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Matt Damonís Latest Film Simplifies a Complex Political Issue
Townhall.com ^ | January 6, 2012 | John Hanlon

Posted on 01/06/2013 5:41:57 AM PST by Kaslin

Matt Damon’s latest film “Promised Land” arrived in theaters nationwide yesterday with a focus on the controversial issue of fracking. Written by Matt Damon (who won an Oscar for co-writing “Good Will Hunting”) and John Krasinski (“The Office),” the story focuses on a small community that is asked to debate the merits of the process when a large corporation arrives in town wanting to buy much of the local land.

In an article from the Wall Street Journal, reporter Daniel Gilbert described -- much more succinctly than the film does -- what the process of fracking entails. He noted that “Fracking involves blasting millions of gallons of water mixed with sand and chemicals into a well to break up shale and allow oil and gas to flow out.”

The community that “Promised Land” is set in is suffering financially and tempted by the thought of having millions of dollars poured into the region. Damon plays Steve Butler, a salesman who tries to convince the locals to sell the land to his company, Global. When a local politician hosts a discussion of the subject in the high school gym, though, Butler spots trouble right away when a teacher (played by Hal Holbrook) interrupts the forum to question the environmental impact that fracking would have in the area. Soon enough, a charismatic environmentalist named Dustin Noble (Karsinski) arrives in town and tries to get the locals to reject Global.

The movie, focusing on the controversial subject, has inevitably received criticism from those on the Right and praise from some on the Left. But it’s not the movie’s political leanings that hold it back. It’s the simplicity in which the writers evaluate the subject.

Superficially, the movie seeks to argue that fracking can be both beneficial and detrimental. Butler argues that it will help the community because it will bring in more money to the individuals who sell their land. Noble argues that fracking will destroy the community and even grossly suggests -- to a group of young students, no less -- that fracking could cause the whole community to burst into flame.

When you think about the real substance of the film, though, its ideology is clear. Like many “evil corporations ,” the fracking company in “Land” has a cold and hardened name: Global. As opposed to the small-town farmers depicted in the movie, the company has arrived in town to take over the community without any respect to its traditions or values. The character’s names also lack much subtlety. Butler is, of course, the character who does the corporation’s chores for them. He gets the locals to sign their land away, working for a company that he seemingly knows little about. (At one point, he even questions some of the damning evidence against his company, noting that if the evidence was true, he would have already heard about it already). On the other hand, the proud environmentalist is named Noble.

So whom would you trust? A Butler who works for a corporation -- or a Noble who loves the environment and loves spending time with regular people?

It should be noted that the story offers some twists that seek to offer more complexity to the main characters. Those twists, however, fail to take the story to a higher level. Instead, they just show how evil -- and ruthless -- the corporation really is. From the beginning of the film, the deck is stacked in favor of the environmental forces. By the end, the story reveals that much of the debate about fracking only existed because the corporation wanted it to exist.

Of course, the movie argues that Global is evil. It’s a corporation that exists solely to make money. And as Butler argues, the townspeople should agree to its requests because they too can be greedy capitalists. In one scene, he argues that the money that the townspeople receive will be “screw you money” (although Butler doesn’t use the word “screw”). But few arguments are offered about the benefits of fracking and why many consider it a viable energy source.

In other words, “Promised Land” takes a complex issue -- worthy of a vigorous and important debate about energy independence -- and simplifies it, leaving the viewer with a blatantly one-sided account of the issue.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: fracking; hollywood; jobsandeconomy; mattdamon

1 posted on 01/06/2013 5:42:06 AM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

That film is going to bomb.


2 posted on 01/06/2013 5:43:55 AM PST by gotribe (obama = the Great Divider)
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To: Kaslin

large corporation arrives in town wanting to BUY much of the local land, compared to reality, the government TAKING IT.


3 posted on 01/06/2013 5:47:21 AM PST by ronnie raygun (Being Breitbart, Concord and Lexington America's first gun grab attempt)
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To: Kaslin

Superficially, the movie seeks to argue that fracking can be both beneficial and detrimental.

Wow. Giving both sides of fracking. I was not interested in the movie but since it gives the positive and negatives or pro and con of this why are people against this movie? Crazy!!!! I think movies that give you both sides of an issue is a good thing. I am surprised conservatives are against this....shouldn’t making up your own mind and decisions be a conservative attribute?


4 posted on 01/06/2013 5:47:21 AM PST by napscoordinator (GOP Candidate 2020 - "Bloomberg 2020 - We vote for whatever crap the GOP puts in front of us.")
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To: Kaslin

It’s not a complicated issue at all.

1. There is tons of proof that fracking recovers tons of natural gas and oil in a cost effective way. Doing that will add tons of jobs, hugely reduce our trade deficit, and hurt terrorists.

2. There is no evidence at all that fracking damages water supplies.

Making this “complicated” is just a backdoor way to decarbonize America, kill job creation, increase the trade deficit and help terrorists.

Making this “complicated” suggests that there are two reasonable sides to this issue that need to be balanced. There are not.


5 posted on 01/06/2013 5:50:11 AM PST by ModelBreaker
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To: gotribe

Oh definitely. The film cannot compete with Texas Chainsaw and Django. Those two are the top movies of the weekend guaranteed!!!! I have not seen either one of these but Django seems interesting....if it is like Pulp Fiction which it seems to be it might be a decent movie.


6 posted on 01/06/2013 5:50:24 AM PST by napscoordinator (GOP Candidate 2020 - "Bloomberg 2020 - We vote for whatever crap the GOP puts in front of us.")
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To: ModelBreaker

There is no evidence at all that fracking damages water supplies.

It is too soon to know. Smoking cigarettes were not classified as bad for you for a ton of time until they found out they are not the greatest item on the market when thinking about health.


7 posted on 01/06/2013 5:52:48 AM PST by napscoordinator (GOP Candidate 2020 - "Bloomberg 2020 - We vote for whatever crap the GOP puts in front of us.")
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To: gotribe
It will, however, have a great deal of success in government mind-control centers just as an Inconvenient Truth did.

As long as there are schools, environmentalist pablum will have a market.

8 posted on 01/06/2013 5:52:58 AM PST by Aevery_Freeman (The trouble with the "masses" is that they never achieve the "m")
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To: napscoordinator
Cigarettes? You mean what we called back in the 50's, "coffin nails"?

Yes, we knew but accepted the risk.

Now we have a bunch of fat people that live with diabetes rather than a bunch of thin people that die of cancer.

Life's hard - choices matter.

9 posted on 01/06/2013 5:57:00 AM PST by Aevery_Freeman (The trouble with the "masses" is that they never achieve the "m")
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To: Kaslin
leaving the viewer with a blatantly one-sided account of the issue.
No! Say it ain't so. Who'd have guessed?
10 posted on 01/06/2013 5:58:01 AM PST by oh8eleven (RVN '67-'68)
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To: ModelBreaker

Are you trying to suggest that there might be something unsavory about the fact that Saudi Arabia funded Matt Damon’s little movie and that it might be biased?


11 posted on 01/06/2013 5:59:48 AM PST by Aevery_Freeman (The trouble with the "masses" is that they never achieve the "m")
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To: napscoordinator
Smoking cigarettes were not classified as bad for you for a ton of time
Nonsense. You can watch movies from the 20s that refer to cigarettes as "coffin nails."
12 posted on 01/06/2013 6:03:50 AM PST by oh8eleven (RVN '67-'68)
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To: Kaslin
A couple of weeks back there was an article about this film and Damon being financed by one of the Arab oil states.

FUMD

13 posted on 01/06/2013 6:06:56 AM PST by metesky (Brethren, leave us go amongst them! - Rev. Capt. Samuel Johnston Clayton - Ward Bond, The Searchers)
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To: Kaslin

A simple LIE maybe.

LLS


14 posted on 01/06/2013 6:08:21 AM PST by LibLieSlayer (FROM MY COLD, DEAD HANDS!)
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To: Kaslin

15 posted on 01/06/2013 6:10:17 AM PST by Westbrook (Children do not divide your love, they multiply it.)
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To: napscoordinator

The first well was fracked in Pennsylvania, nearly 100 years ago. It is not too soon to say it’s safe.

The only risk with fracking is human error when handling the drilling fluids above ground. (ruptured tanks, leaking tankers, improper/illegal disposal)


16 posted on 01/06/2013 6:12:59 AM PST by lack-of-trust
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To: Kaslin
In other words, “Promised Land” takes a complex issue -- worthy of a vigorous and important debate about energy independence -- and simplifies it, leaving the viewer with a blatantly one-sided account of the issue.

Playing Devil's Advocate:

One could say the same about the Movie "Atlas Shrugged Part I/Part II". The message in Atlas is: capitalism is good, government control is bad, captains of industry can save the nation. It's really quite one-sided.

The difference is: The pro-socialist movie gets a big star (Matt Damon), and big publicity budget, wide opening release, will probably win an award, and may make a profit.

The "Atlas Shrugged" movies were shunned, featured no one famous, got no awards, and made no profit.

Telling a one-sided story in favor of socialism can work out very well. It's money in the bank.
Telling a one-sided story about capitalism is not welcome at this point in history. It's financially risky.

17 posted on 01/06/2013 6:15:30 AM PST by ClearCase_guy (Nothing will change until after the war.)
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To: napscoordinator
"Giving both sides of fracking. I was not interested in the movie but since it gives the positive and negatives or pro and con of this why are people against this movie? Crazy!!!! I think movies that give you both sides of an issue is a good thing. I am surprised conservatives are against this....shouldn’t making up your own mind and decisions be a conservative attribute?"

If you think this movie gives both sides, you are sadly mistaken. The flick was largely financed by United Arab Emirates backers. Guess what THEY want.

There is no real scientific controversy about fracking, which has been done for half a century, with improving safety the entire time.

The whole "anti-fracking" meme (not just this movie) is promulgated by a confederation of interest between "green" eco-nuts and OPEC. The greens provide the propaganda, and the OPEC interests see that it gets transmitted (OPEC entities own large chunks of Associated Press, Fox, and many other channels for propaganda transmission).

Have there been incidents from fracking.....yes. But like mass school shootings they have been (and make the news only because) they are very, VERY rare.

18 posted on 01/06/2013 6:22:04 AM PST by Wonder Warthog
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To: napscoordinator
Superficially, the movie seeks to argue that fracking can be both beneficial and detrimental.

Exaclty - haven't/won't see it, but I bet you can summarize his role as, "Fracking helps provide plentiful, affordable energy.....Oh my God, what have I helped wreak on the poor planet...I'm so fracking sorry, but now I know better; fracking and cheap energy are eeeeeeevil".

19 posted on 01/06/2013 6:32:35 AM PST by trebb (Allies no longer trust us. Enemies no longer fear us.)
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To: Kaslin
My husband and I watch the original CSI frequently. This season they had an episode where a number of citizens had died of various cancers and one guy was losing his mind because of the fracking on his land. When the CSIs went to his land, his well burst into flame and he burned to death. I was surprised that this ‘story’ would have been on CSI so quickly so I looked for evidence that something like this might have happened. Couldn't find a thing. Big Entertainment manipulates at every turn. I will not see this movie even though a friend's husband has a minor role. I would be surprised if it has any bias toward fracking as that is not how Hollywood plays any issue. PS-we haven't been as loyal to CSI since. Not a surprise. PPS-we had a friend who worked CSI and told us that many of the stories were based on real occurrences.
20 posted on 01/06/2013 6:35:27 AM PST by originalbuckeye
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To: Kaslin

I think it was Michael Medved who described “Promised Land” as the “China Syndrome of Fracking”, a movie designed to make people terrified of an energy source.


21 posted on 01/06/2013 6:57:41 AM PST by tbw2
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To: originalbuckeye

Natural gas in well water is not necessarily or even usually due to fracking.

More likely it is a result of the slow release of natural gas through existing fissures in the earth. Eventually some of this natural gas could dissolve in water deep underground. When the water is pumped up to the surface the dissolved gas will bubble out, just like a carbonated drink. If the gas is allowed to collect in a well cistern, it could ignite or explode if exposed to the air and a spark.

It would not surprise me at all if such water well explosions have occurred in the past, but it would very much surprise me if any such occurrence could be linked in any way to “fracking”.


22 posted on 01/06/2013 7:07:39 AM PST by John Valentine (Deep in the Heart of Texas)
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To: tbw2

I happen to live in an area where the sand used in the fracking process is removed from the landscape and shipped to the drilling sites. While many land owners and the community do benefit from the sale and eventual mining process, the sand mining process needs a closer look. Considering the entire process involved with fracking, the sand mining does indeed make a MAJOR change to the landscape, some good and some not so good. I invite ANYONE wanting to learn more about frack sand mining to look into that mining process before commenting about “fracking”. Get educated.


23 posted on 01/06/2013 7:08:45 AM PST by DaveA37
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To: Kaslin

Now I don’t have to see the movie besides anytime the left coast wants to make a political statement in a film all I can say is Frack them.


24 posted on 01/06/2013 7:25:43 AM PST by Rappini (Veritas vos Liberabit)
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To: napscoordinator
I am surprised conservatives are against this....shouldn’t making up your own mind and decisions be a conservative attribute?

It is, but relying upon Hollywood (and more specifically, Matt Damon) is not.

Cheers!

25 posted on 01/06/2013 7:35:55 AM PST by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: Kaslin

Complicated: Kom-pla-kated.. a word often used when the left needs to make you believe lies devoid of facts to advance their agenda


26 posted on 01/06/2013 7:37:39 AM PST by Breto (Stranger in a strange land... where did America go?)
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To: gotribe

They make up numbers for everything else so I suspect the day has come when we cannot believe their movie numbers.
After all they benefit greatly if they can fudge the numbers.

Shame on America for what we have become


27 posted on 01/06/2013 7:39:15 AM PST by winodog (Thank you Jesus for the calm in my life)
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To: Kaslin
In other words, “Promised Land” takes a complex issue -- worthy of a vigorous and important debate about energy independence -- and simplifies it, leaving the viewer with a blatantly one-sided account of the issue.

Welcome to Hollywood!

28 posted on 01/06/2013 7:58:59 AM PST by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: gotribe
That film is going to bomb....required viewing in every school in America.

Just like Al Gore's Inconvenient Crap was.

29 posted on 01/06/2013 8:00:26 AM PST by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: Elsie

Don’t you mean welcome to Hollyweird?


30 posted on 01/06/2013 8:02:11 AM PST by Kaslin (He needed the ignorant to reelect him, and he got them. Now we all have to pay the consequenses)
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To: winodog
Shame on America for what we have become

Sin is a reproach to any nation.

31 posted on 01/06/2013 8:05:05 AM PST by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: Kaslin
Perhaps someone will do a movie about the Newtown disaster: as seen thru the eyes of Mothers who CHOSE to kill their own flesh and blood that day...

...and next we have the story of Jane Roe.

She had just been told her 'problem' was taken care of when the big TV in the waiting area blurted out the news that 26 had died in another part of Connecticut.

Here are her words...


32 posted on 01/06/2013 8:08:50 AM PST by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: Kaslin

There will be about 46 of these stories...

from that day...

and the next day...

and the next...

and the...


33 posted on 01/06/2013 8:10:26 AM PST by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: Elsie


Makes me GLAD to be a HOOSIER!
 
 
 



34 posted on 01/06/2013 8:17:13 AM PST by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: napscoordinator

Too soon to know? We’ve been fracking for 50 or 60 years.

You should really get informed about things you are attempting to opine upon.


35 posted on 01/06/2013 8:31:44 AM PST by FreedomPoster (Islam delenda est)
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To: Kaslin

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson Tells Congress “No Proven Cases Where Fracking Has Affected Water”
http://youtu.be/L4RLzlcox5c

Just for the record.


36 posted on 01/06/2013 8:36:34 AM PST by FreedomPoster (Islam delenda est)
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To: John Valentine

Exactly. It’s reminiscent of the way oil seeping up naturally from the ocean floor and washing up on beaches was used to ban offshore drilling in California.


37 posted on 01/06/2013 8:58:50 AM PST by denydenydeny (Admiration of absolute government is proportionate to the contempt one has for others.-Tocqueville)
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To: Kaslin

what REALLY is a “complex issue”...?

That’s a situation in which leftists KNOW that really a really good study of the issue details by middle-class people will hand them an end-scenario that they’ll view as DEFEAT. So instead of you looking into those pesky details they ask you to rely on them to summarize them FOR YOU.

And they’ll be eager to do that for you because they see the middle-class as IDIOTS whose real raison d’etre is to be manipulated by leftist elites.

When a leftist deems a situation complex...

1. He wants something you have

2. He’s showing his belief that you’re an idiot

3. He’s showing his belief it is natural for him to make decisions for you


38 posted on 01/06/2013 9:18:43 AM PST by gaijin
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To: napscoordinator

“I am surprised conservatives are against this....shouldn’t making up your own mind and decisions be a conservative attribute?”

Life’s too short to wade through all the lefty BS.
If I want indoctrination or to attempt to decipher code or to experience a `feel good,’ Capra-esque, goo-goo moment, I’ll watch `Bowling For Columbine,’ `An Inconvenient Truth,’ `The Day After Tomorrow,’ or any number of Hollyweird agit-prop pieces. On second thought—no, I won’t.
It’s all spinach and I say to hell with it. How’s that?


39 posted on 01/06/2013 9:54:13 AM PST by tumblindice (America's founding fathers: All armed conservatives.)
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To: Kaslin

Say it ain’t so, Jim Halpert. :(


40 posted on 01/06/2013 8:17:14 PM PST by proud American in Canada (Pray for America. And Happy New Year!!)
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To: Aevery_Freeman

“Are you trying to suggest that there might be something unsavory about the fact that Saudi Arabia funded Matt Damon’s little movie and that it might be biased?”

No, I would never do that. It would be wrong.


41 posted on 01/07/2013 8:05:05 PM PST by ModelBreaker
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To: napscoordinator

I wrote: “There is no evidence at all that fracking damages water supplies.”

You replied: “It is too soon to know. Smoking cigarettes were not classified as bad for you for a ton of time until they found out they are not the greatest item on the market when thinking about health.”

In other words, there’s no evidence. You’re just scared something might come up. Well, something always “might” come up. In the meantime, while you and your green friends wring their hands and block meaningful progress, America will continue funding Muslim terrorists and hemorrhaging jobs.

You will probably prevail. You have fear and the media on your side. Boo!


42 posted on 01/07/2013 8:08:32 PM PST by ModelBreaker
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To: napscoordinator

It’s just about as “balanced” as “The China Syndrome” was.


43 posted on 01/07/2013 8:11:25 PM PST by dfwgator
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