Amazon Holiday

Monday, September 14, 2009


Q: What’s the movie about?

A: A documentary about the class action lawsuit against Chevron-Texaco by the inhabitants of the Amazon, who have received cancer, death and disease, in exchange for the destruction of their land and natural resources.

Q: Who’s in the movie?

A: A bunch of humanist lawyers, a bunch of lying deceitful lawyers, a bunch of plaintiffs, environmentalists, and a smattering of celebrities who care, including Sting and his wife, Trudy Styler-- which should come as no surprise to anyone who's seen Bruno, since he told us that Sting has the Rain Forests, and Bono has AIDS.

Q: Is this movie worth the price of admission?

A: PhotobucketProceed with Caution. The topic is interesting, and the arguments on both sides are compelling and eye opening, but the movie quickly becomes redundant as we see the same oil-filled riverbeds and lakes, hear the same stories of children with cancer over and over, and are repeatedly told how this is a "David and Goliath story."

Q: Will this movie make me laugh?

A: There is one funny scene about the difference between what it means to an American to come up with a plan, and what it means to an Ecuadorian to come up with a plan.

Q: Will this movie make me cry?

A: There are children dying of cancer all over this thing, and somehow, I didn't come close to crying. But I guess I'm pretty cold hearted.

Q: Will this movie be up for any awards?

A: There is an indigenous woman who sings an indigenous song at the beginning and the end that literally made my ears feel like they were bleeding. On the bright side, I'm glad I finally have cause to relate to that expression. On the dark side, I'm giving it the Nails on a Chalkboard Award.

Q: How is the Acting?

A: The American lawyer on the plaintiff's side, Steve Donzinger, is incredibly funny, charismatic, and animated. He holds the movie together. But where this movie really excels is in the antagonist department. Some of the most hateable people ever put on tape are in this film. And while it won't surprise you to know that they all work for Chevron, it might surprise you to learn that the worst of them is not a lawyer, but the company's staff environmentalist.

Q: How is the Directing?

A: Joe Berlinger directed Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, which is one of the most insightful and well crafted documentaries I've ever seen. I'm gonna take this opportunity to recommend you rent it asap, partly because I don't get that many opportunities to recommend it, but also partly because if I were to tell you how he did on this one, I'd have to repeat myself to tell you it's redundant.

Q: How is the story/script?

A: The way they describe the beauty of the Amazon as it was before the oil companies came in and killed and contaminated all the water and vegetation got me thinking about the story of Adam and Eve. What if it wasn't so much a story from the past, as it is a cautionary tale about the future? What if the story was trying to say that we already live in paradise? Currently, I mean. But if we are tempted by greed (the apple/evil) we will destroy our paradise, and cause it to become no longer liveable, at which point we will be banished from our Garden of Eden. Mostly because we will all die, but also because it will no longer be paradise, so even if we live, it will feel as if we have been banished.

Q: Is there anything else worth mentioning about the movie?

A: On a personal note of interest only to me and those of you who went to high school with me, there is a girl from our high school class in this film, who did not go to the reunion we recently had. Despite her absence from the reunion, I now know that she lives in New York and works for Vanity Fair. Ask me about her.

Q: Where can I see the trailer?


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