From the Grab Bag: “Freakonomics”

“From the Grab Bag” is written by various members of the DivX team and highlights under-the-radar movies that are available in DivX format.

For a few weeks, friends across the country were living in what had been dubbed: “The Snowpocalypse”. I was seeing daily pictures on Facebook of icicles, blizzards and waist deep snow. Not surprisingly, this “Snowpocalypse” never came to sunny San Diego. Last weekend however, was a different story. It rained for almost an ENTIRE DAY. We even had tiny hail for a minute or two. There was confusion, anger and mass panic. San Diego residents took to Facebook to whine about report the bad weather. As for myself, I took it as an opportunity to stay in with my wife and watch a movie. (SHAMELESS/AWESOME PLUG AHEAD) The convenience of buying the movie online in DivX format meant I could stay inside and, more importantly, stay nice and dry.

I was browsing the DivX video-on-demand catalog and came across the documentary “Freakonomics“. Several friends have raved about the book, but I had never personally taken the time to read it. The documentary described itself as follows:

“This film examines human behavior with provocative and sometimes hilarious case studies, bringing together a dream team of filmmakers responsible for some of the most acclaimed and entertaining documentaries in recent years.”

The movie was intellectual candy. It was chocked full of statistics, data and insightful correlations. What was perhaps most interesting to me was the method in which the movie was put together. It was split in to four sections, and each had a different writer and director. For example, one segment titled “A Roshanda by Any Other Name” was directed by Morgan Spurlock (“Supersize Me”, “30 Days”), while another titled “Pure Corruption” was directed by Alex Gibney (“Casino Jack“). The other two directors included Heidi Ewing (“Jesus Camp“) and Eugene Jarecki (“Why We Fight“).

While this format kept things interesting, it also created disconnects between segments (the entire movie was only an hour and a half). One minute you would be enjoying Spurlock’s faster paced editing and the next you would be listening to the slower more methodical storytelling of Alex Gibney.

Bottom line: I would recommend this documentary. Though the film was fragmented at times, the last few minutes brought it together with a very compelling message: You are always free to look at life differently than the masses. Just because something is widely accepted doesn’t mean it is correct. Oh, and it’s probably not ideal to name your daughter “Temptress”.

Purchase “Freakonomics” on FilmFresh

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