Saturday, May 14, 2011

"Forks over Knives" Opened Last Night

Carol and I left work yesterday evening and headed for South Beach and Lincoln Road. We stopped at Whole Foods for supper (of course) and then over to the cineplex at the west end of the Lincoln Road Mall. There we attended a showing of "Forks over Knives."

The movie "starred" Drs. Campbell and Esselstyn. Dr. McDougall had an important supporting role. Dr. Esselstyn's son, Rip, a firefighter in Austin, had a big part in one of the several stories the film wove together. (Our Texan Kith and Kin will get a kick out of the conversations among the firefighters about Texan meat eating habits. Our Cross-Fit kith and kin will find interesting the strength aspects of that story and that of another story that the film weaves, that of "Ultimate Fighter" Mac Danzig. Our Kenya people will find that country referred to positively from time to time. There is also an interesting discussion of the value of stents in fighting heart disease.) The movie was very well done and we recommend it.

My favorite line of the movie was delivered by Dr. Esselstyn, a heart surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic. He recalls that one of his colleagues said that he would not recommend a vegan diet to a heart patient because it was "extreme." Dr. Esselstyn's comment was something along the lines of "Splitting in half a patient's chest and slicing open one of his legs to remove a blood vessel to transplant to the exposed heart is not extreme?"

One of the most astonishing facts that the movie shared is that if we took the grain that we feed farm animals that we raise to eat and, then, allocated it to people, we would have enough to eliminate starvation in the world.

Yet another was that the energy costs of raising and processing food animals exceed the energy costs we devote to transportation. (Carol commented that when Al Gore goes on a vegan diet, she will start taking seriously his global warming schtick.)

The Herald review complained that "[A]ny one looking for a critique of the fast-food lifestyle and factory farming from any other perspective [other than "veganism"] is bound to be disappointed or angry." Right, I kept looking for the McDonald's spokesman to give us some real balance, but no one ever showed up. Still the reviewer gave it 3 of 4 stars, which is about as high as the Herald will go for a movie that is a wholesome one. (Actually, there were two people interviewed from the dark side: a PhD who worked for a food industry organization and an MD who worked for the Department of Agriculture and whose criticism of the vegan view bordered on incoherence.)

Roger Ebert's review, however, is very thorough, quite personal, and thoughtful.

Not a lot of people were in the viewing audience with us - not as many as we would have hoped. But it was an early show. Maybe, also, word will spread about it. The people who were there, however, seemed to be impressed. During the presentation, I heard the sort of noises one hears from people when the light-bulb goes on. At the end of the movie, there was applause. As we walked out, I overheard conversations about the points made during the movie. Many of the people were young adults.

The cineplex belongs to Regal Cinema. I found the acoustic quality there mediocre. At times the sound was so loud that the voices, especially Dr. Campbell's, were distorted and a bit hard to understand. The print quality was mediocre too. The film should transfer well to DVD, however. But don't wait for the DVD, see it now!

We were running late to the theater, and as we approached the Mall, going southbound on Alton Road, we noticed a new, sort of "pocket" hi-rise parking lot also at the west end of the Mall and across from the theater. (It cleverly has retail on the ground floor, and then goes up about 5 more stories for the cars.) So we turned into the garage entrance. We should have noticed that it would cost us $20! So avoid it, if you can, and travel further down Alton to 17th Street, turn right (east) and go down to the city garage that we usually use when we go to Lincoln Road Mall. I also noticed a $10 parking lot on the north side of 17th about a block east of Alton. Of course, this was Friday night, the weather was simply beautiful, and the Mall very lively and busy.

1 comment:

Carol said...

"Forks Over Knives" also opened this weekend in Austin. I highly recommend our Texas kin try to see it!!