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Films >> W. (2008) >>

0:01:22 Opening scene
As the credits roll, we hear the national anthem and baseball music. We then see George W. Bush standing in the middle of an empty baseball field. An announcer announces that he is currently the 43rd president of the United States, and the crowd cheers, though there is no one sitting in the stadium. Bush gestures triumphantly in response.
0:01:52 Axis of Evil
The year is 2002. Bush is in a meeting with his advisors, trying to come up with a name for his speech to the American people about his plan to invade Iraq. One of the advisors says that the American people want revenge. Important members of the government discuss what the correct course of action is post the 2001 terrorist attack on the Twin Towers. Colin Powell seems to be hesitant about invading Iraq. He mentions that the speech suggests preemptive attack on three separate countries -- Iran, Iraq, and North Korea. Bush says we need to attack first or we'll get attacked again. The Axis of Evil is decided upon as the name of the speech. Everyone in the room bows their heads for a moment of silence.
0:06:00 Hazing at Yale
It is 1966, and all the pledges at Yale for the fraternity DKE are being hazed. They are forced to name all the brothers in the fraternity while sitting in tubs of ice. While one of the brothers fails, George W. Bush successfully lists names of brothers.
0:09:12 Talking with Dad
George W. Bush is in jail and is talking to his father on the phone. "Junior" plays baseball for Yale and is excited about a victory against Princeton. He is in jail for being too rowdy at the game. His father tells Junior that he will be bailed out this time but not to ever be in this situation again.
0:11:17 Working on an oil rig
Bush Jr. appears exhausted from difficult manual labor on an oil rig and takes a break to drink some water. His boss reprimands him and tells him to get back to work. Bush responds that he needs a break, and when his boss refuses to give him one, Bush quits the job.
0:13:28 A drunken proposal
Bush is drunk at a bar, talking to a girl he is dating about his future. She admonishes him for not displaying emotion towards her, and he drunkenly proposes to her. They celebrate by dancing on table tops.
0:15:38 Montage of pictures
A number of black and white pictures of family members.
0:15:50 A lecture from Dad
The year is now 1971, Bush Sr.'s office. Bush Sr. talks about how Junior hasn't stayed at any job, and he discusses the rumor that Junior got a girl pregnant. Junior reveals that what he really wants to do is to find a career in baseball.
0:18:47 Cheney meets With W.
President Bush and Vice President Cheney eating in the White House. W. talks about running and how he thinks he is the fastest of all the past presidents, since he can run a 6:45 minute mile. Cheney warns Bush about the dire effects of a second terrorist attack, however slim the chance, after 9/11. He says that Bush's presidency is a focal point in history and talks about the Patriot Act, stating that the government should be more careful, as they need to avoid "another 9/11." Cheney says Bush Sr.'s negligence during the first Iraq conflict led to the predicament the USA is currently in. W. agrees that Saddam Hussein should have been removed from power then.
0:22:08 Torture
At the same lunch, Cheney says he has a sign-off that authorizes the United States government to use certain "fear tactics" against terrorists, such as dogs, isolation, simulated drowning, sleep deprivation, and others. Bush approves of these techniques, saying it reminds him of his fraternity, though he clarifies that we "do not not use torture in this country." The scene ends with Bush telling Cheney to keep his ego in check.
0:24:10 A skeptical Powell
Bush and his advisors -- Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rice, Tenet, Rove, General Franks, et al. -- are walking on his Texas ranch, talking about starting a war in Iraq. Secretary of State Colin Powell asks what the exit strategy of the war in Iraq will be. Deep in discussion, Bush, the leader, misses a turn, extending the hike for his weary team.
0:27:12 Choking
Bush Jr. is watching a football game on television. A song about Robin Hood plays, and he chokes on a peanut he was eating.
0:28:15 Fight with Dad
The year is 1972. Bush Jr. crashes the car because he was drinking and driving with Jeb, his brother. His father is furious and tells him to go to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting and get help. Bush Jr. taunts Bush Sr. saying "let's fight." Jeb intervenes, telling his parents that the reason Bush Jr. is drunk is because he was celebrating his acceptance into Harvard Business School. When Barbara Bush tells Bush Sr. he should be proud of his son's acceptance, Bush Sr. says that it is no surprise, since he pulled strings to make it happen.
0:30:32 Playing Poker
The year is 1977. Bush and friends talk politics. Bush complains about Jimmy Carter, and his friends say that his father has a shot at the presidency in the next election. Bush says that he wants to "get into the family business" as well. He sees a sign that on July 6th, Bush's birthday, the incumbent George Mahon announced his retirement from Congress. Now that Mahon is gone, Bush wants to run for Congress.
0:32:30 Enter Laura
Bush meets Laura, the future Laura Bush, at a barbecue in Texas. They talk for a while, and Laura, a librarian, tells Bush that she worked for Eugene McCarthy's campaign. Bush is running for Congress, and she tells him that if he wins he should help promote education. He tells her that she can be his education advisor if he wins.
0:36:02 Debating
Bush debates his opponent for Congress, Kent Hance. Hance criticizes Bush for being "foreign" and not a true member of the Texas community because he went to Yale and then Harvard business school. Hance says he comes from a family of farmers, while Bush comes from a family of politicians, who are all responsible for the mess the country is currently in. Hance also mentions that Bush threw a party with alcohol for underage college students at Texas Tech.
0:37:27 The post-mortem
It is clear that Bush and Laura are now dating. They are driving in a car after the debate. Bush is upset because he realizes the debate went poorly, and he asks Laura for her opinion on his speech. She says it wasn't good. He crashes the car into a garage door in frustration. He then feels guilty and proclaims his love for her.
0:39:19 Loss lessons
Bush is now wearing a wedding ring indicating that he is married to Laura. He is listening to the radio, and he hears that he lost the congressional race. He is obviously upset, and he says, "I'll tell you one thing. There's no way I'll ever be out-Texaned or out-Christianed ever again."
0:40:37 Fantasy baseball
Bush is at an empty baseball stadium, just like in the opening scene of the film. He catches a ball in the outfield and makes a triumphant gesture.
0:41:03 No confirmation
Bush tells his speech writers that he needs a foreign policy speech in his room by 8 pm that night. The writers say they just need to get the information in the speech approved. The speech writers ask the people at the National Security Agency if they can say that the threat from Iraq is unique and that it only takes 10 tons of "yellow cake" to produce enough enriched uranium for nuclear weapons. The head of the National Security Agency does not approve since the information comes from a single foreign source and has not been confirmed.
0:42:41 Practicing
Bush plays catch with his dog, whom he says was once a great athlete, discussing the main points of an upcoming speech about why the USA should go to war with Iraq. Bush says that he is a lot more like Reagan than like his father. An advisor tells him about reporter Helen Thomas discussing secret plans for regime change and critical of the invasion of Iraq.
0:44:30 Moving to Washington
The year is 1986. Bush is at dinner with friends celebrating his 40th birthday. He mentions that he wants to be baseball commissioner. Bush Sr., who is currently the vice president, calls him on the telephone to say hello. Bush Sr. says he's gearing up to run for president in 1988, and he asks his son to run the campaign for him. Bush goes back to the dinner table and shares the news with his friends and his wife, saying "It looks like we're moving to Washington."
0:47:21 Hungover
Bush is lying on a bed, very hungover. He says he can't keep up his level of drinking. Laura is in the room talking to him about the upcoming move to Washington. She says it's going to be a big change for them. She says that it was really nice of Bush Sr. to ask him to help run the campaign. Bush says that it was only because Jeb was unavailable.
0:48:32 Not well
Bush is on a run wearing a Texas shirt that says "Home" on it. He appears to be dizzy, and in the middle of his run he lies down on the grass.
0:49:55 Born again
There is a shot of Jesus Christ, and then a shot of Bush at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. After the meeting is over, Bush talks to Rev. Earle Hudd who tells him that he (Bush) is a Born-Again Christian. Bush says there is a weight on him. Hudd says the Christian life is not a constant high. One needs to pray to God during one's moments of discontentment. The reverend tells Bush to treat everyone with compassion and that his life will never be the same again. They pray together.
0:53:44 Bush Sr. runs for President
The year is 1988, and George Bush Sr. is being asked by a group of advisors to say he that he is a Born-Again Christian to help his campaign for President. Bush Sr. says he does not want to say he is "reborn," as it's inauthentic. He is an Episcopalian. The advisors leave, and Bush Jr. talks with his father. He says that the American people are "hungry for faith." Then Bush Jr. shows his father a political campaign video slamming Dukakis, the Democratic presidential nominee, for allowing prisoners to have weekend passes, since one of the prisoners killed a man while released on his weekend pass. Bush Sr. says the video is rough. He says it cannot be run through the campaign but needs to be outsourced, which Bush Jr. assures him it is.
0:56:40 Bush Sr. wins the election
Victory party. Karl Rove, one of Bush Sr.'s advisors, asks Bush Jr. why he looks sad despite the good news. He says that he is unsure about the future. Rove says that Bush needs to do something with his life if he wants to get out of his father's shadow.
0:58:12 Stress
Laura tells Bush to go to sleep, but he seems too stressed. He tells her that he has realized that he needs to do something with his life. In fact, he has mixed feelings about his father winning the election. He even says he wishes his father had lost. He says that no matter what he does, it's never going to be enough.
0:59:00 Invading Iraq
Bush talks about the probability of nuclear weapons in Iraq. There are no weapons now, but he claims that there will be some by 2007. Powell seems skeptical. He says there is not sufficient information to conclude without doubt that Saddam Hussein has nuclear weapons. The advisors debate whether or not to go to the UN for support on the war. Powell wants to go to the UN like Bush Sr. did in the last war, but other advisors say that's useless. Rumsfeld attacks Powell, saying the Gulf War days are over, and the USA no longer needs UN approval to overtake a dictator. Powell says that maybe we should just stay in Afghanistan and clean up there.
1:02:52 Powell's monologue
Powell then speaks for a long time asking why we are even getting involved in this conflict. We only need to attack the 10,000 people directly involved in the September 11 terrorist attacks, but we are not trusting the system and are instead attacking uninvolved countries. He doesn't want to put young American lives at risk.
1:04:33 Cheney's monologue
Cheney rants about how Iraq has most of the oil reserves. The United States has 5 percent of the world's population but uses 25 percent of the resources. We need to protect ourselves for the future, Cheney says. Powell asks what the exit strategy is. Cheney says there is no exit strategy -- we stay there. Cheney then adds that there is a lack of American presence in Iran, the 3rd largest oil reserve in the world. We need to control Iran to control the world. Bush finally talks . He says that the "normal Joe" isn't thinking about oil, he's thinking about September 11th. He's thinking about the axis of evil. Bush says the enemy needs to be clear. We're not sure who the enemy is, but we know they're out there.
1:10:25 The two Bushes
The year is 1990. Bush Jr. is on a baseball field with his father talking about Saddam. He says Saddam should be taken down. Bush Sr. tells his son that how he handles the situation with Iraq determines his term as president and that he should try to avoid "another Vietnam." Bush Sr. also mentions that Jeb is going to be governor of Florida and that he could one day be president.
1:12:58 Victory in the first Persian Gulf War
The Year is 1991, which is during Bush Sr.'s presidency. Footage from a newscast is shown declaring that Operation Desert Storm, the United States' first involvement in the Middle East, is finished. It was a great victory for the USA.
1:13:24 Quick, clean, and sufficient
Bush Sr. and all his advisors are congratulated about the victory in the Middle East. Bush talks about being an occupying power in an oil country. He says the USA has gone far enough, and that this was the cleanest war in history.
1:14:39 Bush Sr. loses re-election
Bush loses the 1992 election to Bill Clinton despite winning the war in Iraq, which he thought would have greatly helped his campaign. Bush Jr. tells his father that he should have finished the war and killed Saddam. Bush Jr. then tells Laura that his father is weak in spirit.
1:17:20 Running for Governor
Bush Jr. tells his parents that he's going to run for Governor of Texas. They want him to wait until Jeb is already elected governor of Florida so they can both get what they want. Barbara Bush tells Bush Jr. that he cannot win because he is too hot-headed.
1:18:57 Verbally challenged
The year is 1994. Bush Jr. answers reporter questions, a number of which are about education. He embarrasses himself by using incorrect grammar and misusing words, saying his famous "Bushisms" such as "Is our children learning?" and "He or her will be able to pass a literacy test."
1:20:04 Rove admonishes Bush
Rove tells Bush Jr. that he should be able to stand up to reporters. Bush says he will do anything necessary to win the position of governor.
1:20:23 Rove coaches Bush
Rove grills Bush who is practicing his stances on various issues. Rove tells him what to say about the issues. He is trying to create an image as a man the voters can trust and can sit down and have a beer with.
1:22:33 The cynical father
Bush Sr. visits Bush Jr. on his inauguration as governor. He asks if Bush Jr. has his speech ready. He tells Bush Jr. to take a photo in his mind so he can savor it when times get tough. Bush Jr. asks his father why he never feels proud of him, and why he is always being compared to Jeb. Bush Sr. gives Bush Jr. the cufflinks that were Prescott Bush's most prized possession, and, in fact, the only real gift Bush Sr. ever received from his father. Laura Bush tells Bush Jr. that this is nice gesture, and that Bush Sr. is showing that he cares. Bush Jr. thinks that his father will never be proud of him.
1:24:53 Montage of images
We see a shot of the cufflinks and a shot of the Bible and a folder that says "State of Texas Office of the Governor."
1:24:59 “The Call”
It's 1999. A reverend named Earl Hudd walks into the room. He runs a successful television program. W. has asked him to come to his office to say that he's heard "the call" from God telling him that he needs to run for president. Bush says he doesn't necessarily want to do this but that he MUST do it because God wants him to. He feels that something is going to happen and his country is going to need him. Earl and Bush pray together.
1:27:14 Finalizing a speech
The year is 2003. The end of a speech is being printed out. Two draft writers from the CIA communications office are looking over it, saying it has a lot of promise.
1:27:31 Pleasing Cheney
A speech writer says to Cheney, "We finally got it in. Page 8, uranium in Africa," referring to the fact that they got permission for Bush to speak about uranium, which can be used to make nuclear weapons.
1:27:39 The pivotal speech
There is a shot of Cheney as Bush gives a speech about how the British government has learned that Saddam Hussein has sought significant quantities of uranium in Africa. The speech writers are seen watching the speech, clearly pleased that they could incorporate in the information about the uranium. We see many different groups of people, including George Bush Sr. and Barbara Bush, all watching the speech from their homes. We also see famous people in the audience listening to Bush, such as Laura Bush and John Kerry.
1:30:01 Parental worry
Bush Sr. is sitting alone. Barbara Bush walks into the room and tells him to take his sleeping pill. He is worried about Bush Jr., but he can't talk to him because Bush Jr. does not take criticism well. Barbara tells her husband to talk to their son. Bush Sr. says he'll do something.
1:31:13 The something
Rice is reading papers saying that an attack on Iraq at this time would seriously jeopardize a global counter-terrorist campaign. She hands the paper to Bush. He is angry, and he says that he wouldn't attack Iraq unless his father approved of it. Rice asks if Bush Jr.'s father has ever personally offered his advice on the Iraq issue. Bush Jr. says no, but that there is a higher Father that he appeals to.
1:32:15 Protesting the war
A reporter reports that there are mass protests against the Iraq War going on around the UN building. They are the largest anti-war demonstrations ever seen in history. 10 to 15 million people are protesting across the planet.
1:32:50 Tony Blair
Bush is talking with British leader Tony Blair and Rice about the Iraq conflict. Blair urges Bush to wait before attacking Iraq, as the inspectors haven't found any weapons of mass destruction yet. Bush says that they might have to provoke Saddam. He gives Blair an ultimatum, saying the USA is definitely going to war with Iraq, and asking if England is in. Blair does not say anything.
1:34:21 Jacques Chirac
Bush on the phone with French president Jacques Chirac, who says the war is not necessary. Rice is also in the room listening to the conversation on another phone. Bush is frustrated because the French won't agree with him. He asks Rice to get Russian president Vladimir Putin on the phone.
1:35:53 Powell plays along
Bush watches Colin Powell on a television giving the United Nations speech that made the case for war to the international community. He is saying Iraq has 85 hundred liters of anthrax. Rice says this is the best speech Powell has ever given, and that it is going to seal the deal with the American people on the Iraq war.
1:36:34 Bush discusses Iraq
Bush is in a conference room discussing all the different countries that are on the USA's side in the conflict. Rice tells him that there are 49 countries in the coalition. Bush and his advisors then conference call with a General Tommy Franks, who is stationed in Qatar. Franks tells Bush about the number of troops in the Middle East. They discuss the number of expected casualties. Bush and his advisors issue a blackout on military men in caskets. Bush decides that he's giving Saddam 48 hours to surrender.
1:39:26 Victory
Bush and his advisors watch footage of troops in Iraq, including a shot of them taking down a statue of Saddam Hussein. Bush says that this victory is for those who doubted he won the election and for those who doubted his judgment.
1:40:40 Barbara and Bush Sr. watch the conflict
Barbara Bush and Bush Sr. are happy to see the USA victorious. Bush Sr. says that they just need to catch Hussein now.
1:41:09 Spinball reports
Reporters at the news channel Spinball talk about Bush landing a plane on a boat, saying Kerry would never be able to do that. They say Bush is a man's man, and that women love him and the war. Bush gives a speech saying the conflict is over -- Mission Accomplished -- and that the USA has prevailed.
1:42:42 Bad news
A news report now shows footage of dead civilians and soldiers and bombs exploding. A reporter says 853 US soldiers have died in Iraq to date and discusses a recent bombing that killed 6 men. The bombing continues, and people at the UN headquarters were killed as well.
1:43:46 Whose job is it?
Bush is informed that the USA is "in for a longer haul than expected." He asks where the weapons of mass destruction are, since none have been found yet. He asks whose job it is to find the weapons. He goes person to person, but each advisor says that they were not in charge. Powell says that, as per Rumsfeld's wishes, most of the power was given to Defense. Bush asks why he wasn't told about this.
1:45:15 Sticking up for his son
Bush Sr. tells a reporter that Bush Jr. is in a very difficult position, and that, as Americans, it is our duty to support his decisions, and that, as a father, he will most certainly support his son.
1:45:56 Comforting the casualties
Bush Jr. and Laura Bush visit injured soldiers in the hospital. They are clearly in bad physical shape.
1:47:03 No WMDs
Bush Jr. is eating dinner with his advisors. He says that he has given up desserts to show support for the troops. His advisors, all eating large slices of pecan pie, tell him that there are not any WMDs (weapons of mass destruction) in Iraq and that Saddam was just pretending to have them. He didn't want his own people to know that he didn't have weapons, as he would appear weak. It is clear that the system has broken down completely. David Kay says that he is obligated to resign. Bush leaves the table.
1:50:30 Plan B
Cheney tells Bush to keep the focus on freedom and democracy. Bush says that he is still convinced that Iraq had WMDs. They say they are going to continue to be involved with Iran.
1:50:54 Stressed again
Bush is watching the news. He tells Laura that the war has been very stressful for him. Laura tells him that his favorite musical Cats is coming to town, and she asks if he wants to get tickets. He says that all he wanted to do was to make the world better and safer. Laura says that other people have no idea how hard it is to be him. Bush says that since the start of the war, he barely has had time to run anymore.
1:52:56 Nightmare
Bush Jr. walks into his office to find his father sitting there. Bush Sr. wants to fight. He tells Bush Jr. that he is deeply disappointed, and that he, Bush Jr., ruined the Bush name. Now Jeb's future is ruined. Bush Jr. tells his father to get out of his office and out of his life. Bush Jr. wakes up screaming.
1:55:38 Lockjaw
Bush is holding a press conference saying that it's been a tough few weeks in Iraq, but that the goal is a quick transfer of sovereignty to the Iraqi people. A reporter asks him what he feels was his biggest mistake after 9/11 and what lessons he learned from those mistakes. Bush is unable to formulate a response. All of Bush's advisors are shown, looking uncomfortable. Bush fumbles for a long time, saying that he is under a lot of pressure to come up with an answer.
1:58:21 Solitude
Bush walks out of the press conference alone, clearly upset. An advisor follows him, but Bush says he needs to be alone.
1:58:47 Baseball
Bush watches a baseball game, eating pretzels and feeding his dog.
1:59:36 Playing alone
Bush is on the same baseball field as earlier in the film. He is running to catch a ball. The ball disappears, the unseen crowd stops cheering, and Bush is left alone on the field bewildered.