Movie Mind Says:  Go To Movie Theater

 

Charlie Wilson's War

 

Starring: Tom Hanks, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Julia Roberts, Amy Adams

 

It’s not often that The Movie Mind leaves a theater more knowledgeable and well-informed than he was when he entered it. Consequently, it is even less often that he leaves that way and is happy about it. Charlie Wilson’s War was clever, intelligent, informative, and at the same time extremely entertaining. It was well-worth the money and time spent watching it.

 

I understand that most of The Movie Mind’s loyal readers don’t go to the movies to take a history lesson. Trust me, no one understands that more than I do. But much like a deep-fried carrot or chocolate-covered apple, I am a sucker for a fulfilling inside as long as it’s coated with gluttonous goodness. 

 

Speaking of gluttonous, Tom Hanks puts forth his best performance in years portraying the playboy congressman with the southern charm. He had always partied hard and lived harder, but finally finds a political interest to apply those same principles. Hanks is backed by Philip Seymour Hoffman, a hard-charging CIA agent who does not hold his tongue regardless of his audience. PSH is absolutely at his best, as usual, and contributes quite a few one-liners and memorable quotes, most of them with a few expletives to punctuate. After watching another of PSH’s flawless performances, I have made a promise to myself that I now share with my readers: I will see every single movie PSH has a role in. That may not seem like a lot, seeing as how my job is provide objective reviews to all of you, but I will also be looking forward to all of them. He is worth the price of admission alone, without the added bonus of a compelling story line.

 

As for Julia Roberts, she is beginning to show her age, not in facial wrinkles, but her lame performances. How she continues to show up, put on a few slinky dresses and collect $20 mill is beyond me. If she wasn’t flanked by Hanks or PSH every time she was on screen it would have been enhanced to a much greater respect.

 

While some of the standard clichés apply such as how one man can make a difference, and what can be achieved by someone who uses their power for the right reasons, the writers do a great job of staying on track and telling a good story. It was much more of an interesting story than a lecture or lesson in the power of politics. While it may seem disturbing how things get done in the world of big-time politics, it is not all that surprising either. The only surprise I came away with was that apparently Rocky IV was not the sole reason for the ending of The Cold War. I guess this Charlie Wilson dude played a small part in that too.

 

I think it is assumed by the readers, but just to be clear, I did not read the book by George Crile from which the movie was adapted. Whether or not director Mike Nichols stuck to the book or not is a different question for some other pretentious reviewer, I am just happy with how the story showed up on the big-screen. It makes us think about how the past relates to circumstances going on today and what it may have been like if this story had not played out.

 

Assuming you are able to get over being the youngest people in the theaters by about 40 years, you are in for a big treat. While it may be good for you on the inside, just remember that it also has a delicious coating.
Submitted 1-21-08

 

If You Like This You Should Watch:  Traffic, Syriana, JFK
Better Than:  The Good Shepherd, Clear and Present Danger
Worse Than:  A few but not too many I can think of off the top of my head

 

Memorable Quotes:
Charlie Wilson:
You’re no James Bond.
Gust Avrakotos: You’re no Thomas Jefferson, either. Let’s call it even.

 

Charlie Wilson: You know you’ve reached rock bottom when you’re told you have character flaws by a man who hanged his predecessor in a military coup.

 

Larry Liddle: Does the Congressman only hire beautiful women?
Charlie’s Angel #2: As the Congressman says, “you can teach them to type, but you can’t teach them to grow tits.”

 

Gust Avrakotos: Can we just take a moment to reflect on all of the ways that you are a douche bag?

 

Joanne Herring: Why is Congress saying one thing and doing nothing?
Charlie Wilson: Well, tradition mostly.

 

Charlie Wilson: These things happened. They were glorious and they changed the world… and then we fucked up the endgame.

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