Don’t miss Charlie Wilson’s War, a movie that will make you yearn for a day when even Democratic congressmen wanted to fight America’s enemies. It’s just a terrific movie. Joanne Herring, the sex-crazed, big-haired (but it looks great on Julia Roberts) Texas socialite who raises money through a Tri-Delt auction and says she has been “saved” is portrayed sympathetically. She gets Charlie Wilson, a rapscallion Texas congressman, interested in the plight of the Afghan people in their war with the Soviets. Tom Hanks is superb as Charlie Wilson. The movie opens with Charlie in a hot tub with some babes and an unscrupulous wannabe movie producer. My favorite line: “Boo Boo, no wonder you’re the press secretary,” he says affectionately when his female press secretary (like all the girls in the office very pretty) explains that Wilson has never been to rehab “because they don’t serve drinks there.” Philip Seymour Hoffman steals many scenes as the CIA agent who doesn’t fit the Ivy League mold-he’s a wildman who breaks things and really wants to whip the Soviets, as opposed to waging a war of attrition.
Aaron Sorkin, creator of the alternative White House with Martin Sheen, is the writer. So how politically correct was it? There was an implication that the Cold War had been ended by Charlie Wilson. He did do heroic and great things and helped bring down the evil empire. But Reagan, the recipient of one jab in the movie, was an even greater figure. But, surprisingly, the rest of the movie is just great.
The unintended message that somehow Sorkin didn’t get himself: Stay in Iraq and finish the job. I’m sure Sorkin didn’t intend it that way. But that’s how it came through at the end, when Wilson remarks that the exploits in Afghanistan were glorious and true, but that we lost by not staying and helping to rebuild Iraq-I mean, Afghanistan.