Charlie Wilson’s War (2007, Mike Nichols)

Starts with the ending, no opening credits.

Written by Aaron Sorkin, dude who made “West Wing” and “A Few Good Men”. Director of “Closer”. Where have Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts been? Only in one movie each for the past three years. Phil S. Hoffman stole the show just like everyone said. I watched all three of his 2007 movies in a two-week period, and would say he was the most likeable in this one. Tom’s assistant Amy Adams was the princess in “Enchanted” and a naked girl he almost has sex with was Emily Blunt from that fashion comedy.

Story of senator Charlie Hanks Wilson who, with the support of FBI nerd Hoffman and crush christian society woman Roberts, gets congress to eventually funnel a half billion dollars into arms and training for afghani forces to fight back soviet forces and thus turn the tide in the cold war towards the defeat of communism. It’s an engrossing and exciting story even though it’s just a buncha guys talking fast at each other and making phone calls, and the movie gets its reason to exist in the last few minutes. Half a billion for arms, then a year later Charlie can’t get one million approved for rebuilding schools in Afghanistan.

“These things happened. They were glorious and they changed the world… And then we fucked up the end game.”

Another movie with a killer ending. There were a bunch of those this year. Throws a ton of information your way but doesn’t quite connect all the dots for you, and avoids mentioning in postscript anything about our current Iraq/Afghan situation. Okay, so you’d have to be some kinda “August Rush” loving moron to not draw those connections immediately by yourself, but still Katy appreciated its restraint. I think Paul is complaining that it didn’t go far enough in criticizing the American war-waging machine, but I think it’s pretty awesome to drop this movie right before the presidential caucuses, in the middle of award season, starring three huge oscar winners, with an extremely relevant message to our wars in the middle east, and besides I’m not sure that Paul even saw it. I guess “Lions For Lambs” tried the exact same thing, but I hear it sucked. And I know the western union quote about message movies, but this week I’m into the idea that a mass-market movie should have something to say besides “look at all the pretty killing”, which is why I’m starting to think I like “Juno” better than “No Country For Old Men”.

This and “Enchanted” were the first movies I saw in ’08, but I’m behind on my journal entries so stuff like “The Savages” is showing up in January.

Katy liked it too.

BIG UPDATE: I got harshly corrected by the film group on this one, and now have to add that Charlie Wilson’s War (and everyone involved in its making) is fascist. And I’m not so sure that I like Juno anymore either. Bleah.