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Aaron Sorkin Steals a Great Role From Julia Roberts

by FPS Doug Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 05:04:50 PM EST

Charlie Wilson's War should have belonged to Julia Roberts, playing Joanne Herring, the Texas socialite who made Charlie Wilson dance like a horny little puppet for her friends in Pakistan. Instead we get Tom Hanks in yet another role that he turns into something likeable in the same way that everybody likes oatmeal.

In this case the oatmeal is Charlie Wilson, a Congressman with nothing remarkable about him except a taste for militant Christian babes and cocaine, which would make him a dead ringer for Aaron Sorkin and his little thing for coke and Kristen Chenowith, except that instead of a third-tier TV star, Charlie Wilson hooked up with a fanatical aristocratic adventuress who should have been the basis for one of the greatest roles ever played by a mature American actress, and Julia Roberts was perfect for it!  

If Aaron Sorkin had written Erin Brockovich he would have named it Ed Masry, after the old lawyer played by Albert Finney, and Albert Finney would have been the star. Whatever it takes to keep women just slightly out of the spotlight!

Mainstream critics like Roger Ebert are so embedded in the sexist Hollywood paradigm that they totally buy into Sorkin's version of Joanne Herring as a bit player in the story of Charlie Wilson:

Charlie Wilson's War is said to be based on fact, and I have no reason to doubt that. It stars Tom Hanks as Rep. Charles Wilson, a swinging, hard-drinking, coke-using liberal Democrat from Texas who more or less single-handedly defeated the Russians in Afghanistan.

As dim as his review may be, Ebert still mentions the odd little fact that it was Joanne Herring who dreamed up the only really brilliant ploy in the whole crazy operation:

Problem was, the United States couldn't afford to have American-made weapons found in Afghanistan. Herring's solution: The Israelis had lots of shoulder-mounted Soviet-made anti-aircraft weapons, which they could supply to the Afghans through the back channel of Pakistan? What? asks Charlie. Pakistan and Israel working together? Herring arranges for Wilson to meet her personal friend General Zia, the military dictator of Pakistan, who hates the Russians as much as she does.

Yeah, Roger, Pakistan and Israel working together, and neither you or Charlie Wilson or Aaron Sorkin could have imagined it or made it happen in a million years!

But you can't really expect a middle-brow movie reviewer like Roger Ebert to understand the back story. That was Aaron Sorkin's responsibility, and instead he rubber-stamped the whole project with his testosterone world-view, where men are the center of everything, and women help.

Would somebody please throw this sexist, burned-out old coke-rummy Aaron Sorkin out of Hollywood before he vomits all over another screen near me!

As this movie has been promoted as the story of the (American) man who singlehandedly won/ended the Cold War or forced the collapse of the Soviet Union, I've tried to stay as far far far away from it as possible.  I think I plan to remain that way.


"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 06:01:06 PM EST
Look on the bright side. At least that man isn't Ronald Reagan.

(And, as all true lovers of history know, it was David Hasselhoff who singlehandedly ended the cold war!)

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde

by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 06:25:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure you know how right you are... a drunken Hasselhoff in the crazy jacket with lamps at the Berlin Wall is a memory to behold...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 03:47:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What a smart review, FPS Doug!  It makes good sense, and I will remember when I see the movie on tv.

Late as usual, but I get to most diaries and I am glad I caught yours.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Tue Jan 1st, 2008 at 12:32:55 PM EST

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