Thursday, December 15, 2011


"...aaaand cut!"

Ms Ed
My mom (who is also a writer) is annoyed with most romance stories because they end, in her opinion, where the real story starts. The girl and the guy fall in love and the scene fades out, showing the words "...and they lived happily ever after." Did they? When a marriage starts is when the real love story begins, she believes, and I think she has a good point.

Most movies are like that, though. You don't get to see how tough the rebuilding of the kingdom was after the hero stops the villain, or what the life was like with that beautiful princess. The Shrek sequels covered some of that, to their credit, but usually the film ends and you are to presume it all worked out.

Cracked Magazine has a bit up about "based on a true story" movies that didn't work out so well in the end. For example, Oskar Schindler looks like a real hero at the end of Schindler's List as he drives off with a car packed with diamonds in the hubcaps. But without the ability to tap into slave labor and the Nazi government backing his business, he couldn't make it and died in poverty.

Or take the movie How Stella Gets Her Groove Back in which an older woman finds a hot young Caribbean stud fall in love with her, and they marry in the US. Except he only did it to get out of his no-future poverty on a little island and move to the US. And he's gay, which explains how he dances so well, I guess.

But the one that they sort of missed the boat on was Erin Brockovich. Oh, sure, they tell the tale of how she was actually a money-grubbing selfish jerk, and the case wasn't exactly how the movie portrayed it:
Instead of taking PG&E to court in full view of the public, Brockovich's firm convinced the residents of Hinkley to settle through private arbitration, where everything would be secret and the lawyers were basically accountable to nobody. After settling on the $333 million, the money wasn't given to the townspeople to pay for their medical bills until six months later. That's how long Erin's firm held onto the cash, giving the lawyers just enough time to have their way with each and every $100 bill.
When Hinkley's residents contacted Erin about their concerns ("concerns" is a term that here means "money for our cancer bills"), they found that their one-time advocate was now unreachable. Once they finally received the money, they noticed that it was far less than they expected. That's because the law firm, wanting more than the agreed-upon 40 percent of the settlement ($133 million), took an extra $10 million for "expenses."

Then, in an act that would make Satan himself issue a public apology, Brockovich's firm screwed the kids with cancer by taking a third of their settlements, even though it's an extraordinarily
unusual and universally frowned upon practice to take more than 25 percent.
Brockovich became a famous leftist advocate and speaker, and is the go-to girl for interviews on ground water pollution, but in the end it was proved that what she sued over was without merit: the cancer rate of the town was no slightly lower than average for the population, and the amount of the carcinogen in the water was not significant or dangerous.

In other words, like John Edwards and a host of other money gouging ambulance chasers, Erin Brockovich ripped off a big corporation with the help of lots of negative media coverage to enrich herself and send pennies on the sawback to the people she was allegedly crusading for.

Not that this in any way harms her career as a speaker, advocate, and talking head on TV. Oh, and she's better looking than ms Roberts, a reversal of the usual Hollywood casting.

1 comment:

Eric said...

Your intro reminded me of one of my favorite quotes about marriage:

"The true love story commences at the altar, when there lies before the married pair a most beautiful contest of wisdom and generosity, and a life-long struggle towards an unattainable ideal. Unattainable? Ay, surely unattainable, from the very fact that they are two instead of one." -Robert Louis Stevenson