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Kyle Smith (Twitter: @rkylesmith) is critic-at-large for National Review, theater critic for The New Criterion and the author of the novels Love Monkey and A Christmas Caroline. Type a title in the box above to locate a review.

Buy Love Monkey for $4! "Hilarious"--Maslin, NY Times. "Exceedingly readable and wickedly funny romantic comedy"--S.F. Chronicle. "Loud and brash, a helluva lot of fun"--Entertainment Weekly. "Engaging romp, laugh-out-loud funny"-CNN. "Shrewd, self-deprecating, oh-so-witty. Smith's ruthless humor knows no bounds"--NPR

Buy A Christmas Caroline for $10! "for those who prefer their sentimentality seasoned with a dash of cynical wit. A quick, enjoyable read...straight out of Devil Wears Prada"--The Wall Street Journal

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    “W.” To Generate Zzzzs at Box Office

    By Kyle | October 17, 2008

    From Dirty Harry: High-end estimates have the $55 million picture “W.” grossing $12 million this weekend, or maybe as low as $5 million. I can’t picture it cracking $10 million but I expect it will do well in France, where politics and entertainment don’t have the same division they do here. (Picture an entire country with the same taste as New York City.) The film really is only pitched to the most liberal one-fourth of the country, and even in that sector, I expect more people are tired of President Bush than eager to razz him with the kinds of sketches that they can see for free on the Daily Show or “SNL.” Word of mouth is going to be poor also, because the film largely avoids spinning outrageous conspiracy theories like “Fahrenheit 9/11,” a movie that, I remind you, implies that the Bush administration knew about or carried out 9/11 because its approval ratings were falling and it needed something to bring them back up.

    Topics: Movies, Politics | 14 Comments »

    14 Responses to ““W.” To Generate Zzzzs at Box Office”

    1. Hunter Tremayne Says:
      October 17th, 2008 at 12:14 pm

      You had to get these stats from that rightwing nutjob site “Dirty Harry?” Try Variety or Hollywood Reporter or Box-Office Mojo or Box-Office Prophets or Len Klady or, you know, some site that actually has a smidgen of credibility rather than the online equivalent of “Archie Bunker’s Place.”

    2. Stephan Says:
      October 17th, 2008 at 1:28 pm

      I just read your review of the movie. I have to say, for as much as you complain about how biased the movie is, your review is just as biased in the other direction. You clearly are a Bush supporter, and the movie is clearly a tirade on what has been an abominable administration. Whatever publication let you write this review was obviously not looking for an unbiased, legitimate review.

    3. Jules Says:
      October 17th, 2008 at 2:45 pm

      I can’t stand Oliver Stone movies and I can’t stand the idiot Bush. So two reasons not to watch the film.

      Meanwhile, Irish bookies Paddy Power have started paying out to people who bet on Obama.

      The Paloon Factor.

    4. kishke Says:
      October 17th, 2008 at 5:27 pm

      You clearly are a Bush supporter,

      Kyle, though is open about his biases, as any reader here knows. Stone, by contrast, pretends he has produced an even-handed film.

    5. kyle Says:
      October 17th, 2008 at 6:26 pm

      I never understand why people think they’re being insightful when they say I’m clearly a Bush supporter, or the like. Everyone voted either for or against him. Roger Ebert obviously voted against him. Everyone is biased. Why single me out? I think it’s because readers genuinely can’t compute when a writer expresses anything other than the conventional, liberal wisdom. It’s as if having one percent of film critics take a right-wing point of view is too much to tolerate.

    6. Donnie Says:
      October 17th, 2008 at 7:39 pm

      I saw it today and the house was more then half way filled.

      Furthermore I dont see what your so up in arms about? I thought the film did the best it could in showing a fair portrait of the President. It certainly didnt show him as a villian or a fool. Nor was it a hit piece. Quite the contrary. What it did show is a man who tried to do the right thing and failed miserably. That sounds like a pretty human story that almost anyone can identify with. I walked out of the theatre liking Bush alot better than I did walking in.

      What you seem to be upset about is any critcism at all.

      Do you really believe that oil was not even a small factor in the decision to go to war?

    7. James Frazier Says:
      October 17th, 2008 at 7:42 pm

      I caught the first showing today. Considering that I live in an Iowa town with a population of 35,000, the theater was healthily crowded. I see lots of movies during the first showing on opening day and few had this many people. But I live in a university town, so perhaps the demographic is stilted towards a decent turnout.

    8. Donnie Says:
      October 17th, 2008 at 8:21 pm

      An entire country with the same tastes as NYC? Sounds like heaven. Book me a one way flight with no return ticket.

      Vive le France!

    9. Gussy Says:
      October 17th, 2008 at 9:39 pm

      I will not be wasting one cent of my money on a hit piece done on a sitting president. Why hasn’t Stone or anyone else done anything on Bill Clinton, our first white trash president?

    10. kyle Says:
      October 17th, 2008 at 10:25 pm

      @Donnie, it is vive la France. Not le France. France is feminine. If you know what I mean.

    11. jic Says:
      October 17th, 2008 at 10:34 pm

      or, you know, some site that actually has a smidgen of credibility

      You mean like Nikke Finke, whom Dirty Harry spent over half his post quoting?

    12. Donnie Says:
      October 17th, 2008 at 11:12 pm

      I knew it was “la”. Darn it.

      And again I totally disagree that the film was a hit piece nor do I think that anyone being portrayed came off terribly. Not W, not Cheney, not Rumsfeld, and not Wolfowitz.

      The US did go around the UN and did alienate itself from Europe over Iraq. There is no disputing that.

      Stone obviously took artistic liberty with Cheney’s big moment, making the case for Iraq and the middle east in general, but then again, did it? Its venal, yeah, and harsh, but is it illogical? Not at all. We can always use oil. What I think the administration is guilty of most of all is hubris and not really thinking through the consequences of their grab for power nor the means to get it. Thats what I left the film with. W takes the Faustian bargain laid out by some of the men around him, Cheney and Rumsfeld specifically, and like Faust is destroyed by it.

    13. Patrick. Says:
      October 17th, 2008 at 11:38 pm

      I just saw the film in a packed theater in blood-red Indiana. Stone created a very tame and simplistic portrait of Bush. Did it have a slight bias? Yes, but it wasn’t prevalent enough to perceive the film as a direct attack.

    14. Dylan Says:
      October 20th, 2008 at 10:41 am

      “W.” isn’t quite up to the gold standard of “Nixon” (odd, since it was Nixon who took the U.S. dollar off the gold standard…), but it’s a well made film that accomplishes its (rather limited) objectives. I would’ve rather seen a three-hour opus with a bit more operatic grandeur.

      Incidentally, I’m wondering if Dirty Harry would be so kind as to point out where in Moore’s F9/11 it is “[implied] that the Bush administration knew about or carried out 9/11 because its approval ratings were falling and it needed something to bring them back up.”