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Green Weenie Of The Week: Matt Daaaymon And His “Promised Land”

Steven Hayward, Power Line

If Matt Daaaymon was hoping his new Arab-funded film “Promised Land” would do for natural gas “fracking” what “The China Syndrome” did for nuclear power, he’d better hope for a sequel to “Team America” to rescue him from being an embarrassment to the professional Left.

John already took official Power Line notice of the movie a few weeks ago, and I already gave Damon a Green Weenie back in September when news of the Arab financing for the film first broke, but with the film coming out today, the reviews are starting to trickle in like a load of freshly-fracked gas. It turns out that even left-leaning movie reviewers find it risible.  For that amazing achievement, Damon deserves a second Weenie.

Take Time magazine’s movie critic, Richard Corliss.  He finds the movie dubious, at best:

Left-wingers in the mainstream media — by which I mean me — are supposed to lap up a movie that plays to our farm-loving, tree-hugging prejudices. But even we know that well-meaning does not automatically equal good movie. Some organic life is needed. And the only crop Promised Land harvests is Capra Corn. . .

Moreover, he expresses sympathy for the risk-taking entrepreneurs who brought us the gas boon:

You may not feel sorry for the energy barons, even if they risked part of their fortune to extract a form of energy cleaner than coal, safer than nuclear power and cheaper than oil. But a reluctance by U.S. consumers to use natural gas would exacerbate the nation’s dependence on oil from foreign countries — like the United Arab Emirates, whose Image Nation Abu Dhabi film company, in a twist more cunning than any in the film, helped finance Promised Land.


Even Mother Jones finds the movie tendentious:

Nothing but good résumés and intriguing publicity behind this movie. And yet it putters out into both embarrassment and creative lethargy, fueled (if that’s the term I want) by an acute lack of focus and commitment. Promised Land struggles to compel just as much as it fails to inform. By the film’s end, Matt Damon will have taught you precisely two things about fracking: That it’s bad for cows, and even worse for heartfelt dramatic monologues delivered by Matt Damon. . .

As for whatever political or social statement the film has to make about the risks of fracking, it’s nothing you wouldn’t get from skimming the first couple paragraphs of the Wikipedia entry on hydraulic fracturing. The fact that these punches are so tightly pulled all but guarantees that Steve’s emotional and professional journey ends in an unsatisfying mess. When Steve finally does find his moral center—culminating in a very public display—the scene is devoid of believable emotion, or believability period. On top of all of this, there is a final plot twist—so unnecessary, so dumb, so out-of-place—that almost singlehandedly tanks any shred of dignity the film once might have possessed. . .

Conservative pundits and the fracking lobby have preemptively declared this movie a dud. Sadly, they may—albeit for completely different reasons—have been on to something.

I like the last little boilerplate touch from MJ: “The film is rated R for language and engulfing mediocrity.”

The Puffington Host weighed in derisively, with an article entitled “Yoko Ono, Matt Damon, and OPEC Versus American Energy Independence.”  Ouch 2!  When you’re nipped with Yoko Ono and OPEC, you’re lost.

In essence, to prohibit fracking, as is Yoko Ono’s wont, is tantamount to ripping out the nation’s rail system and all that it would entail to the economy, to the management of carbon gas emissions, to the workforce, to the wellbeing of communities, all because of the risk of an occasional train wreck. . .

Abu Dhabi will be applauding heartily if their and Damon’s Promised Land film, due for distribution shortly, permits them and their OPEC brethren to continue to fleece the world with their cartel manipulated price of oil and gas.

But I’ve saved the best for last.  Damon is quoted in the New York Daily News saying, “’It’s the truth,’ Damon says. ‘Nobody in Sacramento is telling people in Beverly Hills, “We’re going to drill in Beverly Hills.” That’s not going to happen.’”

Guess what they do in Beverly Hills, Matt?  They have oil wells.  Have for decades now.  The high school even gets royalties from wells on school property.  Just like Pennsylvania schools want to do, too.

The Daily News article actually gives away the whole game, as both Damon and co-star John Krasinski (“The Office”) appear to be backpedalling as fast as they can from the clear original intent of the movie:

Both Damon and Krasinski resist questions about their own feelings about fracking, though Damon says, “I wouldn’t be okay with them drilling on my property — I doubt most people would.”

But they are quick to add that the movie isn’t taking sides on the subject, either. Rather, the film is about who gets the final word on the question of where and whether fracking should be allowed.

“The truth is it’s an incredibly complicated issue,” Krasinski says. “For us to come down on one side or the other is not right. There’s so much information to be had — and a responsibility to find out what it is.

What do you call a two-time Green Weenie winner?  Loser.

Power Line, 28 December 2012