Kate (kate_nepveu) wrote,

Week in Review

This weekend the yard turned into a swamp and the dog sulked; we finished watching Fullmetal Alchemist and I wrote a whopping huge post blithering about it; Chad and I were both under the weather and will both be calling our doctor tomorrow; and we saw Thank You For Smoking. Only the last of these is worth talking about here.

Thank You for Smoking is based on Christoper Buckley's satire about a lobbyist for the tobacco industry. Chad has read the book, but I haven't, because I don't like satire. And that pretty much sums up my reaction to the movie: I don't like satire.

As an adaptation, it sounds like a pretty good job. The book was written before the big settlements, and so necessarily had to be revised to take all that into account; the movie also streamlined and de-weirded the story, and punched up the main character's relationship with his son. (It doesn't have so much a plot, as things happening one after another. This mostly didn't bother me when I was watching, but is obvious in retrospect.) The spirit of the thing seems to have survived quite well, judging by Chad's comments, or even better in some respects. It's generally a well-cast, smooth, clever, cynically amusing movie.

Except that the protagonist and main point-of-view character is a tobacco lobbyist who does it because he can, he's good at it, and he's got to pay the mortgage. The movie doesn't hide his (or anyone else's) hypocrisy, manipulation, or deck-stacking; but he's still the main character and therefore there's this instinctive urge to root for him, which I really didn't want to do. Even beyond that, though, every time there was a quiet moment, my backbrain screamed at the screen, "You're evil! Evil evil evil!"

This would be the "don't like satire" part of the problem.

I should say that I expected not to like it, but we needed to get out of the house and the only thing I really wanted to see, Inside Man, wasn't playing at convenient times. I did enjoy it a lot more than I expected to—honestly, I expected to shut my eyes a few minutes in and take a nap—but I did enjoy it for quite a lot of the time, just not in sum, if that makes sense.

Verdict: if you like satire, it's probably worth seeing.

(Oh, and we also got the trailer for United 93, which I shut my eyes for. As Chad put it, Thank You for Grief-Pimping. Not.)

Tags: [time] in review, movies

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