Why “W” Went to Baghdad: Oliver Stone Tells All

A new movie blogger on the scene is Patrick Goldstein, who writes "The
Big Picture" for the LA Times (here). For some reason, nobody in the
blogosphere seems to like Goldstein at all. Near as I can tell, it’s
became he writes for a real newspaper and they don’t. But be that as it
may, his opening post last week was a scene from the screenplay for the movie biography of George W. Bush that Stone is directing, called "W." It’s the movie that everyone
in Hollywood wants to see, but no one in Hollywood wanted to fund (as
Goldstein put it).

Oliver Stone is a living mess, but when he’s on, no film writer alive
puts better bad guys down on paper. (Takes one to know one?) Remember Gordon Gekko? Platoon?
Nixon? I question Stone’s ability to direct — he can’t seem to settle on a single film stock, far less a single POV — but not his ability to write. Maybe this story will focus him. If so — and the cast is promising — could be something to remember.

The scene is below the fold. You won’t regret reading it, I promise.

Here’s the crucial scene between George W. and his father, H.W. Bush, after the elder Bush has lost his bed for re-election in l992. The scene takes place in a Houston hotel room.

Int. Houstonian Hotel–Suite–Houston, Texas–November 1992

George Jr. turns off the TV. Sr. begins weeping. W looks at his father, jarred, never seen him so emotional, so broken.

                                                       Barbara

               The best person didn’t win, George. The best man did not win tonight.

                                                        Bush Sr.

             It hurts. Hurts so bad. My pride … I don’t like to see
those who wrote me off be right. But I was wrong and they were
right….That hurts more than anything.

                                                        Barbara

                         He is so beneath you. He doesn’t deserve to be
President. And wouldn’t be if it wasn’t for the liberal media, the New
York Times, blaming you for Reagan’s mess.

George Jr. puts hand on his father’s shoulder.

                                                       Bush Jr.

Poppy, you were a great President. Great President.

                                                       Bush Sr.

Gave it all I could. Thought the war would have carried us. Guess I reached my level, son.

                                                      Bush Jr.

        Nah. Maybe, if you had just clobbered the [SOB].

                                                      Bush Sr.

                                   Huh?

                                                      Bush Jr.

         Gone all the way. To Baghdad. Cleaned his clock.

                                                      Barbara

           (sharply to Laura) Did he imbibe in something I don’t know about?

                                            Bush Jr.

Don’t start that. I was talking about decisiveness. Finishing. What I’ve always been told.

                                             Barbara

                                 You’d better stop this. Zip it up, right now, you hear me.

Jr. backs away, turns.

                                                       Bush Sr.

                                 (sharply to Jr.) I won that war.

                                                       Bush Jr.

                                   ‘Course you did, Poppy.            

BEDROOM  –  MOMENTS LATER

                                               Laura

What was that all about?

                                              Bush Jr.

Be damned if I know. Never seen him like this before. It’s strange.

                                              Laura

It’s hard. He knows that this is the end.

                                               Bush Jr.

If Atwater hadn’t died. If he had listened to me and attacked, attacked, attacked! Might have turned out different.                                 

                                                          Laura

           No. That’s not what this is about. His health, all the
medications he’s been taking. He doesn’t have the strength, the fire he
had before. He knows.

Jr. sadly peers at the hunched figure of his father.

                                                         Bush Jr.

Can’t bear to see him like this. Hurts too damn much to lose.   

Then, resolute:

                                              Bush Jr.

I’ll never let this happen to me. Never.

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