March 23rd, 2008


"The Straight Story" and "The Insider"

So, I kid you not. Well, really, I do, sometimes. But not right this next bit. I got a fortune on Saturday saying, and I'm transcribing from the piece of paper in question, "A movie would be a great way to relax this weekend." There's also a picture of a bee, so you know it's true.

Based on the wisdom of the fortune bee, I watched "The Straight Story" with my parents on Saturday, and I watched "The Insider" tonight. Both are good, both have compelling story arcs, making you wonder if the central conflict will end up in a happy ending or a disappointment. I won't spoil the endings here, but I will say that each of these films are worth seeing.

A tiny synopsis for each one, in case it helps:

The Straight Story is a movie based on an actual event, where an old guy rode a lawnmower across Iowa to mend his relationship with his ailing brother. Beautiful scenery, surprisingly sentimental fare for David Lynch (Eraserhead, Twin Peaks, Dune).

The Insider tells the story behind the headlines - a tobacco industry executive decides to reveal a corporate cover-up, but only after a chance connection with a producer at 60 minutes. A movie where there are a few bad guys (it's hard to paint Big Tobacco as a hero), but all the good guys have a hard time getting along, since everybody has conflicting motives and constraints. Contains the quote: "What do you think? I'm going to resign in protest? [...] The answer's 'no'. I don't plan to spend the end of my days wandering in the wilderness of National Public Radio. THAT decision I've already made".

Also, in case you were thinking about it: No, I don't suggest riding a lawnmower across Iowa, nor do I endorse smoking. Enjoy a fortune cookie, though.