Tuesday, June 15, 2004

MOUSE HOUSE SHOWS IT HAS HEART AND SOUL

Time to give Disney some well-deserved kudos. They recently made a good choice and they deserve to hear plaudits from us. (I don't care WHY they made the decision they did. The point is the result.)

The executives found themselves confronted with two documentary projects that were seeking theatrical distribution. On the LEFT hand, was the latest Michael Moore snarling leftwing propaganda piece, Fahrenheit 9/11. The piece was being coddled by Miramax, a Disney subsidiary. On the RIGHT hand, they had America's Heart and Soul, a lovely, emotional and patriotic piece not geared to influence any viewers' voting patterns.

And - shockingly!!! - Disney did the right thing! What's in the water over at the Mouse-House these days?!

Disney told Miramax to duck Moore's trash (which was still hoisted up by the Weinsteins, who can never resist cinematic demagoguery), and then they green-lit America's Heart and Soul

I saw America's Heart and Soul last night and am happy to give it - and Disney - a two thumbs up. Good job guys. The feature length documentary doesn't have the emotional power (or narrative structure) of last year's Spellbound, but is still a wonderful, visually stunning glimpse into the lives of "average" Americans from coast to coast, quietly doing interesting and individualistic things. There are profiles of rugweavers in the Appalachians, the last real cowboy in Telluride, Co, cliff dancers in California, a Gospel choir in Mississippi, a metal junk artist in the Pacific Northwest, and many more. While the selection of the portraits could have been more thoughtfully done, the effect of the film is still to connect the possibility of personal passion to freedom. The film defines Americans as people of great passion for life, and for realizing big dreams. It's a good film. Take your kids, your parents, your grandparents and yourself. And then send Disney a messgae telling them, "Great call, guys! Do it again!"

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