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Brodie Farquhar: Reviewing Steamboat Institute’s film festival

I noticed that the Steamboat Institute is promoting a film festival prior to its Freedom Conference. I thought I’d share some information and my own perspectives about the films.

Regarding Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged,” I should acknowledge that I was a fan of Rand’s books as a young college student. I read “Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged,” as well as a couple more titles I’ve forgotten.

I didn’t remain a Randite, realizing that history has seen several eras where unabridged selfishness ran rampant — the Robber Baron era, the Roaring ’20s and today’s income disparities, not to mention the Dark Ages where might always meant right.

The 2011 “Atlas Shrugged” is the first of a trilogy based on Rand’s bestseller. Part one was widely panned by critics and ran for only five weeks. The cast was strictly B-list. I understand Yaron Brook, chairman of the Ayn Rand Institute, will be on hand for a few remarks.

My feelings about Rand are best summed up by writer John Rogers, “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life, ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘Atlas Shrugged.’ One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially-crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”

The “Chappaquiddick” film about Ted Kennedy’s accident and epic fall might be worth viewing. Based entirely on the inquiry into the fatal accident that killed a young woman, the movie does not dabble with rumor, so it is accurate.

Yes, conservatives will enjoy gloating over Ted’s many failures surrounding this incident, but you might get more out of it if you approach it as a Greek tragedy. Viewers might well reflect how they’d handle such an incident and would they do any better than the Liberal Lion of Massachusetts?

“What If…” starring Kevin Sorbo is basically a 2010 after-school TV special that’s borrowed heavily from Jimmie Stewart’s “It’s A Wonderful Life,” where an angel gives the lead character insight into alternative realities. Sorbo doesn’t have the chops of a Jimmie Stewart, but then again, who does? According to Box Office Mojo, “What If…” made $314,906 over six months in domestic box office sales.

I’m a sucker for underdog tales, so I like the story line of “Little Pink House,” where a plucky, blue-collar woman battles a giant corporation that wants to take her property via eminent domain. Based on a true story, the battle went all the way to the Supreme Court, where she lost.

Released in April of this year, “Pink House” is now available on DVD. The film also spurred the House, this week, to pass a bill that trims the ability of government and big businesses to take private property for economic development. See H.R. 1689.

That leaves “Life With Dog,” which will have a red carpet world premiere at the Strings Music Pavilion on Aug. 11. IMDb has a short plot summary, and that’s all to be gleaned on the inner-tubes.

So, thumbs down on “Atlas Shrugged;” thumbs up on “Chappaquiddick;” a minor “mhhh” on “What If…”; a maybe on “Pink House;” and who knows on “Life With Dog.”

Remember to bring popcorn.

Sincerely,

Brodie Farquhar

Hayden


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