Monday, July 24, 2006



I saw the movie RV on Sunday afternoon with my dad and sisters. Overall it was a good flick, but there were a few statements that really stuck out.

Recipe for family comedy:

Mix one(sometimes two) funny, well-known (and many times beyond his/her prime) actor
Deeply loving and very supportive wife with an extremely strong, controlling exterior
Enviro-conscience and at the same time airhead older daughter
Intelligent and/or unpopular younger son

Place in large bowl and stir in two parts conflict with one part fart jokes/potty humor
Add a touch of slapstick and moral lessons learned
Bake at 450 for one hour
And voila, you have a wholesome family comedy with a happy ending

This movie pretty much sticks to the recipe, but there some pretty funny parts. Robin Williams is still funny.

My issues:

Early in the film, which in fact sets the stage for the future conflict and eventual RV voyage across the country, a friend of the older daughter was invited to a business party, where she insulted the president of the company -- blaming him for childhood obesity because he was responsible for putting sodas in all the schools ("Childhood obesity was on his head"). Obviously these are pretty standard leftist arguments with little evidence, but they appear to represent the opinions of a great many in this country. Additionally, at the very end, the wealthy president is again attacked. This time by the daughter. With many gasps of horror by the audience, she claims that his company sent many jobs overseas. The alleged "outsourcing" was the critical blow. Again, an issue as much beloved by the left -- as the right. It is amazing to me, but I think both sides have this one wrong. I think it is always a fun discussion, but Russell Roberts' The Choice covers it best. Why is outsourcing bad?

Even though I am critical of the film, I think it is still worth a rent or a visit over to Blue Ridge Theatres. You can't beat a buck fifty show.

It really is a fun discussion. I've asked that same question a billion times to opponents of free trade. Back whenever I used to pal around with some Green friends I would always try and change their minds on free trade.

It never seemed to worked. Some of them truly didn't get it (couldn't get their heads around comparative advantage), but most of them really understand that trade can create net increases in wealth in both countries. They just have problems with the distribution of the benefits of trade liberalization.

In the Unites States, when NAFTA was adopted, the benefits to consumers really did outweigh the costs to the producers. But the Greens (i knew) object that these costs were felt most by the poor. GM's CEO's isn't working at Walmart because. And the fact is that NAFTA left very little in terms of training/transfers to help displaced workers find new jobs. So we had big general gains, but losses concentrated on the already poor. It makes for a compelling emotional argument.

And I think this is the reason most people would oppose free-trade. But, in the end, one that I still think is flawed. Why should certain groups (steel workers, say) be allowed to use force to make every one else pay more so they can keep their jobs? Etc.

Anyways. The movie sounds oddly political for a family flick.
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