Money Monster – A TriStar Production

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MONEY MONSTER
An enjoyable movie and you can’t go wrong with Julia Roberts and George Clooney who were the movers and shakers of a popular TV program entitled “Money Monster.” The movie was about how people can be led astray, and when that happens, some people get upset. George is a TV money guru with lots of glitz, glamor and even dancing gets in the middle of a large financial meltdown to the tune of 800 million dollars.
The beautiful Ms. Roberts effectively plays the role of the station manager who has guided the show to success and is the brain behind the handsome face in the camera. The movie is about a disgruntled viewer, who after losing a large chunk of change ($60,000) in an investment, takes his rage out on the show and staff by taking Clooney hostage and bringing a bomb to the studio. Clooney gave him bad advice, therefore bad things are going to happen. This hostage drama was live at seven, in full view of America’s awestruck audience.
The film does a good job of recycling the old formula about corporate greed and how it wreaks havoc on innocent investors, employees and the world in general. There are a lot of bad words and cussing, but just a normal reflection of anger in abnormal circumstances.

 

An interesting point was when one of the bad guys says, “no one complains about corporate misconduct when people are making money.” At the end of the day, it is easy to want to take hostage corporate conduct and its minions. That was a “Bernie Sanderist Message” that resonates in our anti-capitalistic culture. There are bad people running big businesses and small businesses as well. Sin and greed are cross-class phenomena.
The film does a great job of depicting both rage and frustration. We all get angry over things which are supposed to serve us, but we end up on the short end of fairness. The film was also effective showing how all too often, victims are really volunteers. If you feed on the trough of greed, self-centeredness, laziness and gratification in our culture, that is often promoted by big businesses and media companies, at the end, you are what you eat. There is a great, unanticipated rant by the wife of the hostage taker, which was one of my favorite parts. Supporting cast did a super job!

 

I took issue with the message that in this film, media saved the day. Through research, getting the truth and sharing it, bad guys can come to justice, and we can go home feeling hopeful and not so helpless. That is a common media mantra. There was another monster who got a pass and that was the media.

 

Many in the fourth estate really believe they can be our savior, the impartial watchdog of the masses, and blow the whistle on wrong doers. The media, TV, film, print, the internet, etc. are also money monsters. In the movie, the station was making bucks from selling entertainment and false financial guidance. Again, not a problem, until there was a great miscarriage of justice and millions of loot got carried away from investors.

 
Most Americans will like the film. The day got saved, and our heroes were brought closer together as a result of a somewhat thrilling ride they went on. They didn’t ride off in the sunset, but they will again be back in their TV studio tomorrow, planning new programming. Or maybe to just ways to make more money for the media monsters!

THE ABOLITIONISTS
We attended the movie, “The Abolitionists” at the one-time showing here in El Centro (5/16). It was a dramatic documentary about Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.), a ministry seeking to rescue children enslaved in the sex industry and help arrest human traffickers. The focus of the movie was the work of a team led by Tim Ballard, a local, federal law enforcement officer, who left his government job as an investigator, to rescue victims and put very bad people in jail.
The original abolitionists were the fine folks in the 1700 and 1800’s, fighting against slavery that plagued our nation and many others. The church was a powerful force in this movement, and it operated the “underground railroad”, a clandestine effort to help slaves to their freedom. Ballard went from the public to the private sector and organized the nonprofit, “Operation Underground Railroad,” with similar goals, but more focused helping the children, bought and sold, used and abused. For information, to donate, or just be up to date on their successes, go to their website www.operationundergroundrailroad.org.

 

The movie was not fun, but it was a fundraiser. Money raised from the show will go to help the organization and its efforts. The main thing I liked about the movie was that I know Mr. Ballard, and I have seen him work at parent education programs at my school related to internet safety. He is a humble, caring man, but he was the central character in the film. It was powerful, real drama about one of the many dark sides of humanity. Much of the film focused on work in the Third World, but their ministry is responsible for arrests and breaking up trafficking rings here in the bad ol’ U.S. of A.

 

Several things I like about the movie that deals with a very unlikeable subject matter. The cameras enabled you to watch the various facets of the transaction process. Ballard and his team, go to other communities, connect with those selling sex and people, and you get to watch the whole process, down to the bust and the interview process with the predators.

 

Lots of cash would change hands in the rescue process and human greed would show its ugly face time and time again. The scenes with the victims were protective and informative. Hearing the story of a father who four-year old son disappeared was heart wrenching, but every child in the sex industry has parents, relatives and friends who often never know their child’s fate.
Although the topic was dark, the filmmakers shed some light on the natural and man-made beauty, as a backdrop to this bad business. I have traveled a little in Mexico and South America, and the people and many places are just awesome. The stories were painful, but there was also some visual pleasure in this film. It was one of the better documentaries I have seen in my life.
One thing I very much appreciated was the faith-based sentiment woven throughout the film. God loves children, and on the evil and sin continuum, selling and sexual abusing children, is definitely on the edge. On more than one occasion, the team would pray and ask for God’s power, protection and purposes to be realized. I also liked that the film was balanced, and that all missions were not successful. Corruption is a fact of life in all countries, and it slows and even flattens the wheels of justice.