Under the Radar

Woody Harrelson Brings Out the Humanity in 'LBJ'

Director Rob Reiner's movie "LBJ" (out now on Blu-ray and Digital) takes a curious approach to the life and career of President Lyndon Johnson. The Vietnam War, the conflict that came to define his presidency, barely gets a mention. Instead, we get a story about LBJ's conflicts with the Kennedy brothers and the legislative wizardry that led to passage of Medicare and civil rights legislation during his time in the White House.

Woody Harrelson has some impressive prosthetic ears and jowls that make him look remarkably like LBJ. We've got a clip from the home video bonus features that talks about the humanity he brings to the performance.

Rob Reiner is almost certainly a guy who protested the Vietnam War (he definitely played one on "The Beverly Hillbillies"), so it's fascinating to see him make a movie that focuses on the domestic policy accomplishments that LBJ himself would prefer as his legacy.

In this movie, the president is still the salty character who uses the toilet with the door open, special-orders his trousers with extra room in the crotch and who may or may not hold some racial views that aren't exactly in line with his civil rights agenda. You get most of the LBJ Greatest Hits here minus the distraction of war in Southeast Asia. You'll have to watch and decide for yourself if that's the movie he deserves.

 

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