If it weren't so tragic, it would be funny: A failed mission spearheaded by Hugo Chávez and director Oliver Stone to free three hostages held by Marxist guerrillas in the Colombian jungle (Guardian). Sounds like a plot for a movie directed by a conspiracy spouting director starring a Venezulean populist despot who numbers as his friends fellow dictators Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Fidel Castro and Vladimir Putin. Stone should feel right at home among these crazies. (Unless, of course, he's pulling an Idi Amin Dada, Barbet Schroder's unforgettable docu where the strongman's own words and actions betray him to the camera.)

Convincing one and all that he was the man for the job, Chavez fell flat in his star-making attempt to bring life to the myth that he is endowed with superpowers that demand that he, in true old Hollywood fashion, ride to the rescue on a white horse with director in tow. Oh well, it makes for a better reality show than a movie anyway.

Photo caption via HuffingtonPost -- U.S. film director Oliver Stone, left, stands with a pilot at a military base in Villavicencio, Colombia, Monday, Dec. 31, 2007. A mission to retrieve three rebel-held hostages from Colombia's jungles was on standby Monday, with observers waiting for the guerrillas to give the pickup point's coordinates to Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez....