Al Gore: Swimming Through Antarctica

It was a dark and stormy night; in fact the night was moist.

Thanks for the comments regarding the writing of “novels” and such. Your humble blogger has decided to once again succumb to the icy, self-centered embrace that is novelwriting. He’s also noticed that there is probably nothing as boring as hearing someone talking about their novelwriting. Nothing. So it’s never being brought up again. I promise. Forget I ever mentioned it.

Plunging back into reality, people are right to point out that there are things worth enjoying and even laughing about, despite the fact that people keep setting each other on fire and all. Also despite the fact the wife and I finally saw “An Inconvenient Truth” last night and instantly created a series of beyond draconian population control methods (e.g., “all people who don’t use turn signals will be executed immediately”) in order to meet necessary Carbon Dioxide emissions reductions. With an estimate of 9.1 billion people worldwide by 2050 (or 2040…who’s counting?), the turn signal is only a start. A good start in places like Albuquerque, but just a start.

And despite making the viewer immediately think of ultra-draconian and violent population control measures, the Al Gore movie is good for some laughs. Sadly, none of these laughs are the occasional joke gambits by Mr. Gore and the film’s creators. Those jokes are sad beyond belief. What is funny is how many times Al Gore, Jr. says “I” and “my friend”, as is “I started some Senate hearings on global warming and my good friend Scientist Bob came and told us how screwed we are”.

A pretty intense drinking game can be created in which you have to down a shot whenever Al says “I” or “my friend”. A very intense game, because this movie is really all about Al, and I don’t understand why it has to be that way. It’s all about Al and the greatest PowerPoint presentation in history. Gore doesn’t say much that anyone who reads the papers doesn’t already know, but he does have that killer PowerPoint going on. And a cartoon or two. Somehow I don’t think the movie is gonna be nearly as effective in stopping global warming as the “kill non-turn signal people” concept. Not even close.

Another unintentionally funny thing about this movie is that it’s rated “PG”. Something about “Mild Thematic Elements”. Who are these MPAA people? Oh yeah, there’s a new documentary about MPAA called “This Film Is Not Yet Rated”…I’m waiting to Netflix that one. If you’ve seen it, hush, don’t give away the plot or anything.

In the end, the unintentional humor in “An Inconvenient Truth” is outweighed by the sadness the film instills in the viewer. And no, I don’t mean the intended sadness inculcation that the global warming problem is already here and ever-more-quickly destroying/altering the planet. Most everybody who decides to watch “An Inconvenient Truth” already knows that.

What’s sad is that you can totally agree with everything Al Gore says, as I do, and still come away unimpressed with this “movie”. It fails both as change agent and as documentary. As change agent, it relies far too much on the story of a person, a rather uncharismatic one, instead of the story of the science and what we little people can do. The film comes off as an “Al Gore 2008” campaign video, quite inexplicably so as that feeling just undermines the point of the film.

As documentary, it is one thing for Jonathan Demme or Stephen Soderbergh to simply film a Spalding Gray monologue. For those of us who are Spalding Gray fans Demme or Soderbergh could have just turned one camera on Gray and let the performance go untouched. But Al Gore and his +2 hit point vorpal PowerPoint aren’t Spalding Gray. It’s just boring, boring despite material that would be electrifying on PBS Frontline or POV. With “An Inconvenient Truth” I don’t want to kill the messenger, I want to love the messenger…it’s just that I want him to go away.

In other words: great graphs, awesome charts, I miss Spalding Gray.


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