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By David Poland

Charlie Wilson's War

Charlie Wilson

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21 Responses to “Charlie Wilson's War”

  1. And pretty much everyone will reply to this with a big ol’ yawn.
    That running time is almost as weird as Lions For Lambs being minus 90minutes.

  2. IOIOIOI says:

    Heat dropped this in this review; “But here was the covert funding of the war in Afghanistan that happened during the Reagan Administration, leading to The Taliban, who we are still chasing. But it was right at the time

  3. waterbucket says:

    Wow, that movie sounds boring. Pass.

  4. movieman says:

    What is the running time??

  5. Hopscotch says:

    97 minutes.
    I can’t wait to see it.

  6. Jimmy the Gent says:

    It is a shame Julia roberts has refused to embrace her sexuality along with her star power. Who knows how many great performances we’ve lost because she refuses to be sexual. I had thought she ws toying with the idea after Closer, She was the only fully realized character in the entire movie. Only in Brokavich has she dared to stur her stuff.
    Better actresses who know how to combine sexuality with dramatic force include Frances MacDormmand, Joan Allen, Patricia Clarkson, Julianne Moore, and Ellen Barkin. Melanie Griffith is great when properly directed. Kim Basinger could’ve been great. Why not Mirren? Wouldn’t this have been the right moment to get Debra Winger back onscreen?
    Unlike Lumet, Nichols seems to be more comfortable when working in the medium of TV.

  7. GayAsXmas says:

    Why is 97 minutes a weird running time? After some serious bloat last summer, I would have thought people would welcome a bit more economy in the storytelling

  8. movieman says:

    97 minutes? Frigging sweet! I was nervous that it might be another epic-length year-end movies.
    Not that there’s anything wrong with epic-length movies (I personally can’t wait to see “There Will Be Blood” next week), but short and sweet can sometimes be the pause that refreshes.

  9. Nicol D says:

    I love that people are mentioning the 97 minute thing!
    I have nothing against long movies but I am getting tired of big, bloated Oscar wannabe films being epic length on principle alone. That 97 minutes shows some sort of courage.
    I finally saw American Gangster last week. I liked it but after commercials and trailers the damn thing was nearly a three hour sit and the film did not earn that run time. A good film, but it could have easily been a stronger film if it hovered at the 2 hour mark. I think that the bloated run time of American Gangster is a large part of why the film does not achieve greatness although Washington is great in it.
    Again, I loved Knocked Up, but 2 and a 1/4 hours it did not have to be.

  10. Jonj says:

    Poland writes: “Julia Roberts is game and doesn’t cheat with the Big Julia Smile, but she is really miscast here.”
    You could tell she was miscast from the uneven trailer. Jimmy is right in that she should take more chances like “Closer.” Some will work, some won’t.

  11. Chucky in Jersey says:

    It was the Jimmy Carter gov’t that goaded the USSR into invading Afghanistan. The invasion occurred on Xmas Eve 1979.
    As Hop said, I can’t wait to see it.
    Xmas Day 2007 in USA/Canada, wide release. All Universal has to do now is not stick “Academy Award Winner/Nominee” before the stars’ names.

  12. Me says:

    I know that’s why a lot of people come here, but I really don’t care about the oscar chances of this movie, or whether it plays honestly with politics. As a Sorkin fan, all I’m after is a fun, fast-paced dialog, relatively intelligent movie. If it succeeds at that, I’ll happily fork over my $10.

  13. jeffmcm says:

    “All Universal has to do now is not stick “Academy Award Winner/Nominee” before the stars’ names.”
    So until that happens it’ll be a good movie, and after that happens it’ll be a bad one?
    I pester Chucky about this all the time because it never makes any sense.

  14. gr81lives says:

    This movie will flop. It will have an ok opening and just fade away.
    Just like Lions For Lambs big stars movie bombed.
    Universal has done a horrible job markteing this movie.

  15. Chucky in Jersey says:

    jeffmcm: Oscar-whoring is a crutch for the motion-picture industry. It’s being used too often and the results are plain to see.
    gr81lives: Go to any theater any day from Xmas Day through New Year’s Day — every day will be just like a Saturday.

  16. gr81lives says:

    Chuck that’s what they said about The Good Shepard last year….which is a very good movie

  17. LexG says:

    Countdown to Jeff getting flustered about Chucky soon to follow, I’m sure, but this Chucky name-checking shtick HAS to be a “joke,” right? I mean, it’s amusing and all ONLY in how riled up it gets Jeff and others, but it’s gotta be just some low-wattage form of “trolling,” right?
    Either that, or just the Aspbergeriest internet persona in the history of time.

  18. jeffmcm says:

    If it’s a joke, the joke is on me. I mean, I really should just give up on trying to make him make sense, but I’m stubborn.
    Lex, you must not have come across Daniel Zelter.
    Chucky, a movie’s marketing department trolling for awards has nothing to do with the quality of the movie itself (The Good Shepherd is a good example.)

  19. Cadavra says:

    Nichols, Nichols, Nichols, but not a single mention of Sorkin, who, given a resume stuffed with politics (THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT, THE WEST WING, A FEW GOOD MEN, STUDIO 60), is probably far more the auteur of this film than the director.

  20. movieman says:

    I don’t know about that, Cadavra.
    Nichols has been THE auteur of all his films since “Virginia Woolf?”
    He just hasn’t gotten as much credit for it as more obvious auteur directors like Spielberg, Scorsese and DePalma.
    I think he’s one of the all-time greats, and every movie he directs gets my full and undivided attention.
    Hell, I even paid to see “Day of the Dolphin” and “The Fortune” twice back in the 70s!

  21. Cadavra says:

    I wasn’t knocking Nichols as a director, but I don’t find him to be an “auteur” in the least. He most often puts me in mind of studio vets like Clarence Brown who did “classy adaptations.” Look over his resume: almost every film makes you first think of the original author and/or the screenwriter instead of the director: VIRGINIA WOOLF, GRADUATE, CATCH-22, CARNAL KNOWLEDGE, BILOXI BLUES, HEARTBURN, POSTCARDS, BIRDCAGE, ANGELS IN AMERICA, CLOSER, even PRIMARY COLORS. And even a total wipe-out like WHAT PLANET ARE YOU FROM? will make you think Shandling before Nichols. The guy’s great, but he leaves no footprints.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon