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"An Inconvenient Truth"

Directed by Davis Guggenheim.
Written by Al Gore.
Release Year:  2006
Review Date:  6/27/06


I had been putting off seeing the Al Gore eco-documentary "An Inconvenient Truth", but on the second of three days of the Maryland version of monsoon season, I thought a weather-themed movie couldn't be any more appropriate.

And, as I expected, the flick delivers the goods because for about two hours, you sit in the theater realizing just how bad the situation might be in terms of a number of environmental issues that will hit us hard during our lifetime.  Gore, who runs through a slideshow taped during one of his presentations last year, keeps it simple (even my dumb ass followed every point during the slideshow) by dumbing down all of the facts to very easy layman's terms; with vivid graphics and a ton of photographs that illustrate just how badly our environment has gotten, the bits from Gore's presentation really hit me hard even though I was already vaguely familiar with how global warming works and how recent weather-related events might fit in.

It's not jaw-dropping, but it is a real downer--no one can deny that winters the last few years have been a LOT warmer than even when we were kids; the number of out-of-this-world weather events lately has been incredible (typhoons, a 37-inches-of-rain DAY in India last year, hurricanes that are happening outside of what we normally know to be "hurricane season") and man-made waste seems to be spiraling out of control.  Gore throws facts at you faster than you can (or maybe, want to) handle them; in his Southern commonspeak, you almost feel like the nice guy on the corner is telling you that in about 50 years, Earth as we know it will be almost completely uninhabitable if we keep up with the current pace of making problems for our world.  It's an effective model, but it certainly is NOT a pick-me-up, which is the idea, one that puts a lot of faith in educated people to follow through.

As good as the scenes about our environment are, the bits that stray from the Gore presentation don't work as well; I didn't care to revisit one of our nation's greatest tragedies in recent years, the 2000 presidential election, but it is included here, as if this is about Al Gore at all.  The movie is best with Al Gore as Environmental Narrator, not a politician but an environment activist.  I don't give a hoot about Al's personal life or troubles, at least not in this forum, but about 15 minutes of the film (in various bits and pieces) is set on telling us more about Al Gore, the man...and, strangely, I thought that it was completely out of place in a film about the effects of infrared rays and their tendency to be trapped in our atmosphere.  This brings the film down a bit for me, because that 15 minutes could easily have been used to focus on even more stunning facts about how useless our government has been in rectifying our awful environment situation.

Overall, a good, truly important film.  And, from reading articles after seeing the film, it looks like the science that Gore presents is almost completely accurate; it's nice when your presenter doesn't skew the facts to fit an argument.  Check this one out--it's been out for weeks for a good reason.

Rating:  $9.50 Show


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09