Thank You For Smoking

Years ago, I watched a man named Chad convince his best friend, Matt, to make a deaf woman fall in love with him. The plan was to have her fall head-over-heels and then leave her broken hearted. She did fall in love with Matt. And even though he fell in love with her as well, being the beta male and going along with whatever Chad said, he eventually ripped her heart out. I knew that Chad was the mastermind behind the whole ordeal. And the fact that he’s a businessman – an overgrown boy who never moved out of the fraternity house – didn’t help. I hated him. I hated Matt too. But Chad was someone to despise.

We saw Thank You For Smoking last night. It was a spur-of-the-moment decision. Making spur-of-the-moment decisions to see movies before one has eaten dinner is a big mistake. Tobyjoe and I both ended up cramming whatever edible substance we could find at Whole Foods into our open mouths. I ate alone on the second floor cafe level where he would eat later as I made a beeline to the theater in order to get decent seats.

Once he arrived, thoroughly unsatisfied from our most peculiar dinner contraption, we decided to compound upon our belly aches by purchasing (and later finishing) a medium popcorn and a bag of peanut M&Ms. Needless to say, smoking or not smoking wasn’t what grazed our minds for the duration of the film. Instead, our bellies sat there percolating. Oh to have some Pepto to wash it all down.

I don’t like to drone on and on about films because, well, it’s probably pretty boring to read. I would like to say a few things, however. Nick Naylor works as a tobacco lobbyist, which pretty much means he offers money to people to ensure that more and more people continue to smoke. And while his boss (Robert Duvall) is chauffeured around in a Rolls Royce, he’s making sure that America’s youth continues to light up by trying to figure out ways to help them do just that.

I know, it doesn’t sound very funny at all. But it is! I promise you; at times it’s laugh out loud funny. And the cast is phenomenal. I could have done without seeing Dennis Miller (because I don’t like him) but his role is small and pretty meaningless.

Thank You For Smoking was so good, and Aaron Eckhart did such a fine job at playing Nick Naylor, I actually forgave him for playing Chad in In The Company Of Men so many years ago. In Thank You For Smoking, I found that I was actually rooting for him.

Side not: One thing I found very interesting about the film was that at no time did I see anyone actually smoke a cigarette at least not to my recollection. Even the tobacco dealers didn’t smoke. I’m not sure why, but I found that little detail (or lack thereof) really great.

Go see it. Katie Holmes almost gets naked.

26 Comments

  1. I saw this last week and loved that detail also—that nobody actually smoked.
    I thought the movie was brilliantly done…and different than I expected. I am a smoker, yet certainly am not so stupid or naive to think tobacco companies are anything but pure evil.
    What got me is how it wasn’t a complete slam on the companies, but more a satire on the priorities we have and the hypocracies we display.
    I thoroughlly enjoyed it.

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  2. It was good, but I was kind of disappointed—I was hoping it was going to be filmed more as a mockumentary instead of a feature. Just a style preference.

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  3. i just saw “Goodnight and Goodluck” they smoked through the whole thing and it made me nuts…..as an ex-smoker, i really wanted to light up! nothing worse than a boring movie with perpetual smoking to get you in a nice clam state of mind!

    can’t wait to see “thank you…”, it looks pretty funny.

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  4. clam…hahaha….calm maybe

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  5. I saw Thank You for Smoking on Sunday, along with Friends with Money. Both were great. I really enjoyed Thank You for Smoking.

    My favorite parts where whenever Rob Lowe was on screen. He was so unbelievably perfect and hilarious in that small but awesome part. “When do you sleep?” “Sunday.” Hee hee. In fact, I loved everything about the trip out to CA. Such a comment on how ridiculous Hollywood is sometimes.

    I’ve loved Aaron Eckhart since Erin Brockovich and Molly (really good, hardly seen movie with Elizabeth Shue) and I thought he did a wonderful job as Nick. He was incredible in the way he balanced Nick’s conflicting feelings over his job and how it affected his son. Really well done.

    I took note about halfway through that no one was smoking (not that I saw, anyway) – nice choice that was, since that was the whole topic of the movie.

    Mario Bello was particulary good, as was Sam Elliot as the Marlboro Man.

    I would recommend this film to anyone who loves a good satire.

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  6. Needed more naked Katie Holmes. She’s a weird fetish item now that she’s been brainwashed and sucked into a real-world version of Rosemary’s Baby.

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  7. That’s what the world needs. More naked Katie Holmes. :) shiver

    I can’t believe those sex scenes were what Tom was “supposedly” upset about.

    I thought the scenes with her and Katie were chemistry-less and she was annoying. I did enjoy the end concerning her though.

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  8. I ment “Aaron and Katie”, not “her and Katie” by the way.

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  9. regarding the sex scenes… I had heard that. Is it indeed true? Also, weren’t they cut from the final? The sex scenes he was really upset about? Or was that a dream I had?

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  10. Also, did anyone else compare any of it to other passionate political agendas? I couldn’t help but think about all those who really believe that abortion is murder and how they feel that anyone who has or helps someone have an abortion are muderers. Much in the same way people felt that the tobacco industry and Nick Naylor was in this film?

    I am barely touching on this, but I really do want to bring it up.

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  11. Re: Tom and his problem

    It all started when the movie was screened at a film festival and the sex scene – I’m not sure which scene, the beginning or the one towards the end – was missing when it was shown. There was a rumor that Tom had it taken out of the film permanently. Jason Reitman stated that it was just a mistake that the scene was missing and that it absolutely would be in the theater version.

    It’s hard to say what really happened, but it all sounds a little fishy, that just THAT scene was missing. I tend to think even though Tom is a tad insane, he wouldn’t do that. I don’t know.

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  12. One never knows what one is capable of when fueled by Scientiology.

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  13. Also, from how the sex scene was described, it sounded A LOT more graphic than what was shown. I don’t know if that was just media hype (likely) or maybe that supposedly graphic scene really didn’t get put back in. No idea what the truth is, just speculating.

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  14. Like, in the other version she licked her palm first, right?

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  15. Very true, Michele. From what has been shown of Tom’s behavior so far, it might be true. That’s so sad.

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  16. All I read was that Tom found the scene “dirtier than he would like to see” and that Jason Reitman said it was “12-second scene…about as tame as something you would see on the Disney Channel.” It sounds like Tom just had a hissy, which wouldn’t be out of character.

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  17. This is the second recommendation I’ve received for this movie – will have to give it a shot.

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  18. I tell ya, even though Nick was entirely seductive and likeable, it didn’t change my opinion of lobbyists at large.

    At one point, he discusses with his young son the ‘moral flexibility’ required to do his job. He asks if a defense lawyer should defend a murderer. His son replies ‘Yes, because everyone deserves a fair trial.’

    Nick then says ‘Exactly – even giant corporations.’

    Well, I agree entirely that anyone charged with a crime deserves a fair trial in a court of law. But lobbyists aren’t lawyers, and media isn’t a court of law no matter how poetically we choose to describe it.

    Protecting a citizen from wrongful imprisonment is so very different than protecting an industry from public opinion or regulation…

    Great film, super funny, but it didn’t win my heart for lobbyists – especially ‘sin’ lobbyists.

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  19. I loved this movie too, but the more I think about it, the more I think him and katie holmes should have gotten back together, and he shouldn’t have let her get him down so much. I forgive tht foray into “down and out” though, because it let his kid whip him back into shape and tell him to get it together, which is what I wanted to say to him, so that was satisfying.

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  20. What was the description when Nick was chatting with Rob Lowe? Something about a lead character who was part SOMETHING and part Jerry McGuire?

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  21. It would have been awesome had it been Cruise instead of Pitt.

    I can’t stand Tom Cruise. Have I ever said as much? I can’t stand him.

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  22. Cigarettes saved my life.

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  23. Tobyjoe ~ It was Indiana Jones.

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  24. right! does that describe nick? and was the lack of smoking in the film (even after the sex scenes) a comment on the attempts to bring it into the fictional film?

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  25. Now that I think about it, at the end of the movie, Nick started to be an Indiana Jones/Jerry Maguire figure. More Jerry Maguire – standing up for what he thinks is right, even though he is part of a soulless business, leaving the business and kind of realizing what he was part of and wanting to change (Jerry Maguire, really). Is that what you ment?

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  26. tobyjoe is right. more nekkid Katie would have gotten my other thumb up.

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