Friday, April 07, 2006

Remember the '90s?

I missed Monday's game because I caught a sneak preview of Thank You for Smoking, a political satire based on the 1995 book. The film feels like a throwback, and not just because of the music from the O Brother genre. It's because, deep down, this film is a period piece, a relic of the Clinton era. Remember that? When political scandals were embarrassing, but not deadly?

Aaron Eckhart (who made a name for himself in the 1990s) plays a lobbyist for pre-settlement Big Tobacco. Losing the PR war, he decides his best defense is a good offense, and antagonizes health officials who want to take away teenage smokers' right to choose. His only friends are his counterparts in alcohol and firearms, who together form the M.O.D. Squad (as in Merchants of Death). In the meantime he tries to be a good parent, teaching his preteen child the advantages of moral flexibility when making arguments.

Despite its waning relevance, the film is very funny. Big Tobacco's attempt to become a factor in Hollywood again (cigarettes in space!) is notable, with Rob Lowe and Adam Brody playing a soulless dealmaker and his continuously upbeat assistant.

I should mention that Katie Holmes is in this, but minimally. A bit of a '90s relic herself, she plays an important role in bringing down our lobbyist hero, but does get her comeuppance.

55 Fiction Friday could argue with a brick wall... and win.

The superhero faced a dilemma. A left-handed punch might knock the criminal into a vat of acid, creating a scarred archenemy. But his right fist would drop his opponent into an electromagnetic generator, granting the thug an ability to willfully bend metal.

Neither choice seemed favorable. No one was watching, so the superhero shot him.


Mainline Mom said...

I love 55 Fiction Friday. Too bad I have no talent whatsoever to be able to compose such masterpieces. Oh yeah, and about Clinton-era scandals being embarressing but not deadly? Tell that to Foster and the other myriad of Clinton associates who ended up dead in the the 90s.

Neel Mehta said...

Ooh, good call on Vince Foster. That whole thing seemed dirty. So I stand corrected; the Clinton era scandals did have a body count. Too bad the Republican opposition focused on the sex.

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