To say that George Clooney's new film "Good Night and Good Luck" is one of the most important films of this year is to be guilty of significant understatement. Not since Michael Mann's 1999 thriller "The Insider" has a Hollywood film director made a media-focused mainstream movie this important or timely.
As a history teacher for two decades now, the single best field trip I've ever taken with students involved a visit to a "local" Wal-Mart in
But what about ordinary folks who do something extra-ordinary? Those who get out of bed in the morning and go to work, while simultaneously managing to raise children, those who discover that the world doesn't look quite right from the front porch or the wooden comfort of the Adirondack chair?
It is tempting to dismiss the new Angelina Jolie/Brad Pitt vehicle "Mr. And Mrs. Smith" as nothing more than mindless summer fun, in which Tomb-Raider Lara Kroft (sans padding), our sexy femme fatale and Girl, Interrupted, mixes it up with Fight Club's Tyler Durden, the newest incarnation of Achilles, our hero of Troy. Few folks I know would contest the idea of throwing down ten bucks (popcorn not included) to sit in a dark room full of strangers and simply watch Brangelina (are they in love for real?) on the screen.
Something remarkable unfolded in US art houses, homes, and multiplexes this year. Politically minded movies exploded into the public consciousness, fueled by frustrated citizens' desire to discover deeper truths about the state of the world. Tired of the "Foxification" of our corporately owned news culture, and fed up with the nonsense cranked out daily by commercial "shout shows" and "reality television" (an oxymoron if ever there was one), people have turned to independent films to satisfy their need to know.