"The Weather Underground"
Directed by Sam Green and Bill Siegel.
Release Year: 2003
Review Date: 8/7/03
here at Bellview normally don’t like to talk about politics, but let
me say this and get it out of the way--
Two words: Schwarzenegger for governor!!
I skipped this one on my first go-round
because I had some friends here in town hangin’ out, so I was pumped
to catch the documentary “The Weather Underground” the first chance
Maybe I shouldn’t have run THAT fast. This
documentary, which follows 1960s and 70s revolutionary activists as
they bomb their way to notoriety, starts off and gets you hooked in
right away. Members of the Students for a Democratic Society, the
main 13 members of the Weathermen were all-star activists in their
own right that seemed to come together to fight violent US
governments acts domestically and around the world with...more
violence! The group protested everything that the government was
into at the time, and represented a new face of angry protester
during the Civil Rights Era: that of the well-to-do young white
socialite. The footage that is detailed in “The Weather
Underground” early on shows us the turmoil and the hatred stemming
from all orifices during the late 1960s, and some of the more
violent riot shots go way over the top but paint a solid picture of
what was happening around the world at the time.
This first half-hour, plus just the things I
learned about the Weathermen during those 30 minutes (I had zero
prior knowledge), made for some great Opening Weekend-like fare.
But, as the film goes on, directors Sam Green and Bill Siegel
profile the individual members of the group and those members just
didn’t make for very interesting fare. The group’s mission, their
tactics, their affiliations and their impact on society during this
time period is very interesting, but the individual parts of the
group really don’t add up, at least interest-wise. The pictures and
crime-scene shots of some of the Weathermen’s bombing efforts are
not very interesting, either; maybe my thoughts on what a bomb would
do to a building created an unfair expectation, but these bombs
didn’t look all that lethal to me!
There is still plenty of good, though,
within “The Weather Underground” that makes it worth your
hard-earned $7. I rarely go to summer films to learn anything, but
I found myself taking in some good historical information on the
time period while watching, and some of the people that the
Weathermen interact with during their run lock in their place in
history. Who doesn’t love old news reels? Who doesn’t love shots
of Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather and Tom Brokaw from some of their
work literally 30 years ago?? Learning about how these
activists--who seemed to be regular staples on the nightly news for
a couple of years--could stay under the radar and in hiding for so
long is pretty interesting, too.
Not a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$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
"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 bad...man, 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
"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