Everyone but ROGER EBERT seems to agree that OLIVER STONE’s W. sucks, but JOSH BROLIN aside, what we find weird is that anyone is surprised.
Sure, at one point in his career Stone collected Oscars like they were Boy Scout badges. Then there’s the fact that W. was released at a time when Bush bashing and political fervor were at all-time highs. It should have been an easy home run, but in recent years Stone’s output has been uneven, and at times, just plain bad. Did the filmmaker once famous for courting controversy become too comfortable? And did he really need to put in that bit about the pretzel?
After the jump check out our handy Oliver Stone Timeline and see how he has come undone for yourself. We’re calling the career shift at NATURAL BORN KILLERS.
PLATOON (1986) This gritty war flick — which was based Stone’s real life experiences in Vietnam — took home four Oscars, including the Academy Award for Best Director and Best Picture.
WALL STREET (1987) MICHAEL DOUGLAS grabbed an Oscar for his starring role in this oddly prescient Reagan-bashing tale of rampant greed and excess among shady stockbrokers; a sequel is now in the works.
TALK RADIO (1988) This often overlooked examination of how extreme behavior equates with better predates the golden age of shock jock radio; no Oscar nods, but Stone did get an Independent Spirit Award nomination.
BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY (1989) The second in Stone’s Vietnam series, this film, which is based on a true story, brought him a second Oscar win for Best Director; TOM CRUISE plays an injured veteran who becomes an anti-war activist.
JFK (1991) Stone was nominated for an Oscar for this examination of conspiracy theories surrounding JFK’s assassination; many critics complained that the screenplay was a misleading mixture of truth and fiction.
NATURAL BORN KILLERS (1994) This controversial story of serial killers who become media darlings was criticized for glorifying violence; co-writer QUENTIN TARANTINO, unhappy with the results asked that his name be removed from the credits.
U-TURN (1997) Stone was nominated for a Razzie Award for his directing work on this JENNIFER LOPEZ/SEAN PENN/NICK NOLTE film which had the tagline: “Sex. Murder. Betrayal. Everything that makes life worth living.”
COMANDANTE (2003) Wait, you didn’t see this documentary about Stone’s meeting with FIDEL CASTRO? That’s because due to controversial political events that went down in 2003, it was never released in the US.
ALEXANDER (2004) This extremely long and expensive period piece was a departure from Stone’s typical fare and a flop with both critics and audiences in the US — international viewers were much more receptive.
WORLD TRADE CENTER (2006) Another one of Stone’s based-on-a-true-story films, WTC played well in theaters but never garnered critical praise; many viewers were disappointed that he refrained from introducing any conspiracy theories.