This Week's Review: "Charlie Wilson's War"

I am old enough to remember bomb shelters. In fact, my father spoke about building one on several occasions. He theorized that eventually the Cold War would heat up and the communists would drop a bomb on the United States. He spoke freely of this, not realizing what kind of effect it might have on my young psyche. We should be better prepared when the Ruskies drop the big one, he would say. Who knows how long we might have to live underground before the earth is habitable again? Any child growing up between 1950 and 1970 understood that the two dominate world powers the USSR and the United States had enough nuclear firepower pointed at one another to end humanity many times over. And if you momentarily forgot about the possibility of nuclear annihilation, the fallout shelter signs attached to most public buildings stood as a constant reminder of the threat. Every morning as I entered school I glanced up at the yellow and black sign hoping today wasnt the day that all hell would break loose. I remember lying in bed imagining what the surface of the earth might look like after a nuclear attack or how long my family could exist off rations of beans and Spam. My friends and I also played a game in the backyard called apocalypse, the premise being that after a nuclear attack by the Russians, those exposed to radiation would become flesh-eating zombies (this was basically flashlight tag with moaning). Even the cartoons I watched were laden with subtle references to the communist threat. Most notable was The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show whose two bumbling evildoers, Boris and Natasha, gave a generation of children a one-sided idea of what Soviet citizens were like. My father helped perpetrate the evil communist myth by constantly reminding me that Russian children were assigned a lifelong occupation at birth. In Russia you could be a sewer worker surviving off rat meat, he would say. Now eat your beans and stop complaining! I was old enough during the Vietnam War to know that, although we were fighting the Vietnamese, we were ultimately trying to halt the spread of communism. The same idea held true when I was in college and the Soviets moved into Afghanistan. Strangely though, the Afghans pushed the Soviets out of their country. How was it possible that a bunch of sheepherders could defeat one of the most powerful armies on earth? Something didnt add up. Well, with the release of this weeks feature, Charlie Wilsons War, we finally learn the truth about the Afghan conflict and how one man virtually ended the war himself. This film is based on actual events and with a little research I found that, unlike a lot of pictures that make this claim, much of what is presented in Charlie Wilsons War is very factual. I highly encourage you to see this picture if you have any interest in politics or world events. The story of what Mr. Wilson did in itself is intriguing. Couple it with a director like Mike Nichols (The Graduate The Birdcage Closer) and a screenwriter like Aaron Sorkin (A Few Good Men The West Wing) and actors of the caliber of Tom Hanks and Philip Seymour Hoffman and you have one of the best films of 2007. I predict not only a nod for Best Picture and Best Director, but also a few accolades for acting as well. Charlie Wilsons War is what going to the movies is all about: great acting, tight dialogue, a spattering of humor throughout, and an immersion into the story that has you forgetting where you are. Dont walk run to see this film as soon as possible. Movies like this dont come around too often. A sharp and pointed A- for Charlie Wilsons War. Cant decide what to watch?
Check out Doms Video Pick Of The Week


Heres a selection for anyone whos musically inclined. Once is the story of two young musicians living in Ireland. They are both involved in unrelated personal dramas that have left their lives stagnant. When the two combine their music, however, their wounds begin to heal. This is a very low rent film, complete with inferior production values and inexperienced actors. Oddly though, Once captures something unique. By embracing its raw aspects, the film comes across as very real, almost documentary. Apart from the magic created by the two main actors, Once incorporates a soundtrack that is incredibly moving. This is unplugged street music delivered with the intensity of someone who has lived the words they are singing. Check this one out if you are a musician of any type as the artistic process is beautifully exposed.

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