Tag Archives: DVR

Fair Game

Valerie Plame was in the CIA. She was trying to figure out if the Iraqis had nukes back in 2002. Her husband, Joe Wilson, was even getting involved in the spy stuff. He was a former ambassador and took a trip to Niger to check an important piece of intelligence. A very important piece.

Then Scooter Libby and the White House started getting involved. Libby appeared to be angry that the CIA hadn’t found any nukes. He figured the Iraqis had them for sure because they were darn close 1991 and they’ve had ten more years to work on them. He’s like, “Just find ’em, CIA.”

Plame starts working overtime to figure this out and husband Joe starts getting discouraged and pissed because he’s starting his own gig in Washington after being an ambassador and his wife is always gone so it’s a logistical nightmare raising the twins.

They portray the White House as you would expect them to be portrayed by Hollywood, as a group with tunnel vision and a preconceived notion that Iraq had nukes. The CIA, Valerie Plame, and her husband knew this was wrong. We still invade Iraq. You know the story.

All this, very convincing with hindsight (I still need to do an accuracy check). But that’s not the point of the movie really. It’s easy to throw the Bush administration under the bus for blowing this intelligence, but the movie doesn’t dwell on this. It dwells on the fallout of his apparent vendetta against an outspoken Joe Wilson (he blew holes in a key piece of intelligence that Bush used to convince Americans of Iraqi nukes). The fallout I’m speaking of is marital strain for Plame/Wilson, job losses for both, and a serious hit to their reputation.

David and Goliath. Small taking on big and powerful. Family drama. Fact based. Good story.

I feel there’s a subtler point that I’m not sure what to make of. Here it is. Shouldn’t the CIA get accorded the same type of respect and honor that our armed forces get? If so, how do we show it? Do we show it enough?

You don’t ever get a “thank our troops” type of sentiment for the CIA. In fact, since 9/11, it seems they get increasingly maligned. Is this deserved? I feel like I should have been outraged about the leaking of Plame’s status.

The White House basically released to the world that Plame was a CIA agent. Only her husband and parents knew. Can you imagine that? Your best friends think you work for a venture capital firm but really you’re trying to save the world.

She was a spy, man. We’re not talking about an analyst or desk jockey here. We’re talking spy, in the field, doing secret agent stuff, until some dude named Scooter Libby takes it on his own to bring Plame/Wilson down.

Well, actually it wasn’t Libby really, I think Richard Armitage eventually copped to the leak. Libby took the fall though and got 30 months in jail and a $250,000 fine, but Bush commuted the jail time anyhow. So the whole thing kind of went unpunished.

Plame and Wilson moved to Santa Fe and wrote non-fiction books. They consulted on the movie and I think she’s going to start writing spy novels. Sounds like they’re making a living and maybe even living the dream in that beautiful New Mexico town. My wife and I have been planning to go there for a vacation but haven’t pulled the trigger. Gail says they have a huge outsider art community there.


Oh well, I digress.

The ending was kind of slick. They had Naomi Watts walk into Congress to begin testifying on this…then they blanked the screen, paused and did some beeps and blips, and switched to recorded video of the actual event with the real Valerie Plame while they started rolling the credits.

We watched on Showtime. We don’t buy movie channels, but we got it free for six months in some promo deal. Gail made the decision to watch, I was just along for the ride. I liked it.

Here are other options to look into this:

The special prosecutor was Patrick Fitzgerald. That dude had his hands in everything it seems.


This is an action flick. If I recall, this did not get panned. It has a serious all-star cast and they have great chemistry. Mary Louise Parker was especially refreshing and Malkovich was spot on.

It was cute. It had a few cool action scenes. Oh yeah, it had a sweet action scene in Chicago. But the action didn’t really make up for kind of a weak story.

Sort of a waste of time, but I didn’t feel like an idiot for watching it. I know a movie is really crappy if I’m actually angry for wasting the time. So no, I didn’t feel like that, especially because it came at no incremental cost.

Gail and I have watched DVR’d movies two weeks in a row now. Not a trend, but a departure from hardly watching any movies this year.

Summer in Genoa

My wife says to me, “I record everything with Colin Firth in it.” That’s cool, I guess. She’s in charge of the DVR, what could I do?

There are two striking moments early in this movie. One is in the opening scene, which struck me as one of the most horrifying and gut-wrenching death scenes I have ever seen. The second is a few scenes in, which struck me as wrong, as a father and his two daughters finish up the school year and leave Chicago for a year-long trip to Genoa, Italy. That’s not right. Who would do that just at the start of a Chicago summer? Um, nobody.

Shortly after these two scenes, at about 20 minutes, Gail and I debated turning it off. We stuck with it though.

It’s an artsy flick about this guy who takes his two daughters to Genoa as therapy for the death of his wife/their mother. In general, it was a little too artsy for me; no clear plot, ending not really an ending, shaky camera. It kind of lost me at times, but I have no regrets.