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12. The Doors (1991)
Stone, who has spent so much of his career chewing over the '60s, essentially missed the '60s himself, because he was in Vietnam. This overblown psychedelic diorama can best be explained as his attempt to find out just what he missed by restaging it for the cameras. As for his attempt to celebrate Jim Morrison as a charismatic artist, one megalomaniacal specialist in Dionysian excess might not really be the best person to depict another one. Stone wanted to portray Morrison as a hero; Morrison's surviving family and friends complained that he'd just made him look like an obnoxious, bullying drunk. That says a lot about Stone's notions of heroism.
11. U Turn (1997)
Every big American director working between 1996 and 1998 was apparently required to make a Jennifer Lopez movie at some point. This pervy sun-baked noir with self-mocking elements — Jon Voight plays a wise old Indian spouting gnomic gibberish, in apparent parody of The Doors — was how Stone burned off that obligation . A wild-eyed mess of murders, betrayals, money grabs, and reckless eyeballing, it's a rare Stone picture that has no political message to push, which is kind of refreshing. The down side is that, since it has no political message to push, at a certain point you stop paying attention to the story and just start wondering why he bothered.
10. Talk Radio (1988)
Actor-playwright Eric Bogosian's 1987 play is set entirely in a radio station where a shock jock is doing his nightly show. His rant and the callers with whom he jousts are meant to provide a searing indictment of American society. With the blessing of Bogosian, who stars in the movie and co-wrote the screenplay, Stone expanded the material, bringing in flashbacks and a violent ending. Stone must have thought this would make the story bigger, but all it does is dilute the intensity. And the flashbacks mainly serve to provide a searing indictment of whoever made Bogosian's wigs.
9. W. (2008)
To make a movie about a sitting president during the last year of his administration, and release it at a point when even the people who'd voted for him mostly seemed to want to forget he existed, suggests desperation to be talked about. If that's what Stone wanted with W., it didn't work. (In its opening weekend, the film was trounced by Beverly Hills Chihuahua.) Richard Dreyfuss' performance as Dick Cheney practically deserves its own movie, but for the most part, W. plays like a feature-length Saturday Night Live sketch with the jokes missing.
8. JFK (1991)
Once upon a time, Stone touted this epic illustration of Jim Garrison's conspiracy theories as a film that would tell the real truth about the murder of President Kennedy. After a few news stories examining his sources in detail, he started giving interviews in which he shrugged and said that nobody really knew what happened to Kennedy, but that he hoped that by offering a "counter-myth" to the Warren Commission Report, he would get classified documents opened to the public. His counter-myth turned out to be an impenetrable dust storm of speculation, but it's quite a show, if you don't mind the suggestion that the Pentagon hired the gay Mafia to kill the President.
7. Natural Born Killers (1994)
Natural Born Killers is a nasty piece of work, and many sensible people see it as a glorification of serial murderers. As satire, it's decidedly unfunny (except when Robert Downey, Jr. is onscreen, and he'd be funny in Death Of A Salesman). And some of the stuff that should be satire appears to be meant seriously. But if Killers is stupid and morally questionable, it's also something to gape at: Stone takes his roman-candle approach to filmmaking all the way to madness, mixing and matching different film stocks like a hip-hop artist sampling different sounds. The film also has an amazing soundtrack, and a performance by Tommy Lee Jones that's like live-action puppet animation. No one's counted how many people who've seen it have been inspired to make their own movies. But the list of people who've allegedly seen it and been inspired to commit violent crimes has its own Wikipedia page.