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hawaiian punch on tap, HPOT [userpic]
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
by hawaiian punch on tap, HPOT (sea_foam_green)
at July 4th, 2005 (02:06 pm)

This movie is rated:
T for involving the state of Texas,
L for a brief appearance by Jay Leno, and
P for pregnant stripper girlfriends

I have to admit, it's been roughly two years since I've really sat down to write about a movie, and I am a bit rusty, to say the least. But there is one thing I can say for sure: I certainly didn't sit down to watch this movie thinking there was a chance in hell I'd see a pair of boobs, let alone several pairs of boobs. So I guess that was a pleasant surprise.
Now, I really do try to stay informed. I try to watch the news everyday, and read the top news stories online. I try to know what is going on in the world, I really do. But the entire Enron thing sort of went over my head, mainly because knowing that when I flick the light switch, the lightbulb will go on is pretty much the full extent of my knowledge concerning electricity. Oh, and that whole kite with the key thing. But I certainly can't explain to someone how power can be brokered, or that there are grids all over the country that determine where power goes and at what price. So Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room is actually tailor-made for people like me. The entire movie is basically one step above a children's puppet show where colorful and friendly monsters explain terms like "mark to market" and "cooking the books."
In order to keep the movie (which is a bit long) from feeling like a book report on the entire fiasco, the makers sprinkled in all sorts of little gems to make the movie-going experience more pleasurable. First and foremost, clever chapter titles and little ironic clips of pop music. Anyone who's seen any movie by Michael Moore is already bored with the ironic pop music, and it doesn't really work any better here. Enron is also very dialog-driven, as it is pretty much wall to wall interviews with former employees, lawyers, and people who have written books on the subject. There's not really a looker in the bunch, so to make sure we don't have to stare at their clammy fish faces for very long, the makers have employed the same tricks used by "E True Hollywood Story," namely showing black and white segments of sacks with the dollar bill sign falling with a heavy thud, or roulette wheels spinning, to show that the Enron CEO likes money, and was gambling with the future of the company. Get it? That's where the boobs come in. It seems one of the higher ups at Enron like strippers, so they showed us a segment with strippers, to remind us what strippers look like.
After seeing Enron, I think I could explain the basics of what happened and why to a friend, which is a good thing: mission accomplished, movie! But more importantly, I learned a very valuable lesson:
math people cannot put together cohesive metaphors to save their lives. Their brains are all equations and pie charts, so they cannot think of anything to compare the entire Enron scandal to but the Titanic disaster. Over and over and over again. Except for one women who compared it to the movie Body Heat. And that was just more confusing that helpful, really.
In the end, this isn't a movie to see in theaters, because in theaters you have to pay close attention or you'll miss a vital explanation and be lost for the next 20 minutes. It's a movie to watch at home, where you can pause it to make snide comments, and then continue with the learning. Enron achieves what you believe it set out to do, make the heads of this company look very, very bad and make the poor, unfortunately souls who worked there (roughly 20,000) look very, very good. They even manage to link it to the President, which is what every conspiracy movie needs. It definitely had a slant, and as long as you recognize its biases, you'll be in good shape. The only thing that really bothered me as I walked away was the complete absolution this movie gives the employees of Enron. There are tons of interviews with former employees, all who talk openly about screwing elderly Californians out of heating and air conditioning, or
booking estimated future profits as part of current profits, and thus screwing investors into believing Enron stock was worth more than it actually was, with almost a hint of respect in their voices. Many make what they assume are clever plays on the Enron slogan "Ask why," such as "You know, it's ironic...I never asked why." It's sort of unsettling. Yes, it's very unfortunate what happened to them, but many interviewed seemed to have prior knowledge of wrongdoing, but as long as the company was making massive amounts of money, they felt no reason to complain. Suddenly losing their 401Ks, pension, and health insurance turned them into indignant corporate watchdogs, ready to tattle to whoever would listen. Especially the ghoulish former PR guy. He will haunt my dreams for decades to come.

3 rotisserie chickens

My First Feto [userpic]
back in the habit
by My First Feto (my_first_feto)
at June 23rd, 2005 (10:01 am)

My First Feto [userpic]
it still beats those sailor suit things
by My First Feto (my_first_feto)
at June 22nd, 2005 (09:17 am)

hawaiian punch on tap, HPOT [userpic]
It's Back!
by hawaiian punch on tap, HPOT (sea_foam_green)
at June 21st, 2005 (03:14 pm)
Tags:

Hey Hey, kids!
After two years of circling the globe in search of the mysterious amulet that would revive Clicks and Buzzes from the evil curse of the Mummy Queen, the original CaBbies have returned triumphant, having discovered the amulet in the belly of a whale. Now they are back in business, in blog form!

Not much will change about the actual format of Clicks and Buzzes, it'll still be a collection of random thoughts about movies, television, recent purchases, as well as a fair share of grumblings. Thanks to Livejournal, however, you can "friend" our little zine and comment on what we've written.

Horray for technology!

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