The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age

    Lions for Lambs and Sicko

    Redford's Lions for Lambs did not get favorable reviews in the DC area (we're back from our stay abroad). The knocks on it were that it was almost all talk--which seems to be presumptively boring to some of our ADD-afflicted media--and that it was heavy handed with Redford's "left" bias.

    I saw it and disagree with both criticisms. A couple of the action scenes from Afghanistan are likely, I think, to stay with me for some time.

    I did not think the movie was at all heavy-handed in its point of view. Tom Cruise, playing an almost too-youthful looking true-believing senator, represents the right-wing point of view well. No strawman hatchet job there. The Meryl Streep journalist character (said to be modeled loosely on Judith Miller) is no cardboard cutout and believable for being conflicted about how she should do her job.

    Sometimes too much dialogue in a movie can be dull--but in this case, not at all. It was sharp dialogue, and it was about important things, things I haven't seen addressed so openly and directly in films. I admit I am a sucker for just about anything Redford does. But I thought this was an excellent movie.

    Re Sicko, I am not of one mind about Michael Moore. He is of course a polemicist and he goes over the top sometimes, which can make him an easy mark at times. But on the core message of this movie--that our health care "system" is a disaster and a disgrace and can be made to function far, far better--he is absolutely right. The stories he tells, characterized as humorous by some reviewers, were to me poignant and disturbing, as they were meant to be.

    So at this time of Thanksgiving I celebrate both directors for, far from "contenting" us with unjustified pappy talk, instead trying to get us to wake up and live up to our better ideals and instincts. A good Thanksgiving to all.

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