I have friends who only read books about current politics, the war in Iraq, environmental crises and generally how messed up everything is. Now, these people are smart folks and quite politically active, and I admire their seriousness. And my own reading list has included titles like Guns, Germs and Steel, King Leopold's Ghost, Lies (and the Liars Who Tell Them) and Nickel and Dimed, among others. But for me, a steady diet of that kind of information is just too depressing.
So when I heard about the movie, King Corn, I thought, "Great, another documentary about how screwed up our food system and our diets are. I saw Supersize Me...why bother?" But then an e-mail came from my pals at Culinate.com touting a showing of the movie to be followed by free beer. Bonus!
We went to the screening last night and were charmed by the earnest and engaging take that filmmakers Curt Ellis, a native Portlander, and Ian Cheney had on this complex yet very human story. It's a film about two guys, Ellis and Cheney, who, returning to the small town in Iowa that their great-grandparents left 80 years earlier, attempt to grow an acre of corn.
The process of growing that acre of corn and meeting the farmers and townspeople whose lives are inextricably tied to industrial corn production is at the heart of this film and provide the through-line that keeps you watching and caring about how it turns out. The narrative is interspersed with talking heads like author Michael Pollan, industry representatives and academics, but it's the stories of the people of Greene, Iowa, that give it heft.
It'll be showing at the Hollywood Theatre through Thursday, so see it if you can. Go to the website for information about additional screenings coming up in Corvallis, Seattle and Bellingham. These guys and their story are worth knowing about!
Details: Screenings of King Corn at the Hollywood Theatre. Nov. 9-15; $6. Check website for showtimes. Hollywood Theatre, 4122 NE Sandy Boulevard. Phone 503-493-1128.