Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Thank You For Smoking - Promoting Discourse

This is my second post in what I'm aiming to have be a three-part series on "Promoting Discourse". (The first was my previous post, about Charlie Rose).

Several months ago I heard good things about the film "Thank You For Smoking". Basically, I heard that it "was funny."

I never got around to watching it though, until this past weekend. It is funny. Monstrously funny! At the same time, you finish the movie and it leaves you thinking.

The hero of the movie is Nick Naylor, a tobacco industry lobbyist. Despite the popular American hatred for big corporations in general, and Big Tobacco in particular, the movie does pull off making him the hero. Naylor's tool of choice is spin, and spin is precisely what this satirical comedy takes aim at.

Naylor also has to work through reconciling his job as a spin-artist with his role as a father. In the scenes where he's forced to confront those two conflicting realities, the film's libertarian undertones come out. (Maybe people should be able to decided for themselves if they want to smoke; maybe the government shouldn't be our nanny; etc).

The movie leaves you starkly aware of the spin-saturated environment we are now in, but also leaves you hoping for a brighter future with better discourse and increased liberty.

Many congratulations to Christopher Buckley (who wrote the novel the film is based on) and Jason Reitman (who directed the film) for pulling off such a wonderful story/movie. I sincerely hope it leaves people heartily entertained and also hungry for a less-spin-saturated future.

(Quick aside: the DVD for the film actually includes an interview of the movie cast with ... you guessed it, Charlie Rose. Brilliant.)

Allow me to conclude the post with two trailers for the film that I found on YouTube. I actually loathe trailers, generally, because they often give away too much of the film. I'm not sure either of these trailers do the film complete justice, but at least neither utterly gives away too much of the plot. I've been enjoying re-watching the trailers because they remind me how hilarious the movie was. :)

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