It likely won’t last long, given that they’re still cutting and this isn’t the official version, but the first trailer* for Oliver Stone’s W. (yep, with a period) is up on YouTube, and offers a confirmative glance at the Shakespearean familial grappling it assays. (*Note: see below.) Starring Josh Brolin as the current President Bush and James Cromwell as his daddy, #41, the film, of course, is a look at the wayward youth and young adulthood of our still-commander in chief, and how he turned things around to, you know, rule the free world.
It’s a brief, fairly simple thing, this trailer, effectively conveying the I’ll-show-you fire that, once lit, powered Dubya out of the wilderness and into the limelight. It ends with a role call of some of the bit players — Laura Bush (Elizabeth Banks), Condoleezza Rice (Thandie Newton), Colin Powell (Jeffrey Wright), Donald Rumsfeld (Scott Glenn), Karl Rove (Toby Jones), Dick Cheney (Richard Dreyfuss) — that have helped make up the tragicomedy of the last eight years. A couple impressions: the make-up jobs range from spot-on to a bit awkward, but the musical choice of “What a Wonderful World” (nudge, nudge… yeah, I get it) is a cop-out, and only serves to underline and buttress the knee-jerk reactions this film engenders. Also, if Jason Ritter (b. 1980) really is playing Jeb Bush, that’s a bit disappointing, only insofar as it indicates the focal limitations of this pared-down piece; the flaming wreckage of Jeb’s political career, as seen through his eyes or his father’s, would have made for a really good scene or two, flash-forward.
Still, regardless of the probative value as it relates to his presidency, the movie is a pleasure to have exist, if only for the socio-entertainment coverage it will foist upon the MSNBC and CNN reporters (always good for laughs), and the spin that will emerge from the Bushies and their surrogates when they’re dutifully trotted out to nitpick over this detail or that. I’m sure it’ll make for a couple great segments on The Daily Show, too. W. releases in mid-October, from Lionsgate.
* UPDATE, 7/28: The official trailer, running basically the same length, is now online, but the version with slightly saltier language (e.g., #41’s paternal admonition about “chasing tail,” is still available here, and here, if you beat the copyright police.)