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Wednesday October 18, 2017
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Horns and Halos

 

continued

In a surreal moment, Hicks shows us George W. Bush's entire military file, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. Holding it up to the camera, he points out areas that could be construed as sensitive material and therefore have been blacked out — including Bush's answer to the question "Are you willing to volunteer for duty overseas?" At the time, Bush was beating his drum on the campaign trail, insisting he had been willing to serve in Vietnam.

The idealistic Hicks is totally committed to Hatfield. "We're in this together. . . . I'm not gonna sell you down the line," he assures the writer. Together they struggle for over a year to get the book back onto the shelves and into public awareness. The camera follows them while they do media appearances, where Hatfield answers questions about his past and the sources he refuses to name. Finally, in a last-ditch effort to bring the book to mainstream attention, Hicks tells a group of incredulous reporters that Hatfield's sources for the cocaine allegations are senior Bush advisors Karl Rove and Clay Johnson.

With that easily disproved claim, the film takes a stunning and depressing turn. Hatfield himself contributed the phrase "horns and halos." For him, it sums up what makes a good biography — the good and the bad. It also describes Hatfield himself, who sees himself as fighting the power of corporate media and of one of the nation's most prominent political families, but who ultimately must combat his own demons as well.

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