Monday, August 19, 2013

Monday Movie Madness: Freakonomics

I thought this week I would go with something educational.  A little entertainment fiber to help you digest any recent reality show binging you might be doing.  But hopefully the kind you still enjoy watching.  Like the way I love Brussels sprouts, and they just happen to be really good for you.

This is another instantly Netflix-able film, Freakonomics.

I haven't read the book that made this economist-journalist duo famous, and it isn't really necessary in order to enjoy the movie.  It's composed of several mini-movies each made by a different documentarian taking on a topic from the freakonomics perspective, which generally means taking conventional wisdom and pummeling it with statistics until a hidden answer emerges.  Undoubtedly the most controversial segment involves analyzing dropping crime rates in conjunction with the legalization of abortion, but I found the segments on the importance of names and whether students could be bribed into good grades to be really intriguing.

With this movie, you're getting bite-sized chunks of interesting information that invite you to take a second look at things you think you know.  And it shouldn't leave you feeling utterly depressed about the state of the world.  Which, trust me, can be a downside to many documentary viewings.

And if you like the movie or the book, I also recommend tuning into Marketplace on NPR when they have their their Freakonomics segments, usually with journalist Stephen Dubner schooling Kai Ryssdal.  It's a regular Wednesday segment, and it's one of the perhaps unlikely reasons that I look forward to working out on Wednesdays, because it puts me in the car driving home at just the right time to listen to the show at 6:30 on KUT.

And hey, if you're 'being good' and watching a documentary, that means you can indulge on the concession stand candy or popcorn, right?

Thanks again to our lovely host, Heather, and you can read her review this week at Amaryllis Mussings.


  1. Oh I have been meaning to read that book. You sold the movie to me at least. :)

  2. Yes, I think I'll have to check this out too. A documentary that doesn't depress one is good stuff.