I’m not one for prediction. The universe is far too complicated to be boiled down into some sort of easily understandable foundation upon which I could base prognostication.
That being said, I’m telling you, the mosquitoes are going to be terrible this year thanks to our lack of cold weather.
Might as well stay in and watch some movies, right? I mean, why go outside when it’s sunny and 80 degrees out? Bugs, skin cancer, sweating . . . all of this and more can be avoided by just staying in. And what better way to pass the time than enjoying a tale lovingly crafted by a bunch of Hollywood folks?
What have we got this month? First up is a blockbuster I missed when it came out before the holidays. And second is the last in my little series on movies about business and how it relates to customers. Let’s get started, shall we.
Doctor Strange (2016) [PG-13]
I’ll admit it. I’m not a big comic book fan, so had the ads for this not repeatedly made mention of the fact that Doctor Strange has some connection to the Avengers, Thor, Captain America and Iron Man movies, I wouldn’t have ever guessed. I enjoyed this more than any of the other entries in the Marvel series, mostly because, compared to the others, this movie is just, well, strange.
Doctor Strange tells the story of Dr. Stephen Strange, a brilliant and gifted surgeon, who unfortunately knows exactly how gifted he is. His hubris leads to a car accident in which he suffers nerve damage in his hands. Strange looks everywhere for something that can bring his considerable powers back. However, when Strange does find a way to heal himself, he is told that his hands aren’t what need the healing.
Perhaps this gives you a taste of why Doctor Strange seemed like such a breath of fresh air. In some ways, the story here is the same as every other Marvel action movie. A man at the top of his field is forced to reconsider his priorities so that he can save humanity. There is a barely-written and probably best left ignored love story. There’s a fight scene at the end of the film that could decide the fate of humanity. There are gaping plot holes that they have to gloss over.
But, unlike other Marvel movies, it is not the hero’s physical prowess (enhanced by a science experiment or technology or magic) that gives Strange his power. It is his own mind. And more specifically, it is when he learns to harness the power of his mind instead of wasting it on arrogance that he becomes a superhero. It is Strange’s battle with himself that, to me, was the most interesting “fight scene” and indeed what makes this, to me, the most thrilling entry in the Marvel film universe since Sam Rami’s Spider-Man trilogy.
8 paws out of 10
Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room (2005) [Not Rated in the U.S., but it is UK-15]
Here’s another fantastic documentary by Alex Gibney (who you may remember also made Zero Days which we talked about back here). Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room tells the story of the company, Enron and its rise to become the seventh largest company in America and then its collapse into bankruptcy and ruin.
Enron is, at its heart, a crime drama. Gibney does a masterful job of illustrating how Enron’s house of cards was built and does so in a way that even those of us without an MBA can understand and enjoy. That’s no small feat when trying to explain obscure accounting theories or tracing the flow of money across borders.
But what makes Enron so interesting to me is the human side of the story. It is a story of great pomposity and tremendous dishonor. It’s a story of wealth and poverty. It’s a story of power gained and lost. Tens of thousands of people’s lives were ruined when Enron collapsed. Millions were affected by what Enron did. Gibney manages to show us not only the grand but the personal tragedies as well.
Much like Dr. Stephen Strange in the film above, all that occurs in Enron is the result of hubris. Unfortunately, unlike Dr. Strange, the main characters in this story did not have a transcendent moment when they decided to put the needs of the many before their own.
8.5 paws out of 10