Monday, December 31, 2007

What I'm Watching...

You can't make this stuff up. "Charlie Wilson's War" tells a most unlikely, yet true story that combines earnest American idealism, silly American libertinism, ingenious American can-do spirit, and ultimately, a pertinent example of American political attention deficit disorder. Good-time Charlie (Congressman Wilson) helps the underdogs (the Afghans) defeat an Evil Empire (the Soviet Union)!

The story is told briskly in broad strokes with plenty of winks and good humor. In Christianity Today, reviewer Brandon Fibbs puts it this way, "It is drama played for laughs, reality repackaged as satire, politics filtered through farce."

Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams stand out in their roles complementing Tom Hanks, who plays liberal playboy congressman Charlie Wilson with the right balance of frivolity and feeling. Julia Roberts is regal as the right-wing Texas socialite who spurred Wilson on to arm the mujahideen in Afghanistan so they could defeat the Soviet army in the 1980's.

That defeat was a key step in bringing down the U.S.S.R. and ending the Cold War. Game won. If only international relations wrapped up with a final buzzer, but life goes on. What brought down the Soviets created Osama Bin Laden and invigorated Islamic fundamentalism. And here we are today.

When Pandora opened her box, evil went forth and the box became empty, except for one thing—Hope. You've got to smile to think that folks like Charlie Wilson can get religion and give us hope! If only they didn't have to open those boxes to find it.

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