Saturday, October 30, 2010

Movie Review: I Want Your Money

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The weekend of the political documentary continues! As I write this mid term elections are three days away. I was waiting in line for TRON Night at my local Regal Cinema when I saw the movie poster. It was staring me in the face about five feet away with a giant caricature of Barack Obama as Uncle Sam pointing directly at me. How could I not pay admission to see this when the large font words tell me I Want Your Money!

Writer and Director Ray Griggs presents the audience with information about some of the relationships between Presidents their fiscal policies and the economy starting back with Roosevelt running up through the current administration. We get some charts and graphs showing us numbers as well as archive footage and interviews like you'd find in any documentary. One of the cute points of this movie was the use of computer generated caricatures of Ronald Reagan, Barack Obama, Sarah Palin, the Bushs I and II, Nancy Pelosi, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter and the Gubanator, Ahhhnuld to help tell the story and illustrate points along the way. There were also a lot of jokes cracked by the caricatures which helped lighten the mood of an otherwise serious topic.

Griggs points to policies and how the economy either rose or fell. He points out that while many people thought Roosevelt's New Deal was a good thing he points out the numbers that would state otherwise. He pointed out while many people point out Reagan's tax cuts were for the rich he emphasizes that the cuts were across all levels of income. He does spend a lot of time on Reagan and often uses the Gipper to stress main points either through the computer character or archive footage.

What I thought was compelling is when Griggs had footage of Reagan and Obama run back to back. You can see the difference in attitude of the two men and how they feel about government's intrusion or lack thereof into people's lives. The one part that I had questions about was his use of a story about a college professor using a socialist grading system where all the students would get the same grade. Ray Griggs responded to a twitter saying I was seeing the movie with a thank you. I replied back to him asking where he got the story. In the half a day since posing the question, I googled and the story almost verbatim showed up on Snopes as a legend. Griggs looses points there for the moment unless he can authoritatively post a reliable source.

Overall it was a good movie looking at who is best at spending money, the individual making decisions for themselves or the government making decisions for them. While some things may look good for one person, the affects on another and the Law of Unintended Consequences should not be dismissed with the wave of a hand. In the end he encourages us to go out and vote on November 2. Unfortunately, I don't think enough people will be able to see this movie in the weekend before the elections to make a real impact on the electorate.

The movie runs for 92 minutes and is rated PG for thematic elements, brief language and smoking.

The Movie Monkey

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