Journeys with George ia an unprecedented, all access pass to candidate George W. Bush in the months before he won the closest and most controversial presidential election in history. The documentary looks unflinchingly at ... more »the built-in conflicts, contradictions and seductions of big-time political reporting - and the tactics used by candidates to win over reporters over the course of months and months of campaigning.« less
Actor:Alexandra Pelosi Genres:Documentary Sub-Genres:Biography, Politics Studio:Hbo Home Video Format:DVD - Color DVD Release Date: 02/24/2004 Original Release Date: 03/14/2003 Theatrical Release Date: 03/14/2003 Release Year: 2004 Run Time: 1hr 19min Screens: Color Number of Discs: 1 SwapaDVD Credits: 1 Total Copies: 0 Members Wishing: 1 MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated) Languages:English, Spanish
"I hesitate to call this a documentary, it's more a well-edited video diary, and should be judged as such. George Bush is humanized to a great degree, in a way we heard about but rarely ever saw (or see) in the never-ceasing effort to mythologize the man. The relationship between the Governor and Pelosi is kind of sweet and unpretentious. Their encounter over her California absentee ballot, where GWB2 gives her some really amusing politician schtick about why she should vote for him is a great scene. The "Newsweek Man" flirtation theme was also great. One gets the sense that a lot of this press pool was very young, fairly inexperienced, and not nearly as sophisticated as they thought they were. The segues with the Texas print reporters (who, I think, were later responsible for the critical Rove bio "Bush's Brain") were also interesting, they actually knowing something about politics and about Bush. One gives an impromptu monologue analogizing Republican campaigns with a baloney sandwich that is priceless.One of the most noticeable features is the absence of much real journalism being practiced by the press pool. The closest we get to that is the late revelation of Bush's DUI, and we see Karen Hughes skillfully handling that. She is rarely in the film, but comes across as impressive, especially vis-a-vis Rove's pomposity. But in actuality, the press pool spent most of the time going through the motions, messing around, and being bored in an extended tour. I think a lack of curiosity became their most prevalent trait.So really, as is seen from the evident relief of other reviewers, this isn't by any means a Bush-bashing movie. Pelosi's liberal pedigree is clear from the start, and actually shapes her friendship with the Governor. He's a lot quicker than she is too, and she knows it. While there is a lot of tongue-in-cheek sequences poking fun at Bush-as-campaigner, most of the irony is directed at the travelling campaign circus, and we get a sense from Pelosi that she thinks of Bush and herself in a similar way: as sort of accidental participants in a fairly surreal process.So Bush Fans, ever wary of a devious liberal media out to persecute them, can rest easy. JOURNEYS WITH GEORGE, in the end, really critiques the pseudo-journalism of the press pool, and its evident mediocrity. If anything, it goes far to puncture one cherished myth, that the press is of some coordinated liberal conspiracy to destroy their heroes. That requires competence and will. Pelosi's only departure from utter docility was to question Bush about Texas executions, and she quickly retreated to docility after that. One reviewer below apparently sees this sheep-tendency of campaign journalists, "knowing their bounds," as their duty. I tend to think a press obedient to the powerful is anti-thetical to the whole profession, and Pelosi's diary here is one example of why hundreds of millions of dollars are used to run campaigns that the majority of the country is only dimly aware of."
Michael Benoit | Boston, MA | 01/07/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A must see movie. If you are at all interested in the inner-workings of a national political campaign and if you would like to see Dubya letting his gaurd down, you need JWG. I think that the Bush supporters will like him even more after seeing this and the Bush-haters out there will hate him even more. This film is very well put together."
This Movie Is Great!
Gary E. Robbins | Flagstaff, AZ United States | 12/04/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is great! It captures the wild pace of a presidential race. While Director Alexandra Pelosi is a liberal Democrat, she presents a fair and balanced view of George W. Bush while he was a candidate, and while he could be more relaxed and less scripted than he is now as President. Regardless of your politics, this movie is a joy to watch. It is a must-have for any political junkie.Thank goodness it is now coming out on DVD. Don't miss it! (Based upon reviewer seeing VHS tape, and not DVD.)"
Best documentary I've seen
Michael Benoit | 03/30/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a must see for Democrats and Republicans. Among other things, it gives incredible insight into what happens between a presidential candidate and his press circuit, and how that relationship can be manipulated to produce the candidate's desired results. This was well worth seeing when it first came out, and worth purchasing to share with others."
Send in the Clown
Doginfollow | Seattle, WA USA | 04/17/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Future historians of our era will puzzle over George W. Bush. How did a man of seemingly modest gifts and achievements find himself at the helm of the world's most powerful country? And why did he behave so strangely, alternating between grave purposefulness and breathtaking immaturity? Alexandra Pelosi's documentary of her travels with the 2000 Bush campaign will provide useful clues for future archeologists.
Though it is a political film, it contains almost nothing about issues or ideology, and only brief glimpses of tactics. But it is unmatched as a portrait of the sociology of the traveling campaign press corps and its simultaneously symbiotic/antagonistic relationship with the candidate it covers.
At first, Bush appears as a likeable, bantering prankster--more of a master of ceremonies than an aspirant to lead the free world. Like the fraternity president he once was, Bush knows how to create an atmosphere of fun. At the same time, with a slight turn in the mood or setting, he can be an alarming clown. Bush's lack of gravitas momentarily appears to be the central subject of the film.
But it is not. Bush gradually reveals himself to be a more subtle operator. "I am a student of human nature," he tells Pelosi, and the claim rings absolutely true. His jokes and jabs are anything but uncalculated--there is always an edge, either to put the recipients off-balance or to pull them closer to Bush. He uses this jocularity as a form of seduction, as does his campaign at large. The fun in the back of the press plane is not a random phenomenon but an elaborately staged bonding ritual.
Why no 5th star? Pelosi only hints at the larger implications of Bush's seduction of his traveling coterie of reporters. Did they begin to link Bush's success with their own career prospects (i.e., four years as chief White House correspondent)? If so, why didn't the same thing happen with the much more hostile pack of reporters who covered Gore? And how did this shape the result of the election? These questions remain unanswered in a documentary that remains unapologetically within the campaign's "bubble.""