Everything's Cool

"Weak"

Everything's Cool Review


Last week the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued its final report and declared global warming to be an undeniable, "unequivocal" fact. But forget the international scientific panel. Last year, Al Gore's potent and conclusive slide show, An Inconvenient Truth, made a very convincing argument that global warming is here and cannot be denied -- and along the way, the film not only became a significant box office hit but also ended up winning an Oscar.

Now that Al Gore is not only a movie star but also an Oscar and Nobel Prize winner, what can concerned environmentally conscious filmmakers do next to go for the public's jugular vein? With the release of Daniel B. Gold and Judith Helfand's lighthearted documentary, Everything's Cool, about the impending doom of the human race, the bar of awareness will be raised to new heights, prodding a rabid public consumed with forebodings of environmental disaster to seize control of the reins of government and change the retrograde environmental policies once and for all. Right?

Wrong.

Everything's Cool looks like a film made 10 years ago, a time when the polar ice cap was fairly solid. The film addresses the problem of making an American public aware of climactic catastrophe as if it were 1999 and Clinton still the president. But today, in 2007, the film's concerns are old news. When Fox News continually flogs Gore's environmental millennialism on a daily basis (in the film, Fox's "fair and balanced " coverage of global warming is seen in a logo reading in shock letters, "Climate of Fear"), you know the subject of prodding public awareness on global warming is like le grand fromage. And their lighthearted tone in the spirit of Michael Moore (but without his passion) belies the tragic conclusions of the film -- I'd hate to see how Shoah might have turned out had Gold and Helfand directed it.

In Everything's Cool, the intrepid filmmakers take to the road in 2004, valiantly following a collection of environmental activists as they spread the word of environmental meltdown to an apathetic public. 2004 was the year in which Eric Idle joked about global warming in England, "We're actually in favor of global warming because it's the only way we'll get the climate changed. We actually had two warm days last year." And this is echoed in the film by an American lout who declares, "Come on guys. Use your head. It's anti-American."

Nevertheless the save-our-planet emissaries attempt to get the word out: Bill McKibben, the "Poet Laureate" of global warming who issued the first serious bleat of the dangers ahead with his book The End of Nature in 1987; Ross Gelbspan, the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter whose tireless quest for public awareness led to his exhausted retirement ("A part of me wants to say, 'Why bother?'"); Heidi Cullen, the Weather Channel's on-air climatologist who through the course of the film takes a journey from her first five-minute segment to hosting her own half-hour show; authors Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, whose essay The Death of Environmentalism leveled its sites at both friends and foes of environmentalism; whistleblower Rick Piltz; and snow groomer Bish Neuhouser, who is seen trying to concoct a bio-diesel fuel for his 20-year-old Cadillac.

The filmmakers intercut their travails and segment the film with quirky animated sequences and lightly demonstrate the difficulties these heroes of environmentalism encounter when they go against the prevailing winds to keep the public informed. Pre-Gore, the frustrations of these emirs of the environment are palpable as they are greeted with skepticism and stonewalling at every turn. But that is now all in the historical past.

What is new and depressing, and touched upon in the film, is how straight scientific evidence of global warming is twisted and contorted into a political agenda by the government, corporations, and the media. Because of this dangerous polarized landscape mapped out by Bush, Murdoch, and other sundry reprobates, facts have become grist for the political mill and a subject that should not have a Democratic or Republican taint across it has just become another Hannity and Colmes sound bite to be haggled over until the next commercial break like Social Security reform or Hilary Clinton's laugh.

When politics is involved, nobody wins -- least of all planet earth. As one of the tub-thumpers for Greenpeace remarks in the film about the phony battle lines that have been drawn, "They just think we're wrong, and we think they are as dumb as bricks."

Relax, it's a methane-powered truck.



Everything's Cool

Facts and Figures

Run time: 89 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 31st May 2007

Distributed by: City Lights Media/Green Owl/Red Envelope

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 50%
Fresh: 4 Rotten: 4

IMDB: 6.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Daniel B. Gold, Judith Helfand

Producer: Daniel B. Gold, Judith Halfand, Chris Pilaro, Adam Wolfensohn

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