Saturday, December 19, 2009

CIA: American Casino And It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

Just in case last night's Cleveland Orchestra concert wasn't enough to nudge me into the Christmas spirit, today -- the first meaningful snow on this side of town is certainly helping.

As a technology geek, ahem, professional, I'm ashamed to admit that I don't own a digital camera, the below stills came from my home:

Since I don't have to shovel anything yet I'm still in the "oh, isn't it cute" phase of winter. I decided I needed a movie today... something to get me out of the house without involving the outdoors or requiring putting any attention to the way I looked in public... I actually have been in the mood for a few weeks but nothing mainstream sufficiently moved me.

I noticed American Casino was on the schedule for CIA's Cinamatheque this evening and the topic intrigued me, so I made my way that direction for the 5:30 showing.

The film is, essentially, a documentary on the Wall Street/Housing
meltdown and it is informative but it doesn't really reveal any new information. Aside from a reference to Wall Street being a casino early on in the film the title is never really developed, and by taking a scatter shot approach to story telling -- some politicians, some displaced homeowners, some former employees of the various financial concerns, even several different cities -- you're left with a feeling more that you've gotten a very general survey than developing anything approaching an in-depth look; I also found it very hard to develop a connection with any of the individuals. Dobama's The Cleveland Plays, Part II: Dream/Home last season covered pretty much all of the same ground but really drew you into a more personal connection with the individuals.

Near the end of the film, though, it was a little depressing to see Riverside County, California featured, as I grew up in Southern Riverside County. During this segment it was interesting to learn the tertiary impact of foreclosed/vacant homes in the manner of pest control: Pools get turned off to save money, algae grows, mosquitoes multiply and spread disease; meanwhile vegetation grows uncontrolled creating a fine habitat for snakes... and of course the costs to abate both of those issues are borne by the taxpayer.


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