Oliver Stone to Make Film of Bush

Bad news for history. Oliver Stone, the director that gave us the completely fabricated film on the Kennedy assassination, JFK and the almost laughably over the top profile of Richard Nixon has set his sights on making a film on the 43rd President of the United States, George Bush.

But beyond the desire to make money or tell a story (or just make one the hell up), Stone wants to make the picture quickly enough so that it comes out in time possibly for the election:



It's a behind-the-scenes approach, similar to 'Nixon,' to give a sense of what it's like to be in his skin," Stone told Daily Variety. "But if 'Nixon' was a symphony, this 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."
First of all, the idea that they can get a major Hollywood film shot, edited, polished, and in the theaters by late October is just not in the cards. But if Stone's goal is to affect the election, then he may very well sacrifice some quality in order to get a hit piece on Republicans out to the puiblic.

It is Stone's treatment of history that is really at issue. In JFK, he made as a centerpiece of the film a homophobic, out of control prosecutor named Jim Garrison who destroyed the life of several innocent people, including a respected businessman named Clay Shaw. His main witness at the Shaw trial was a mentally unbalanced drifter who Garrison hypnotized in order to get the "truth." His "theory" of the assassination changed at least a half dozen times, finally settling on a homosexual plot involving Oswald, Shaw, and a few other unfortunates.

Garrison himself played the judge in the Shaw trial in the movie.

His treatment of Nixon was perhaps even more laughable. Stone invented a scene where Nixon was present with some rich white southern racists and anti-Castro Cubans who were talking about killing Kennedy. In fact, the rich white southern racists are the ones who get him elected president according to Historian Stone. And to make the conspiracy complete, his discussion of the conversations with those men in the film form the basis of the 18 1/2 minute gap in the Nixon tapes.

It isn't that Stone treats history as drama. He isn't the first historical film maker to invent scenes out of whole cloth. It's just that he is the only film maker to make up scenes not for dramatic effect but because he believes they reveal the true nature of a subject. In short, he tries to pass off the invented scenes not as drama but as some kind of psycho-historical truth - an extraordinary disservice to history that drives most historians - left and right - up the wall.

It took me 10 years before I could actually sit down and watch most of JFK - a technically brilliant film with some fine performances. I just couldn't stomach watching Stone glorify Garrison however and to this day have not seen the film in its entirety. Nixon was not a bad film and parts of it were quite sympathetic to the former president. And Anthony Hopkins had Nixon down cold, a remarkable performance. But it was creepy the way that Stone thrust Nixon into the JFK assassination and misrepresented conservatives.

How Stone treats Bush in the film will not be as important as how accurate he is historically. If he gets into the conspiracy mongering that is the signature of the far left's take on the President, then he may please his audience but will once again do an enormous disservice to history in the process.
Bad news for history. Oliver Stone, the director that gave us the completely fabricated film on the Kennedy assassination, JFK and the almost laughably over the top profile of Richard Nixon has set his sights on making a film on the 43rd President of the United States, George Bush.

But beyond the desire to make money or tell a story (or just make one the hell up), Stone wants to make the picture quickly enough so that it comes out in time possibly for the election:



It's a behind-the-scenes approach, similar to 'Nixon,' to give a sense of what it's like to be in his skin," Stone told Daily Variety. "But if 'Nixon' was a symphony, this 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."
First of all, the idea that they can get a major Hollywood film shot, edited, polished, and in the theaters by late October is just not in the cards. But if Stone's goal is to affect the election, then he may very well sacrifice some quality in order to get a hit piece on Republicans out to the puiblic.

It is Stone's treatment of history that is really at issue. In JFK, he made as a centerpiece of the film a homophobic, out of control prosecutor named Jim Garrison who destroyed the life of several innocent people, including a respected businessman named Clay Shaw. His main witness at the Shaw trial was a mentally unbalanced drifter who Garrison hypnotized in order to get the "truth." His "theory" of the assassination changed at least a half dozen times, finally settling on a homosexual plot involving Oswald, Shaw, and a few other unfortunates.

Garrison himself played the judge in the Shaw trial in the movie.

His treatment of Nixon was perhaps even more laughable. Stone invented a scene where Nixon was present with some rich white southern racists and anti-Castro Cubans who were talking about killing Kennedy. In fact, the rich white southern racists are the ones who get him elected president according to Historian Stone. And to make the conspiracy complete, his discussion of the conversations with those men in the film form the basis of the 18 1/2 minute gap in the Nixon tapes.

It isn't that Stone treats history as drama. He isn't the first historical film maker to invent scenes out of whole cloth. It's just that he is the only film maker to make up scenes not for dramatic effect but because he believes they reveal the true nature of a subject. In short, he tries to pass off the invented scenes not as drama but as some kind of psycho-historical truth - an extraordinary disservice to history that drives most historians - left and right - up the wall.

It took me 10 years before I could actually sit down and watch most of JFK - a technically brilliant film with some fine performances. I just couldn't stomach watching Stone glorify Garrison however and to this day have not seen the film in its entirety. Nixon was not a bad film and parts of it were quite sympathetic to the former president. And Anthony Hopkins had Nixon down cold, a remarkable performance. But it was creepy the way that Stone thrust Nixon into the JFK assassination and misrepresented conservatives.

How Stone treats Bush in the film will not be as important as how accurate he is historically. If he gets into the conspiracy mongering that is the signature of the far left's take on the President, then he may please his audience but will once again do an enormous disservice to history in the process.