The Self-Indulgent Genius.

Let's not kid ourselves here, Oliver Stone makes a whole lotta crap. You can easily point to his last two films, 'Alexander' and 'World Trade Center' as the beginning of the end, but really the writing has been on the wall for some time.

Which is sad, because he has two films that easily vie for my Top 10 with 'Natural Born Killers' and 'JFK' respectively.

You can split up Stone's career into two halves, Pre and Post 'Heaven & Earth'. See, up until that point, you can find nothing but hits on his record. 'Platoon'. 'Wall Street'. 'Born On The Fourth Of July'. 'The Doors'. 'JFK'. All those films preceeding JFK gave him the reputation of a born money-maker. He was on the fast-track to Scorcese-like success. But, JFK put him over the top. From then on, he had the freedom to make every single film thereafter a Passion Project. He no longer had to worry about the bottom line or making a profit because his name alone became the draw. Oliver Stone could pick up the big guns in Hollywood to be in his pictures and he could make his films his way. Fuck it, you want a 3+ hour biopic about the assassination of John F. Kennedy? Done. You want to build an incomprehensible frenzy that glorifies serial killers? Do it. You want ANOTHER 3+ hour biopic about Richard Fucking Nixon that'll go on to tank in the box office? Let it be.

Oliver Stone has always had this fetish for all things 60s. He's made three Vietnam War movies, then The Doors, JFK, Nixon; but he's also a major history buff, which explains his interest in Alexander The Great. And I know this is a stretch, but he grew up with the popularization of the National Football League, hence 'Any Given Sunday'. It's impossible to fault the guy for his choice in topics, he's making movies about things that most interest him. But still, the execution is sometimes questionable.

After the cult success of 'Natural Born Killers' (screenplay written by Quentin Tarantino), things kinda went to shit. NBK is great because Stone employs an indie-flick style of film-making with a big Hollywood budget. Just watching the fucking thing, with the random flashbacks and the psychedelic shit on the walls, you feel like you're losing your fucking mind just watching it. It puts you into the mind of a serial killer without the desire to actually go out and kill. Plus, it shits all over the media and has a crazyhouse riot scene at the end where Tommy Lee Jones gets beheaded.

But then Stone followed that up with Nixon and a mindless mindfuck by the name of 'U-Turn'. It's all about a guy whose car breaks down in a small desert town. As he's getting it fixed, shit happens, and then at the end of the movie it turns out his car's still fucking broken. Nothing's happened, nothing's resolved, it's just one big fucking excuse to see Jennifer Lopez's tits!

OK, so maybe that isn't the worst thing in the world. But still.

After that, he's sort of become box-office cyanide. In ten short years he managed to kill off what was once an all-time great career. And 'Alexander' - five years later - sure as shit didn't do anything to turn things around.

I used to really admire Oliver Stone because when I was a kid he was the only director who I KNEW. I could tell you three or four movies I really liked and I ALWAYS looked forward to anything he had to say thereafter. At the time, I fucking loved U-Turn and Any Given Sunday, but now that I watch them again, with a few years' perspective, I have to admit the sad truth: the great one has lost his touch. It's like people who were supposedly blown away by Stanley Kubrick's 'Eyes Wide Shut'. Really? Have you seen it lately?

I'm sorry, but even the greatest directors decline in their golden years. Quentin Tarantino will produce shitty movies in ten years; as will David Fincher, Joe Carnahan, and the Coen Brothers. What we have to do is cherish the great films they've given us and not be surprised when their blunders fall flat.