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The Farewell Party

High drama and lowbrow, morbid humor get stitched together in this successful tragicomedy about terminal patients and assisted suicide. Works better than expected.

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Sunshine Superman

I found Jean Boenish’s philosophical musings less than persuasive. And I don’t think my fear of heights was the reason for my bias.

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

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The real drama of W.

Oliver Stone's movie doesn't begin to approach this level of character insight or emotion. This genuine drama took place in Tallahassee, after the 2006 mid-term election. Notice the phrases over which the former president stumbles and weeps when talking about his son, Jeb, who served two terms as governor of Florida and was prevented by term-limit laws from running for a third:

"He didn't whine about it, and he didn't complain..."

"The true measure of a man is how you handle victory, and also defeat..."

"... who showed not only by his words but by his actions what decency and honor..."

No editorializing is necessary. You can interpret the emotional truth of the moment for yourself. (You don't need to watch the additional clips of W. appended to this clip after Bush Sr.'s speech.)

Side note: In August, 2007, Jeb Bush was hired by Lehman Brothers, the recently defunct financial firm, as "an advisor to its private equity business." A year ago, questions arose about Jeb Bush's involvement in a Florida credit-crunch scandal.

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