Movies worth seeing

About that small town thing...there isn't anything to do here but see movies. The first (Evan Almighty) was a major disappointment, but the rest have been decent.

Live Free or Die Hard: I'm a sucker for action movies, especially ones involving weird destructive shenanigans that could never really happen in real life. Live Free or Die Hard has a long list of them. There were generally a lot of interactions between flying and driving vehicles including a few scenes involving helicopters that were so ridiculous that I laughed aloud. That is to say, they were totally awesome. There were some hokey events along the way, including the Mac kid making a pass at Bruce Willis's daughter.

Overall, it was good in a "holy crap, did that really just happen? That was totally sweet" kinda way. My only complaint is that all of the action came at the expense of character development. Characters ended up being stereotypes rather than archetypes--the NYPD cop, the hot, sort of useless daughter, and computer geeks in three varieties: naive, isolated, and angry. I also would have liked better villians. Timothy Olyphant wasn't really believable as an ex-computer nerd turned evil. His character either needed to be more official/militant (like all those other government dudes), or sort of a dirty pseudo-hipster turtleneck wearer. Despite all that, definitely worth seeing, and so much better than that piece of crap, Evan Almighty.

I had to head over to the big city to see Sicko last night. There were so many things wrong with the scene: the giant theater (complete with food court), the long US Army commercial before the movie, and the fact that a ticket costed nearly TWICE as much as the cute little theater in town. I was probably just grumpy as a result, because I thought the beginning of Sicko was pretty slow. Michael Moore seems to have generally toned it down a bit, a bit too much. I loved Bowling for Columbine and thought Farenheit 9/11 was too critically subdued and patriotic, so I wasn't expecting a whole lot of virulent political commentary from Sicko. I was right. More of an expose than a documentary, Sicko tries to communicate two basic ideas: that universal healthcare should be accepted as a public good by everyone, regardless of their political affiliation, and that greed causes ordinary people to ruthlessly accept the deaths of others in order to make a profit.

Surprisingly, there wasn't as much anti-corporate commentary as anti-insurance industry criticism. Moore fairly successfully exposes the systematized norm of profiteering that pervades an industry that thrives on creating and maintaining sickness to keep itself afloat. A key part of the expose is the contrast of the American privatized healthcare system with the socialized/state-run systems of Canada, England, France, and Cuba. I have a sneaking suspicion that there are probably some problems with those systems too, but I thought Moore captured the culture created by nationalized healthcare pretty well. Doctors were well off, people had all kinds of services (including mandatory sick leave and childcare), and the average family wasn't swimming in taxes.

If I had made this movie, I don't think I would have been able to contain my anger quite as well as Moore did. Overall, it was too tame for my taste. Besides the occasional sarcastic comment, there wasn't much finger pointing, nor was there a strategy or plan of action (except for the socialization of medicine, maybe). Perhaps the radical in me feels that Moore is moderating himself too much to avoid criticism from the right.

Two of my friendss who have movie blogs and saw both of these movies with me should be writing about them soon. Check them out.


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