Monday: 02.May.2005

ENRON: Smartest Guys in the Room

Saw ENRON: Smartest Guys in the Room at the movies last night. Was hesitant to go, cuz I know the ENRON story: how the nation's once-7th largest company, seemingly overnight, turned into the biggest corporate failure in history .. how top executives made off with million$, while rank-in-file workers lo$t everything, including their pensions ..

.. how management encouraged employees to continue buying more worthless stock, while they were secretly selling off their own shares. It was the worst corporate scandal ever.

continued

This kind of story disturbs me, but the reviews were so strong that I had to go .. to see if it was really as good as everybody said. Rotten Tomatoes ranked it one of their top films.

I'm glad I went, cuz this movie *is* excellent. It's certainly no feel-good flick, but very well made (based on the book). I would not hesitate to put it on my official recommended list (if I had one).

Saw it up the road in Newport Beach at the Lido, in one of those old-fashioned theaters, the kind you rarely see any more, cuz the big chains have put most of 'em out of business. I try to support the little guys when I can.

So like I was sayin', this movie is well crafted. The first thing that stuck out was the music. As different aspecs of the ENRON story unfold, selected songs play.

For example, when they introduce Key Lay, the CEO of ENRON (son of a poor Baptist minister), they played: "The only one who could ever reach me, was the son of preacher man." (Dusty Springfield, 1969)

The Lido has a good sound system, so the music sounded great. It contrasted well with the ENRON corporate culture being described.

As a side note, Ken Lay has a PhD in Economincs (Univ. of Houston), so nobody believes him when he claims ignorance, saying: "I knew nothing wrong was going on."

The movie OPENS with a close-up of big red letters: JESUS SAVES. As the camera pulls back, we see it's a sign displayed over a church. The camera continues to pull back, and we see the ENRON towers begin to dwarf the little church.

I could say much about this movie, but the thing that really hit me was this: that people like Ken Lay, son of a Baptist minister, who claimed to be a pillar of moral rectitude, who prays and goes to church, who claims to have a strong moral compass, (I'm sure he's a nice person), can do more harm to more people's lives than the average heathen could ever dream of. The word *hypocite* just doesn't seem sufficient.

The film was not idle speculation. Rather, they presented their case well, producing *documents* .. which took up the whole screen .. with appropriate sections highlighted .. proving this guy was (is) a first-class weasel .. at least in the business world. He put profits (money) ahead of everything.

It's this contrast between *claiming* to be a do-gooder, of the IMAGE one presents, and reality. I think we'd all do well to be a little more skeptical of people who claim to have strong religious beliefs, who know how to talk the talk, and judge them rather by their actions, heeding the advice found in Matthew: Ye shall know them by their fruits. If ever there a wolf in sheep's clothing...

ENRON & Ken Lay were the biggest contributors to George Bush. They are close buddies from the oil industry. And you know how George claims to have a direct line to God. Many scenes in the film show them together.

So it was ironic the movie opened the way it did. I wonder if the filmmakers picked up on the same thing I did. They never came out and said it, tho.

[Comments closed due to problems with s*p*a*m*m*a*g*e.]





Posted by Rad at May 2, 2005 07:05 AM

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