Historial films are really popping up all over Hollywood as we take a look back into the history of our nation's politics. The latest of these films is none other than LBJ. The film stars Woody Harrelson as our former president Lyndon Baines Johnson and the film gives us a look at his rise to the oval office from being the most powerful man in Congress to vice president and then president. This is hardly the first film we have seen about LBJ, but the question is how well does this one measure up? Well, let's break it down.
LBJ's story while mildly fascination if hardly enough to keep most of our attention for any actor filling his shoes. Harrelson does a decent job, but the source material leaves a lot to be desired. LBJ lacks a certain amount of star power on his own and was easily overshadowed by the Kennedy's when they were in the same room. The man did some great things in following JFK's legacy, but overall I have never been a huge fan of the man. While watching this film I spent probably the first half of it wondering why this needed to be made. We have seen this before and it brings nothing new to the table. The story is flat aside from its attempt at bringing drama to the plot by having us relive the JFK assassination in Dallas, but even that just doesn't really feel right. It is lacking something. Director Rob Reiner is definitely playing it safe with this film. There is no hard look at the chaos LBJ was thrust into after the death of John F. Kennedy. We see turmoil in his own party, but it never truly feels like a threat, it is almost like watching a Hallmark film where we know at the end of the movie everything is going to work out just fine. The film just carefully treads water, careful not to make to big of a splash one way or the other.
This is definitely not Rob Reiners best work. Not even close, but I do feel like we got to see the best of Woody Harrelson. He is the best thing about the movie, from his acting to his make-up. He is without question the star of the show and maybe given a better screenplay we could have really seen those talents shine, but sadly they are wasted in this lackluster film. Overall, we scored LBJ with a less than exciting D. If you are a history fan I would suggest waiting for this one to his the On Demand or digital platforms to watch. This isn't a film you will need to sprint to the theater to see this weekend. It is just one resounding meh...
LBJ opens in theaters everywhere November 3rd, 2017.