The Age of Stupid--a movie review

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:45 PM GMT on September 24, 2009

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I attended an interesting film premier Tuesday night--the international release of the anti-global warming pseudo-documentary The Age of Stupid. The movie opened at 440 theaters in the U.S., plus hundreds of theaters in 63 other countries, for a total viewing audience organizers estimated at one million people. This was a Guinness World Record for largest simultaneous movie premiere, according to the organizers. The evening began with a live satellite simulcast beamed from New York City, hosted by Gideon Yago of MTV/CNN fame. We were treated to live interviews with British director Franny Armstrong, producer Lizzie Gillett, as well as movies stars like Gillian Anderson (X-files) and Heather Graham ("we need to stop climate change, or else we're screwed"). Some humorous moments were provided by several protesters pretending to be corporate CEOs, who wore Model X7 Survivaballs as they rolled down the recycled pop-bottle green carpet (survivaballs' motto: "while others look to Senate bills or U.N. accords for a climate solution, we look to our best engineers"). We also heard rock star Moby perform on a sound stage powered by four bicyclists peddling on an specially-designed stationary bike rack. Very cute.

After about twenty minutes of these preliminaries, the 92-minute long Age of Stupid movie began. It opens with some beautiful computer animation of the Big Bang and four billion years of evolution, terminating in the year 2055. As the animation screeches to a halt, we are shown jarring scenes of London drowned by rising seas, Las Vegas drifted over by sand dunes, Sydney burning (eerily appropriate after yesterday's fiery red-orange skies spawned by Sydney's record dust storm), and a ruined Taj Mahal in a scorched landscape. I thought this was a bit overdone, since it is highly unlikely that climate change will be able to cause any of these effects by 2055. The scene then shifts to a futuristic building in the ice-free Arctic, where actor Pete Postlethwaite stars as the curator of an archive of human knowledge. He begins looking at old documentary footage from 2008 and asks the question, why didn't we stop climate change when we had the chance?


Figure 1. A flooded London in the year 2055 in The Age of Stupid.

The rest of the movie is a documentary, shot over the past four years in the UK, Nigeria, New Orleans, Iraq, Jordan, The Alps, and India. Six separate stories are followed:

Alvin DuVernay, a Shell Oil scientist who rescued 100 people after Hurricane Katrina
Layefa Malemi, a woman living in Shell's most profitable oil region in Nigeria
Jamila and Adnan Bayyoud, two Iraqi refugee kids trying to find their brother
Piers Guy, a wind farm developer fighting the anti-windfarm lobby in England
Fernand Pareau, 82-year old French mountain guide
Jeh Wadia, a businessman starting a low-cost airline in India

The six stories are interwoven and told in multiple sections, with jumps back and forth to curator Pete Postlethwaite in the future, who is viewing these documentary clips on his futuristic video screen. I found this creative approach to story telling a bit disorienting, but give the film maker credit for trying something innovative. Interspersed with the documentary footage are some fairly compelling animations. My favorite was an illustration of how America's excessive consumption is responsible for at least 1/4 of China's greenhouse gas emissions, since we buy so much cheap junk from China (which often ends up back in a China landfill). A lot of preaching goes on in the movie, with the film maker criticizing our excessive consumerism and our willingness to fight wars over oil. I thought the most compelling story of the six documentary pieces was the tale of the Nigerian woman living in the toxic mess that the oil industry has made in Nigeria. Cheap oil at the pumps in America has huge hidden costs that we don't appreciate.

While the movie did have some interesting sections with messages Americans need to hear, I thought overall the movie was too long and too dull to be worth spending a full-price movie admission ticket for. At least one of the six documentary sections should have been cut--92 minutes is too long for a documentary. It's pretty hard to make a gripping documentary movie about global warming, and The Age of Stupid and Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth are not gripping. You're better off viewing these at home on DVD. Rating: two stars (out of four).

After the movie, the live simulcast from New York City resumed, and we heard speeches from Kofi Annan, former U.N. Secretary General, who called climate change "Perhaps the biggest challenge we face today". Also speaking was the President of the Maldives, an island nation mostly situated less than two meters above sea level. Sea level rise from climate change is a huge threat to his nation, and the president made a pledge to make his nation the first country to be carbon-neutral, by 2020. We also heard from the scientist who heads the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Rajendra K. Pachauri, who affirmed the movie's contention that we need to have global emissions of CO2 stop increasing by 2015 in order to avoid dangerous climate change.

The Age of Stupid as part of a media blitz
The release of The Age of Stupid this week was timed to bring visibility to the climate change issue and help mobilize public opinion in advance of the crucial U.N. Climate Change Conference, which will be held December 7 - 18 in Copenhagen, Denmark. At that meeting, the leaders of the world will gather to negotiate an agreement to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The new agreement will be the world's roadmap for dealing with climate change, and the stakes are huge. The Age of Stupid is key part of a major push green lobby push this week to publicize their key goals:

1) Reducing the 3% per year increase in CO2 emissions we've seen this decade to 0% by 2015.
2) An 80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050.
3) An eventual return to CO2 levels of 350 ppm--well below the current level of 388 ppm.

Activists are targeting the G-20 meeting in Pittsburgh this week as part of their effort; four Greenpeace protesters hung a "Danger: Climate Destruction Ahead, Reduce CO2 Emission Now" banner from a Pittsburgh bridge and dangled beneath the bridge for two hours yesterday. Greenpeace activists were also present as I walked out of the Age of Stupid premiere Tuesday, gathering signatures in support of a petition to urge CO2 controls be agreed upon at the December Copenhagen conference.

A return salvo from the fossil fuel industry and its allies is coming in the next few weeks. They have their own British film maker, Ann McElhinney, who has created a documentary titled, Not Evil Just Wrong, which premiers October 18. They've stated their goal of beating the record for simultaneous theaters airing a movie premiere set by The Age of Stupid. I'll be sure to write a review on Not Evil Just Wrong when it comes out.

Tropical update
There is a new tropical wave that moved off the coast of Africa yesterday that is generating some disorganized thunderstorm activity over the Cape Verdes Islands. This morning's QuikSCAT pass showed an elongated circulation two hundred miles southwest of the Cape Verdes Islands. Wind shear is a moderate 10 - 20 knots over the disturbance, and some slow development is possible over the next few days. The disturbance will have to overcome some dry air to its west, though. None of our reliable computer models are forecasting tropical storm development over the next seven days.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting PcolaDan:
Yea, I can see I'm going to avoid the blog until there is a new one. Flames will be flying in here.

Me >


That poor smiley face is real thirsty isn't he!!
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Quoting tornadodude:


yuck!


that was back in the day when a Pentium 90 was state-of-the-art! LOL
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103. JRRP
interesting wave 10n 54w
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"Mr. Madison, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul."

Sometimes this blog reminds me of this great quote from a much better movie.


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101. hercj
Here is just common sense. ANYTIME you hear a politician talking about science beware.
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Quoting pearlandaggie:


yeah, i remember the four semesters of calculus!


yuck!
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Quoting tornadodude:


um not sure yet, we havent got the results back.

I think I did alright.



yeah, i remember the four semesters of calculus!
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98. Bonz
I'd be curious to see this movie, but it doesn't appear to be available on DVD until JANUARY and it's not showing in my area. I never heard of it before today.

How stupid is it to have a "World Premiere" (selected parts of the world, not my part) and then have to wait months to see the movie?

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Quoting pearlandaggie:
94. how'd that math test come out for ya?


um not sure yet, we havent got the results back.

I think I did alright.

another thing about GW- I think we should do more research before we try to change the climate back to "normal." also, if this climate change is not man made, do we really want to screw with earth's natural cycles??
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Quoting reedzone:
As a Christian, I don't believe in Global Warming. We think it's a hoax that some scientists try to prove to earn money. We Christians believe the world will fall apart when the time comes. The hurricanes, tornadoes, and recent earthquakes are not do to GW. We think the world is ending and these are signs of the endtimes. Call it nuts, it's what we truly believe and it also says it in the bible.

Global Warming is real, thermometers do NOT LIE!!!!!! If modern weather reporting stations say temperatures have increased by 2F in 100 yrs, then the WORLD IS WARMING!!!!!!

God is great!! He will put a stop to mankind's nonsense and establish righteous order in his time!! God is also LOVE, try to share THAT also!! Did Paul just go into a synagogue and start an argument?? People already know we have some SERIOUS problems!! If you want to anger a person, just SHOVE God down their throat!! LEARN how to share in a way that arouses GOOD QUESTIONS!! Pray about it!!!
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94. how'd that math test come out for ya?
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so basically instead of fighting about how we got the problem, we should be working on ways to solve it.
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
As a Christian, I don't believe in Global Warming. We think it's a hoax that some scientists try to prove to earn money. We Christians believe the world will fall apart when the time comes. The hurricanes, tornadoes, and recent earthquakes are not do to GW. We think the world is ending and these are signs of the endtimes. Call it nuts, it's what we truly believe and it also says it in the bible.
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Quoting Unfriendly:
Global Warming denialists remind me of this story from the great state of Texas...

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2009/09/20/one-backwards-leap-for-texas/

I fail to see why people can say it is "just a cycle" or "not really happening" despite so much evidence to the contrary...

And one last thing:
hercj:
"Global Warming it is more religion than science."
You will find that on a general basis, with a much higher percentage, that it is the fundamentalist christian regime saying that global warming is not real. The educated/scientist community, well known to be much more likely to be athiest or agnostic, are the ones saying that GW isreal.

I think there may be a conflict of ideology at the higher levels of religion, that basically say "Hey, these people gave up on God, lets attempt to discredit them so that it gives us a foothold in the scientific community, and makes us seem like we know something. Maybe more people will join us!"

Either that, or I'm being paranoid.

Disclaimer:

People tend to get all insane crazy when politics, religion, and global warming are mentioned.

At no point in this post do I disrespect others, their religion, or break any rules of this blog. In addition, it fits with the GW discussion in this blog. If you don't like my opinion, don't mistake that for a reportable offense.
Quoting Unfriendly:
Global Warming denialists remind me of this story from the great state of Texas...

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2009/09/20/one-backwards-leap-for-texas/

I fail to see why people can say it is "just a cycle" or "not really happening" despite so much evidence to the contrary...

And one last thing:
hercj:
"Global Warming it is more religion than science."
You will find that on a general basis, with a much higher percentage, that it is the fundamentalist christian regime saying that global warming is not real. The educated/scientist community, well known to be much more likely to be athiest or agnostic, are the ones saying that GW isreal.

I think there may be a conflict of ideology at the higher levels of religion, that basically say "Hey, these people gave up on God, lets attempt to discredit them so that it gives us a foothold in the scientific community, and makes us seem like we know something. Maybe more people will join us!"

Either that, or I'm being paranoid.

Disclaimer:

People tend to get all insane crazy when politics, religion, and global warming are mentioned.

At no point in this post do I disrespect others, their religion, or break any rules of this blog. In addition, it fits with the GW discussion in this blog. If you don't like my opinion, don't mistake that for a reportable offense.
You honestly forgot one thing. Funding. You are on a tropical weather blog and therefore I believe you will know the name Dr Christopher Landsea. He had a seat on the U.N. Special Commission on Climate Change. They wanted him on it for one reason, to sign his name to a document stating that the increase and severity of Tropical Cyclones was due to Man Made Global Warming. Landsea has more time flying through the eyewall of Tropical Cyclones than any other scientist at NOAA with the exception of the HRD director Frank Marks. He refused to sign stating that was not his opinion. He walked off the commission and returned to NOAA, but not to HRD. Politics and Religion my friend. No one shall disagree and keep their funding. He is still down at NHC but in a much reduced capacity. If you want to know what is wrong at NHC, this may explain some of it.sorry didn't mean to quote twice.
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Yea, I can see I'm going to avoid the blog until there is a new one. Flames will be flying in here.

Me >
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Disappeared from the 'Weather Underground' in 3... 2... 1.
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86. that's okay...denigration tends to work only if you let it :)
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Post 76!!

I happen to believe in God and that GW is a problem!! GW is caused by both NATURAL causes and MAN MADE CAUSES!! How much MAN is contribuing is the DEBATE worldwide!! It probably would be WISE if mankind, in all our "supposed glory", use technology to CONTROL CO2 EMISSIONS!!!

The $64,000 Question is, "Are we going to PUSH environmental systems that help control CO2, past a point of no return or not? IF we do WHAT kind of WORLD will this become"????

When you cut down the Amazon rain forest, burn and sell the wood, WITHOUT replanting, you're creating a problem! When India and China burn coal for fuel, without effective environmental controls, you create a problem!! When the Great USA uses fossil fuels, "Partying like it's 1999", even with strict emission contols, we have AIR POLLUTION problems plus being the largest CO2 emitter in the world, we have a problem!!
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Quoting BurnedAfterPosting:


Here is the problem with that, in the preface of your post with that link and other things you said, you in fact did insult those who don't believe in the same point of view that you have. Then you say you do not disrespect others and hope we don't take your post as a reportable offense

Kind of ironic I would say


well his user name is "unfriendly"
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Quoting Unfriendly:
Global Warming denialists remind me of this story from the great state of Texas...

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2009/09/20/one-backwards-leap-for-texas/

I fail to see why people can say it is "just a cycle" or "not really happening" despite so much evidence to the contrary...

And one last thing:
hercj:
"Global Warming it is more religion than science."
You will find that on a general basis, with a much higher percentage, that it is the fundamentalist christian regime saying that global warming is not real. The educated/scientist community, well known to be much more likely to be athiest or agnostic, are the ones saying that GW isreal.

I think there may be a conflict of ideology at the higher levels of religion, that basically say "Hey, these people gave up on God, lets attempt to discredit them so that it gives us a foothold in the scientific community, and makes us seem like we know something. Maybe more people will join us!"

Either that, or I'm being paranoid.

Disclaimer:

People tend to get all insane crazy when politics, religion, and global warming are mentioned.

At no point in this post do I disrespect others, their religion, or break any rules of this blog. In addition, it fits with the GW discussion in this blog. If you don't like my opinion, don't mistake that for a reportable offense.


Here is the problem with that, in the preface of your post with that link and other things you said, you in fact did insult those who don't believe in the same point of view that you have. Then you say you do not disrespect others and hope we don't take your post as a reportable offense

Kind of ironic I would say
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Pearlandaggie.
Here's another term you may not have heard of: Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda

Ahhhh! Feel the Gleichschaltung.

Age of stupid indeed.
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Quoting BurnedAfterPosting:


yes very well said


agreed
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Quoting sarahjola:
since i was in school I've heard and seen documentaries on how the earth goes through cycles. earth will do what she wants when she wants no matter what we say, and i also remember the scientist who first warned about global warming having to retract their story, because they were wrong. that is when the global warming name changed to climate change. the earth is in a cooling trend, not warming. before we were all gonna burn, now we are going to freeze. when we tare down a tree we plant 10 more. i don't litter, cuz it drives my nerves. these are things we can and are doing to help the earth. but no scientist is god and they can never stop what this earth is going to do. our planet shifts, goes through cycles, and there is nothing we can do about it.


yes very well said
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Quoting JeffMasters:
I thought the most compelling story of the six documentary pieces was the tale of the Nigerian woman living in the toxic mess that the oil industry has made in Nigeria.


You do realize that over two thirds of the oil spills in Nigeria are from people tapping the pipelines to sell oil on the black market, right?
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76-

I know you said you arent meaning any offense, but you are basically calling anyone who doesnt believe in man made GW and believes in God scientifically inept.
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
now this has been written about by dr. masters, we will see very little about the tropics for the rest of the day.
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76.

LOL
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Quoting BurnedAfterPosting:


so the people who don't believe in global warming are nuts?

think you have that mixed up lol
if we made a movie about the global warming group and implied they are stupid, there would be an uproar about being insensitive. they are trying to take away our right of freedom of speech. they can call us names, protest, and movies stars can be viewed as intellectuals. but we are called names, property destroyed, and our freedom of speech taken away.
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I think everyone who believes CO2 causes global warm---er, climate change---should immediately cease and desist from exhaling that horrible pollutant.

I hear it gets easy after the first three minutes or so. And my, what a quieter, more peaceful planet we'd have!

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Global Warming denialists remind me of this story from the great state of Texas...

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2009/09/20/one-backwards-leap-for-texas/

I fail to see why people can say it is "just a cycle" or "not really happening" despite so much evidence to the contrary...

And one last thing:
hercj:
"Global Warming it is more religion than science."
You will find that on a general basis, with a much higher percentage, that it is the fundamentalist christian regime saying that global warming is not real. The educated/scientist community, well known to be much more likely to be athiest or agnostic, are the ones saying that GW isreal.

I think there may be a conflict of ideology at the higher levels of religion, that basically say "Hey, these people gave up on God, lets attempt to discredit them so that it gives us a foothold in the scientific community, and makes us seem like we know something. Maybe more people will join us!"

Either that, or I'm being paranoid.

Disclaimer:

People tend to get all insane crazy when politics, religion, and global warming are mentioned.

At no point in this post do I disrespect others, their religion, or break any rules of this blog. In addition, it fits with the GW discussion in this blog. If you don't like my opinion, don't mistake that for a reportable offense.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting NRAamy:
"The age of stupid"?

does that mean I get to post my weather forecasts on here again?

:)


haha you crack me up :)
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Quoting TampaSpin:


YOu win the NOBLE PRIZE! Can we take it away from Al and all his other Peeps that have a lack of common sense.........WELL SAID!

thank you, thank you, i am bowing. lol!
Member Since: September 10, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1294
RE-POST

Is that very disorganized 'swirl' east of Florida the remnants of Fred???? Something else????
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Quoting pearlandaggie:
An Inconvenient Question: The Age of Stupid NYC Premiere

wonderful link. i love how they act when they are caught being hypocrites. these people are another huge waste of tax payer dollars, along with acorn, and all of congress. shut them out! shut them down!
Member Since: September 10, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1294
70. wow...never heard that term before.
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"The Age of Stupid as part of a media blitz
The release of The Age of Stupid this week was timed to bring visibility to the climate change issue and help mobilize public opinion in advance of the crucial U.N. Climate Change Conference, which will be held December 7 - 18 in Copenhagen, Denmark. At that meeting, the leaders of the world will gather to negotiate an agreement to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The new agreement will be the world's roadmap for dealing with climate change, and the stakes are huge. The Age of Stupid is key part of a major push green lobby push this week to publicize their key goals:"

Gleichschaltung.

Look it up...
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Quoting sarahjola:
since i was in school I've heard and seen documentaries on how the earth goes through cycles. earth will do what she wants when she wants no matter what we say, and i also remember the scientist who first warned about global warming having to retract their story, because they were wrong. that is when the global warming name changed to climate change. the earth is in a cooling trend, not warming. before we were all gonna burn, now we are going to freeze. when we tare down a tree we plant 10 more. i don't litter, cuz it drives my nerves. these are things we can and are doing to help the earth. but no scientist is god and they can never stop what this earth is going to do. our planet shifts, goes through cycles, and there is nothing we can do about it.


YOu win the NOBLE PRIZE! Can we take it away from Al and all his other Peeps that have a lack of common sense.........WELL SAID!
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67. i think you mean.....



unless i misunderstand your post! LOL
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12N 27W ZZZZZZZZ,ZZZZZZZZZZZ
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since i was in school I've heard and seen documentaries on how the earth goes through cycles. earth will do what she wants when she wants no matter what we say, and i also remember the scientist who first warned about global warming having to retract their story, because they were wrong. that is when the global warming name changed to climate change. the earth is in a cooling trend, not warming. before we were all gonna burn, now we are going to freeze. when we tare down a tree we plant 10 more. i don't litter, cuz it drives my nerves. these are things we can and are doing to help the earth. but no scientist is god and they can never stop what this earth is going to do. our planet shifts, goes through cycles, and there is nothing we can do about it.
Member Since: September 10, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1294
message from Mother Earth


just like you....

there is only....

one of me....

regards
M.E.
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Quoting clwstmchasr:
JB won't let it go with the NHC. It's like Lane Kiffen and Urban Myer going at it. At least Lane has a bit of humor to his antics.


Ya Lane's product was very humorous........LMAO
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Quoting BurnedAfterPosting:


so the people who don't believe in global warming are nuts?

think you have that mixed up lol
Here is the deal. In order to believe in Global Warming, you first MUST believe that the earth has a mean temp. It doesn't. The earth has been in constant flux since it's creation. Dr Roy Spencer's book "Climate Confusion" will simplify this complex issue. It has been my experience that to the believers in Global Warming it is more religion than science.
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58. i second that. LOL
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59. 789
sounds like another way to make money off the stock market instead of buying fuel or gold buy co2 emission penalties
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Quoting sarahjola:

they must have watched the story of stuff. i wonder if annie leonard played in this crapumentary too?
Crapumentary..lol
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Quoting jdnarmy1:
Oh Goody!!! Another movie about us evil, wasteful, arrogant, all consuming Americans just can't wait to watch it.

they must have watched the story of stuff. i wonder if annie leonard played in this crapumentary too?
Member Since: September 10, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1294
Quoting rjfl99:
When the review called it an ANTI global warming movie and judging by the title I thought someone had finally made a spoof of the anti global warming nuts, the ones that scream the sky is falling all the time. That I'd go see. This sounds more like the same drivel that's put out all the time. Believe I'll have to pass on this one.


so the people who don't believe in global warming are nuts?

think you have that mixed up lol
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When the review called it an ANTI global warming movie and judging by the title I thought someone had finally made a spoof of the anti global warming nuts, the ones that scream the sky is falling all the time. That I'd go see. This sounds more like the same drivel that's put out all the time. Believe I'll have to pass on this one.
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