Here’s another movie to watch this holiday season (after you’ve seen There Will Be Blood, of course):
Charlie Wilson’s War is based on George Crile’s book of the same name, which details the exploits of Congressman Charlie Wilson, a man who, in between cavorting in hot tubs with strippers and doing lines of coke, occasionally dragged himself to the Capitol building to represent the Texas 2nd Congressional District. While Wilson was liberal on many social issues, he was a hawk when it came to foreign policy, and a huge supporter of the Afghan Mujahideen, who were then struggling to expel the Soviet Army from Afghanistan. Wilson used his position on the Defense Appropriations subcommittee to funnel millions of dollars to the CIA, which in turn provided the Afghan Muj with training and weapons, including, most importantly, Stinger missiles to bring down the feared Mi-24 Hind gunship.
I read Crile’s book about four years ago and really enjoyed it, although by the end I wanted to throw it against the wall, as I was so disgusted that multi-million dollar covert operations that changed the course of history (some for the better, and some for the worse) were basically spearheaded by a drunken Congressman and right-wing Houston socialite. Seriously. Read the book. Maybe then you will conclude, as I did, that we shouldn’t let Texans make any foreign policy decisions whatsoever.
Or, if you’d rather not read the 500 pages, you could just see the movie, which stars Tom Hanks as Charlie Wilson, Julia Roberts as Joanne Herring, the aforementioned wealthy Houston socialite, and Philip Seymour Hoffman as Gust Avrakotos, the profane CIA agent in charge of the Afghan operation.
When they first announced Hanks in the role of Wilson, my first reaction was “WTF?” Hanks is a solid actor, for sure, but I couldn’t really see him playing this gregarious Congressman from Texas. He seems to play the character well from what we’ve seen in the trailer, though, so whatever. I’m not really sold on Julia Roberts as Herring, but Julia Roberts annoys me anyways. And the screenplay? Written by the godly Aaron Sorkin of A Few Good Men and West Wing fame (we’ll forgive him for Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip).
Charlie Wilson’s War opens Christmas Day, and what better way to spend Christmas Day than by watching a movie with tons of gunfire and explosions?