It is common for television shows and political cartoons to poke fun at a current president and their staff in particular, but rarely does the entertainment industry churn out professional films and Broadway plays critiquing the current president, their policies, and their cabinet around them.
President Bush has undoubtedly made mistakes in his term, and with his approval rating where it is, he will not likely go down as one of America’s great leaders. But does that mean that the country has to jump on the chance to create not only full-length plays, but also biographical movies about his still incomplete term? The new President of the United States is not inaugurated until January of 2009 and directors and writers cannot even wait until then to push out their material.
The first notable work to come to the scene was the famous Broadway play called “November,” a comedy by David Mamet. Though it is about a president called “Charles Smith” (Colorfully portrayed by Nathan Lane on Broadway) who does not resemble the current George W. Bush to a tee, there are the moments that hold a quick, jabbing remark that let the audience know it is being critical upon the current real president.
The play has not been approved by anyone in Bush’s cabinet or the man himself, and people like to brag when the play is put on. It is indeed hilarious, and with its satire on current situations, it is not as unfitting as other works out portraying President Bush.
“W” was released to theatres with viewers slightly shocked at it. This was the first really different thing from the many satires targeting Bush. This film is an interesting portrayal of his life up from college to a historical press conference that he gave on going to war in Iraq.
Though the movie was interesting, it has more of a place appearing in theatres several years from now, not while Bush is still in office. Even while waiting to watch the movie, a commercial is played advertising a movie about Nixon and his presidency shows up, with actors assigned that give a scarily accurate impersonation of Richard Nixon and other people from the time.
One thing that gives the movie “W” a surreal look is that it’s characters such as George W. Bush (Josh Brolin), Dick Cheney (Richard Dreyfuss), and even Condoleezza Rice (Thandie Newton) are portrayed so accurately, so perfectly that it is almost alien to look at these clones on the screen and then back to the real people puttering around in the White House.
And the movie is not a satire, but a biographical interpretation of the president’s still incomplete service to the White House. The movie leaves almost an awkward feeling in the person’s stomach. Unlike the biting satires people are used to, it is something that is usually produced 20 years after the president has left the oval office.
The bottom line is that though satires are common about US Presidents in the form of skits and cartoons, it might be a far cry to make biographies and commentaries about an event in history not yet complete. Bush’s term at least needs time to sink into people’s heads so they may analyze the years behind them.
Or is Hollywood afraid everyone will suppress the memory of his term before they can make any movies on it? A satire makes more sense for a rush performance because they depend on the jokes being relevant to the time period, but perhaps America should step off of its idea of needing instant gratification and wait to critically examine these past eight years.