The question is, if you're going to make a political movie based on a true story, how "true" do you have to be, and is it fair play to make such a film that works as purely entertainment, even if you fudge the facts a little? There are two things going on withinCharlie Wilson's War, which stars the affable Tom Hanks as the title character, a liberal Democratic congressman from Texas with an affinity for single-malt scotch whiskey and women. The first thing is an entertaining story about a good ol' boy from Texas, a hard drinking skirt-chaser who, if we're to believe Hanks' take on the character, wasn't so bad, really. Oh, maybe he called his staff of sexy, all-female all-stars "jailbait," drank heavily, and partied in Vegas with Playboy models while surrounded by cocaine, but heck, y'all, that doesn't make him a bad guy, does it? Shoot, he's just a rascally sort, and after all, he's from Texas, where the good ol' boys are, so that makes it all okay.

But, okay, let's toss that aside and say that in spite of his flaws, he really did, underneath, care about his job, at least enough to look up from the nekkid women in the hottub in the first scene of the film long enough to notice that Dan Rather is wearing a turban, and astute enough to realize it might be interesting to know why. The second thing that's happening in Charlie Wilson's War is the story of what happened after Wilson gets interested in Afghanistan: In the summer of 1980, Wilson reads a dispatch about the hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing Afghanistan in the wake of the Soviet invasion; Wilson, newly appointed to the Defense Appropriations subcommittee, casually orders the CIA funding for Afghanistan doubled from five million to ten million, and presto, it's done. But not quite finished.