Why isn’t ‘W.’ screening in Portland?

Here’s a puzzlement. Oliver Stone’s “W.,” a satirical biography of a fellow by the name of George W. Bush (haven’t heard of him), opens next Friday and is being screened for critics in most markets on Tuesday night. Yet it’s not screening in Portland at all.

One’s first instinct is that Lionsgate is trying to save money by only screening it in the largest markets. But that doesn’t wash: It is screening, for example, in Salt Lake City and Charlotte, N.C., both of which have smaller populations and fewer media outlets than Portland. So if they’re trying to save money by screening it in fewer cities, they’re choosing those cities strangely.

Maybe they’re not screening it in cities where they fear it won’t be received very well? Also illogical, given Portland’s famed liberalism and Salt Lake City’s (and possibly Charlotte’s) conservatism.

Whatever the reason, it’s got Portland’s newspaper film critics agitated. Our heaviest hitter, Shawn Levy, who writes for The Oregonian, told Jeff Wells that his paper won’t review the film at all — not an after-the-fact review, not review from the wire services, nothin’. He said our two weeklies, Willamette Week and the Portland Mercury, have issued the same decree.

Maybe Oliver Stone hates Portland because he knows it’s where I live and he remembers my article making fun of the press junket I attended for his last film, “World Trade Center”? Probably not. Paradoxically, the only person who could ever swallow a conspiracy theory that contrived and unlikely would be Oliver Stone himself.