify as prisoners of war. (George W. Bush, qtd. in Stanford)

38) I didn't advocate invasion. I wasn't asked. (Donald Rumsfeld, qtd. in Stanford)

39) America has defined itself in the early 21st century as a cowboy state. George W Bush has hyperbolically expressed all the cowboy mentality the world holds of America. (Oliver Stone, qtd. in Goodridge)

40) You are going to be the proud owner of 25 million people. You will own all their hopes, aspiration, and problems. It's going to suck the oxygen out of everything. This will become the first term. (Colin Powell, qtd. in Stanford)

41) MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. (George W. Bush, Banner on USS Abraham Lincoln, qtd. in Stanford)

42) There's no debate in the world as to whether they have these weapons. We all know that. A trained ape knows that. (Donald Rumsfeld, qtd. in Stanford)

43) Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream. (Bushisms)

44) Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof -- the smoking gun -- that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud. (George W. Bush, qtd. in Stanford)

45) If the president wants to go to war, our job is to find the intelligence to allow him to do so. (Alan Foley, director, CIA Weapons Intelligence, qtd. in Stanford)

46) Our mission in Iraq is clear: We're hunting down the terrorists. We're helping Iraqis build a free nation that is an ally in the war on terror. We're advancing freedom in the broader Middle East. We are removing a source of violence and instability, and laying the foundation of peace for our children. (George W. Bush, qtd. in Stanford)

47) I can't tell you if the use of force in Iraq today would last five days, or five weeks, or five months, but it certainly isn't going to last any longer than that. (Donald Rumsfeld, qtd. in Stanford)

48) No one is talking about occupying Iraq for five to ten years. (Richard Perle, qtd. in Stanford)

49) Major combat operations are ended. (George W. Bush, aboard USS Abraham Lincoln, qtd. in Stanford)

50) Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country. (Bushisms)

51) I think it will go relatively quickly. Weeks rather than months. (Dick Cheney, qtd. in Stanford)

52) Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we. (Bushisms)

53) There are some who feel that the conditions are such that hey can attack us there. My answer is, bring 'em on. We've got the force necessary to deal with the security situation. (George W. Bush, qtd. in Stanford)

54) But if "Nixon was a symphony, ["W."] is more like a chamber piece, and not as dark in tone. People have turned my political ideas into a cliche, but that is superficial. I'm a dramatist who is interested in people, and I have empathy for Bush as a human being, much the same as I did for Castro, Nixon, Jim Morrison, Jim Garrison and Alexander the Great. (Oliver Stone, qtd. in Fleming)

55) My quarrel with the script isn't that it departed from factual reality here and there, but that it just misses the guy. You come away with an even more hyperbolized caricature of Bush the Cowboy President than is already out there. (Benjamin Svetkey)