January 17, 2008
juno move poster
Doane Gregory/Fox Searchlight Pictures

Reviewer: KT


Joanne Herring: Why is Congress saying one thing and doing nothing?

Charlie Wilson: Well, tradition mostly.

Larry Liddle: Does the Congressman only hire beautiful women?

Charlie's Angel #2: As the Congressman says, "you can teach them to type, but you can't teach them to grow tits."

Review: Charlie Wilson's War- very interesting. I had read the book and can remember I was half way through before I realized it was non-fiction. I could hardly believe the book was about a Texas congressman

In the movie,Charlie Wilson, played by Tom Hanks, is a benign Congressman from Texas who comes off dumb like a fox. In a weird sort of way, he gets recruited by Joanne Herring, a Texas socialite, to help the Afghans defeat the Soviets who have taken over Afghanistan.

Joanne Herring's interest and involvement is not very well-defined in the movie like it is in the book. Julia Roberts who plays Herring is a social climbing power broker who uses whatever or whomever is available(I might be too harsh). Regardless, in this case, her cause happens to be a noble one at least at first blush.

Charlie mainly figures out how to funnel money to the tribes fighting the Russians. Charlie Wilson and his cohorts would routinely appropriate money for the Afghans, it was like handing out play or monopoly money. And, guess what? It was the taxpayers money.

(Just a little history: Supposedly, the Soviets invaded Afghanistan to ensure that a pro-Soviet regime would be in power in the country. The Soviet invasion shocked the West. President Carter pulled us out of the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow. The Mujahideen, as the Afghan rebels were called, were fighting the Russians with WW l Springfield rifles.

Enter Charlie Wilson and a rogue CIA agent, Gust Avrakotos[more of a dominate figure in the book] who figured out how to arm the Afghan guerrillas with heavy weaponry, mainly to shoot down the very lethal Soviet helicopters. Ultimately the Afghan Mujahideen fought the Soviets to a standstill. The Soviets withdrew, as Afghanistan had become the equivalent of America's Vietnam-a lost cause. Some think, with the Soviets abandoning Afghanistan, it was the beginning of the end of the Soviet empire and the end of the cold war.)

Charlie Wilson's War could be seen as a fairly philosophical view on America interfering in the affairs of other countries. Had not Charlie Wilson interfered, maybe the Russians would have stayed or kept a presence in Afghanistan and prevented the Taliban from taking over and thus we might have avoided 9-11- all speculation as history is written backward, never forward.

When the credits began to roll, this statement flashed on the screen from Charlie Wilson: "Charlie Wilson: These things happened. They were glorious and they changed the world... and then we f----up the endgame. Did we ever? Like in Iraq-we never figured out how to deal with the peace.

F....... up the endgame was not providing for education and the basics for a devastated Afghan (or Iraqi) society. However, I'm not sure education would have done it. Now, in hindsight, with all that has happened, meaning we are where we are in the course of history, maybe we're doing the best we can. Who knows? 2 parachutes.
2 parachutes

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