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Thank You for Smoking
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Satire In Thank You For Smoking
Thank You for Smoking, a 2006 screenplay directed by Jason Reitman based on the 1994 satirical novel authored by Christopher Buckley, epitomizes satire. Starring Aaron Eckhart, Katie Holmes, J.K. Simmons, Rob Lowe, Robert Duvall, and many other A-list actors in prominent roles, Thank You for Smoking featured a strong cast of interesting and dynamic characters. Thank You for Smoking centers around the life of Nick Naylor, a smooth-talking lobbyist who works for the Academy of Tobacco Studies. In his job, he is responsible for uncovering questionable evidence and speaking on behalf of “Big Tobacco.” In his testimonies he conducts before Congress, committees, and panels, he emphasizes free choice and lack of causation of major illnesses in defense…
The Movie 'Thank You For Smoking'
Avery McCarty AP Environmental Science Karl Kurz 18 December 2017 “Thank You For Smoking” The movie, “Thank You For Smoking” deals with a lobbyist, Nick Naylor, who is apart of a huge tobacco company that is for smoking and selling cigarette products. Nick has a young son named Joey and explains to him the beauty of argument. He tells him that if you can find a way to sell people on what you believe in and make them think they are wrong, you will always win thank you for smoking movie full the argument. This is the type of…
Thank You For Smoking Essay
Thank You For Smoking Movie Extra Credit The movie “Thank You For Smoking” showed a man, Nick Naylor, and his job as the Vice President of the Academy of Tobacco Studies, in which he was supposed to inform the public on information of research into effects of tobacco. Yet since he worked for a tobacco company, he had to justify the positive side of a substance that was the cause of the most deaths in America. I didn’t really like the movie that much, but I did like the acting. I thought the main…
Morality In Thank You For Smoking
Thank you for Smoking Movie In the movie, “Thank you for Smoking,” the main character is Nick Naylor, who is lobbyist for the cigarette industry. This movie is a bit dark but I would also consider it to be thank you for smoking movie full comedy. Nick speaks on behalf of the cigarette industry and does not leave out the American Government or the media. From the get go, the movie confronts the previously mentioned topics but underneath it also portrays the relationship between a father and son. One evening during a…
Ethos In Thank You For Smoking
“Thank You for Smoking!” -email or hand it in class -typed or hand written thank you for smoking movie full Answer at least 3 for 15 pts: Up to 30 pts possible (5 pts max per question) -3-4 sentences a piece -Due Mon. Nov 9 How does Nick use ‘ethos’ to his advantage? (charisma, character, competence) thank you for smoking movie full Nick uses his charisma and character when he talked to the committee about the cigarettes danger labels. He appeals to them as a thank you for smoking movie full who is well dressed and spoke rhetorically. Because Naylor is the…
Ethical Issues In Thank You For Smoking
Part A Our group chose to discuss rhetoric and sophistry amongst characters in Thank You for Smoking (Rietman 2006) and to what extent does the film present an ethical argument. Upon analysing Naylor’s, Finistirre’s and Holloway’s speech, it was prudent to first establish the context for the audience’s ease of understanding. As the producer, I discussed the marketing and production aspects of the film, providing the quantitative figures. More importantly, I establish Reitman’s motivations and…
LLEH World: A Short Story
galloping through the gravel like an invisible horse carried her, so innocent, and kind. Fun fact best car rental insurance usa you, young children have the purest souls of all ages than by the time their sixteen they become corrupted and full of despair. Yet I laugh in my own mind, when I think about how even in death a person we saw once in our lifetime who wasn’t that important,…
Satire In Christopher Buckley's Thank You For Smoking
Lucy O’Sullivan In Thank You for Smoking, Christopher Buckley tightrope walks along a fine line of reality and absurdity with just enough dips into the irrational to render the novel a crafty work of satire. Buckley’s characters are absurd illustrations of everyday tropes, and the satire of the book ultimately shines through them rather than the world around them. BR takes the idea of the “corrupt boss” to a whole new level; everyone in the corporate world has believed their boss to be evil at…
Public Relations In The Film Thank You For Smoking
(“Marketing”, n.d.) while PR sells the company (“Introduction to Public Relations”, n.d.). Marketing cares more about financial success while PR is more concerned on the positive image. In the film “Thank You For Smoking”, it is evident that the companies comprising Big…
Smoking With Children
Is It Okay To Smoke With Children In The Car? I think it’s not ok. People who smoke usually want to quit, but it is really hard. It takes about 2 weeks to get the nicotine, marijuana, tobacco, which are very harmful substances found in cigarettes, out of your system when you stop smoking. The hardest part is quitting the habit of picking a cigarette up and smoking it. Then, if they start smoking, the substances are back in their system and they have to start all over again. It’s bad for your…
Page 1 of 27 - About 264 Essays
Here is a satire both savage and elegant, a dagger instead of a shotgun. “Thank You for Smoking” targets the pro-smoking lobby with a dark appreciation of human nature. It stars Aaron Eckhart as Nick Naylor, a spokesman for the Academy of Tobacco Studies. We meet him on the Jenny Jones show, sitting next to bald-headed little Robin, a 15-year-old boy who is dying of cancer “but has stopped smoking.” Nick rises smoothly to the challenge: “It’s in our best interests to keep Robin alive and smoking,” he explains. “The anti-smoking people want Robin to die.”
Nick Naylor is a pleasant, good-looking career lobbyist who is divorced, loves his son, Joey (Cameron Bright), and speaks to the kid’s class on career day. “Please don’t ruin my life,” Joey pleads, but his dad cross-examines a little girl whose mother says cigarettes can kill you: “Is your mother a doctor?” Once a week he dines with the MOD Squad, whose other members are alcohol lobbyist Polly Bailey (Maria Bello) and firearms lobbyist Bobby Jay Bliss (David Koechner). They argue over which of their products kills the most people. The initials MOD stand for “Merchants of Death.”
The movie was directed by Jason Reitman, 29, who warmed up by making short subjects. What’s remarkable in his first feature is his control of tone; instead of careening from one target to the next, he brings a certain detached logic to his method. Notice how Nick negotiates with a Hollywood super-agent (Rob Lowe) on the challenge of getting movie stars to smoke onscreen once again. Right now, they agree, no one smokes in the movies except for villains and Europeans. The stars would have to smoke in historical pictures, since in a contemporary film other people would always be asking them why they smoke. Or – why not in the future, after cigarettes are safe? Smoking in a space station?
Jason Reitman grew up around movies; his father is Ivan Reitman (“Ghostbusters,” “Evolution”). But Jason has his own style, sneaky and subtle. Instead of populating his movie with people smoking and coughing and wheezing, he shows not a single person smoking, although the ancient Captain (Robert Duvall), czar of the tobacco industry, holds a cigar like a threat. Eckhart has a good line in plausible corporate villains (see his debut in “In the Company of Men”), and he is smiling, optimistic and even trusting (as when he tells reporter Katie Holmes things he should know will not be off the record).
Naylor’s opponent in the film is Sen. Ortolan Finistirre (William H. Macy), a Vermont environmentalist whose office desk is covered with his collection of maple syrup bottles. The senator has introduced legislation requiring a skull and crossbones to be displayed on every cigarette pack, replacing the government health warning. The symbol is better than the words, he explains, because “they want those who do not speak English to die.”
Reitman’s screenplay is based on a novel by Christopher Buckley (son of William F.), and retains a literary flavor rare in a time when many movies are aimed at people who move their lips when they think. Consider this exchange between Nick and his young son, who wants help on a school assignment:
Joey: “Dad, why is the American government the best government?”
Nick: “Because of our endless appeals system.”
Or this nostalgia by Duvall, as the Captain: “I was in Korea shooting Chinese in 1952. Now they’re our best customers. Next time we won’t have to shoot so many of them.”
What I admired above all in “Thank You for Smoking” was its style. I enjoyed the satire, I laughed a lot because it’s a very funny movie, but laughs are common, and satire, as we all know, is what closes on “Saturday Night Live.” Style is something modern movies can’t always find the time for. I am thinking for some reason of “The Thin Man” (1934), a movie that works in large part because of the way William Powell and Myrna Loy hold themselves, move and speak; their attitude creates a space between the vulgarities of the plot and the elegance of their personalities, and in that space the humor resides. Their lives are their works of art. Nick Naylor is like them, not egotistical or conceited so much as an objective observer of his own excellence. It is the purpose of the movie to humble him, but he never grovels, and even in a particularly nasty situation is still depending on his ability to spin anything to his advantage. If you want to remake “The Thin Man,” I say Aaron Eckhart and Catherine Keener.
The target of the movie is not so much tobacco as lobbying in general, which along with advertising and spin control makes a great many evils palatable to the population. How can you tell when something is not good for you? Because of the efforts made to convince you it is harmless or beneficial. Consider the incredible, edible egg. “Drink responsibly.” Prescription drug prices doubled “to fund research for better health.”
At one point in the movie Nick pays a call on Lorne Lutch (Sam Elliott), a former Marlboro Man, now dying of cancer and speaking out bitterly against cigarettes. Nick brings along a briefcase full of $100 bills. This is not a bribe, he explains. It is a gift. Of course, to accept such a gift and then continue to attack tobacco would be ungrateful. Lorne eyes the money and wonders if he could maybe take half of it and cut back on his attacks. Nick explains with genuine regret that it doesn’t work that way. Once you’re on board, you’re along for the ride.
Thank You for Smoking
Thank You for Smoking is a 2006 comedy-drama film that is a satirical look at the machinations of Big Tobacco's chief spokesman, Nick Naylor, who spins on behalf of cigarettes while trying to remain a role model for his twelve-year-old son.
- Written and directed by Jason Reitman, based on the novel by Christopher Buckley.
America is living in spin.(taglines)
- Few people on this planet know what it is to be truly despised. Can you blame them? I earn a living fronting an organization that kills one thousand two hundred human beings a day; 1200 people. We're talking two jumbo jet plane loads of men, women, and children. I mean there's Attila, Genghis, and me, Nick Naylor, the face of cigarettes, the Colonel Sanders of nicotine. This is where I work, the Academy of Tobacco Studies. It was established by seven gentlemen you may recognize from C-Span. These guys realized quick if they were going to claim cigarettes were not addictive, they better have proof. This is the man they rely on—Erhardt Von Grupten Mundt. They found him in Germany; I won't go into the details. He's been testing the link between nicotine and lung cancer for thirty years, and hasn't found any conclusive results. The man's a genius—he could disprove gravity. Then we got our sharks. We draft them out of Ivy League law, schools and give them timeshares and sports cars. It's just like a John Grisham novel, well—you know—without all the espionage. Most importantly, we've got spin control. That's where I come in. I get paid to talk. I don't have an MD or law degree. I have a bachelor's in kicking ass and taking names. You know that guy who can pick up any girl? I'm him, on crack.
- After watching the footage of the Kent State shootings, Bobby Jay, then seventeen, signed up for the National Guard so that he too could shoot college students. But, the National Guard recruiter was out to lunch, so Bobby Jay ended up shooting Panamanians instead. Which was almost as good as college students, only they shoot back.
- How many alcohol related deaths a year? 100,000? That's, what, 270 a day? Tragedy. How many firearms related deaths a year? 11,000? That comes out to a measly 30 a day!
- In 1910, the US was producing ten billion cigarettes a year, by 1930 we were up to one hundred twenty three billion, what happened in between? Three things: a World War, Dieting and movies. [.] 1927, talking pictures are born. Suddenly directors need to give their actors something to do while they're talking. Cary Grant and Carole Lombard are lighting up, Bette Davis, a chimney, and Bogart, remember the first picture with him and Lauren Bacall? [.] She sort of shimmies in through the doorway. Nineteen years old. Pure sex. She says "Anyone got a match?" and Bogie throws the matches at her. and she catches them. Greatest romance in the century, how did it start? Lighting a cigarette. In these days, when someone smokes in the movies, they're either a psychopath. or an European. The message that Hollywood needs to send out is "Smoking is Cool!". We need the cast of, uh, Will & Grace smoking in their living room, Forrest Gump puffing away between his box of chocolates, Hugh Grant earning back the love of Julia Roberts by buying her favorite thank you for smoking movie full - her Virginia Slims. Most of the actors smoke already. If they start doing it on screen. We can put the sex back into cigarettes.
- Everyone's got a mortgage to pay. [inner monologue] The Yuppie Nuremberg defense.
- Michael Jordan plays ball. Charles Manson kills people. I talk. Everyone has a talent.
- People, what is going on out there? I look down this table, all I see are white flags! Our numbers are down all across the board. Teen smoking, our bread and butter, is falling like a shit from heaven! We don't sell Tic Tacs for Christ's sake. We sell cigarettes! And they're cool and available and addictive. The job is almost done for us! Now, this environmentalist [Pussy] is challenging us. We have to have an answer! I'm asking you, when this cocksucker puts Captain Hook on our product, what the fuck are we going to do!?
- 50 million dollars?! Are you out of your fucking mind?!
- The rest of you people go slam your fucking brains against your first republic bank hours until something useful comes out!
Senator Ortolan Finisterre
- The great state of Vermont will not apologize for its cheese!
- When you're looking for a cancer kid, he should be hopeless. He should have a wheelchair, he should have trouble talking, he should have a little pet goldfish in a Zip-lock bag, hopeless.
- Heather Holloway: My other interviews have pinned you as a mass murderer, blood sucker, pimp, profiteer and my personal favorite, yuppie Mephistopheles.
- Doak "The Captain" Boykin: You're family now. Tobacco takes care of its own.
- Joey Naylor: It's like you always said, Dad, "If you want an easy job, go work for the Red Cross."
- Bobby Jay Bliss : It was some pretty fucked up shit.
- Polly Bailey : Are you a tit man?
- Nick Naylor: I speak on behalf of cigarettes.
- Child: My mommy says that cigarettes kill.
- Nick Naylor: Now, is your mommy a doctor?
- Child: No.
- Nick Naylor: A scientific researcher of some kind?
- Child: No.
- Nick Naylor: Now, she doesn't exactly sound like a credible expert now, does she?
- Little girl sinks back into her chair
- Nick Naylor: Look at it this way. How many you want to be lawyers? Lawyers earn money to talk.
- One little boy raises his hand
- Nick Naylor: OK, let me try this again. How many of you want to be movie stars?
- Multiple children: Yes!
- Nick Naylor: Movie stars get paid to talk! That is what I do, I talk.
- Nick Naylor: Now, what we need is a smoking role model, a real winner.
- Jeff Megall: Indiana Jones meets Jerry Maguire.
- Nick Naylor: Right, on two packs a day.
- Jeff Megall: Sony has a futuristic sci-fi movie they're looking to make, Message from Sector Six.
- Nick Naylor: Cigarettes in space?
- Jeff Megall: It's the final frontier, Nick.
- Nick Naylor: But wouldn't they blow up in an all-oxygen environment?
- Jeff Megall: [long pause] Probably. But, you know, it's an easy fix. One line of dialogue: "Thank God we created the, you know, whatever device." You ought to make a product to tie in with the movie, such as a new brand of cigarettes.
- Nick Naylor: Sector Sixes?
- Joey: What happens when you're wrong?
- Nick Naylor: See, Joey, that's the beauty of argument. When you argue correctly, you're never wrong.
- Jeff Megall: Do you know what time it is in Tokyo, Nick?
- Nick Naylor: No.
- Jeff Megall: 4 pm tomorrow. It's the future, Nick. Anyway for Pitt to smoke it's 10 million, for the pair it's 25.
- Nick Naylor: 25?! Usually when I buy 2 of something I get a discount. What's the extra 5 for?
- Jeff Megall: Synergy. These are not stupid people, they got it right away. Pitt and Zeta-Jones lighting up after some cosmic fucking in the bubble suite's gonna sell a lot of cigarettes.
- Nick Naylor: Well for that kind of money, my people will expect some very serious smoking. Can Brad blow smoke rings?
- Jeff Megall: I don't have that information.
- Nick Naylor: Well for 25 million, we'd want smoke rings.
- Jeff Megall: Oh, one other thing. You'll be co-financing this picture with the Sultan of Glutan.
- Nick Naylor: The Sultan of Glutan, the one that massacred and enslaved his own people? Aren't they calling him the Hitler of the South Pacific?
- Jeff Megall: I can't speak to that. In all my dealings with him he's been a very reasonable and sensitive guy, he's fun, you'll like him. [his phone beeps] Oh, thats London calling, it's 7 am in the old empire.
- Nick Naylor: Jeff, when do you sleep?
- Jeff Megall: Sunday.
- [Inside the elevator at Entertainment Global Offices (EGO)]
- Jack: Do you hear that?
- Nick Naylor: [pause] No.
- Jack: Exactly!
- [Nick Naylor and his son arguing about ice cream]
- Joey: So, what happens when you're wrong?
- Nick: Well, Joey, I'm never wrong.
- Joey: But you can't always be right.
- Nick: Well, if it's your job to be right, then you're never wrong.
- Joey: But what if you are wrong?
- Nick: Okay, let's say that you're defending chocolate and I'm defending vanilla. Now, if I were to say to you, "Vanilla's the best flavor ice cream", you'd say …?
- Joey: "No, chocolate is."
- Nick: Exactly. But you can't win that argument. So, Thank you for smoking movie full ask you: So you think chocolate is the end-all and be-all of ice cream, do you?
- Joey: It's the best ice cream; I wouldn't order any other.
- Nick: Oh. So it's all chocolate for you, is it?
- Joey: Yes, chocolate is all I need.
- Nick: Well, I need more than chocolate. And for that matter, I need more than vanilla. I believe that we need freedom and choice when it comes to our ice cream, and that, Joey Naylor, that is the definition of liberty.
- Joey: But that's not what we're talking about.
- Nick: Ah, but that's what I'm talking about.
- Joey: But … you didn't prove that vanilla's the best.
- Nick: I didn't have to. I proved that you're wrong, and if you're wrong, I'm right.
- Joey: But you still didn't convince me.
- Nick: Because I'm not after you. I'm after them.
- Joey: You're The Sultan of Spin!
- Nick: "The Sultan of Spin"?
- Joey: Mom subscribes to Newsweek.
- Joey: Why did you tell that reporter all your secrets?
- Nick: You're too young to understand.
- Joey: Mom says it's because you have dependency issues and it was all just a matter of time before you threw it all away on some tramp.
- Nick: Well, that's one theory.
- [Nick and Heather are introducing themselves to each other]
- Heather Holloway: Heather Holloway.
- Nick: Nick Naylor. Big Tobacco.
- Heather Holloway: [holds up tape recorder] Is this kosher?
- Nick: Only if I can call you Heather.
- Heather Holloway: By all means. So, Mr. Naylor …
- Nick: [interrupting] Nick.
- Heather Holloway: Nick. Let's start with …
- Nick: '82 Margaux.
- Heather Holloway: Okay. Is it good?
- Nick: "Good"? It'll make you believe in God.
- Jack: Hey, Neil! Neil! I'm going to impale your mom on a spike and feed her dead body to my dog with syphilis!
- Neil: Ha, you got me!
- [Jack turns back to Joey and Nick, who both look confused.]
- Jack: It's an inside joke.
- Nick: What?
- Bobby: I got a call from the paper.
- Nick: Really? What did they want?
- Bobby: They wanted the correct spelling of my name and job title.
- Polly: You didn't tell her about us, did you?
- Nick: Who? … Heather? No! … I mean, maybe in passing.
- Polly: In passing.
- Bobby: Oh God, he fucked her. I tried to warn you …
- Polly: Hey, he didn't fuck her. You didn't fuck her, did you? … When?
- Bobby: In passing.
- Nick: Look, she's a really nice girl.
- Bobby: Oh God, we're really fucked.
- [All voice-overs reading the newspaper article]
- Nick: Nick Naylor, the lead spokesman for big tobacco, would have you believe he thinks cigarettes are harmless, but really he's doing it for the mortgage.
- Polly: The "M.O.D. Squad"—meaning, of course, "Merchants of Death"—is comprised of Polly Bailey, of the Moderation Council, and Bobby Jay Bliss, of the gun business's own advisory group, S.A.F.E.T.Y.
- Bobby: As explained by Naylor, the sole purpose of their meetings is to compete for the highest death toll as they compare strategies on how to dupe the American people.
- Jeff: The film, Message from Sector Six, would emphasize the sex appeal of cigarettes in a way that only floating, nude, copulating Hollywood stars could.
- Lorne: This did not stop Nick from bribing the dying man with a suitcase of cash to keep quiet on the subject of his recent lung cancer diagnosis.
- Jill: Nick's own son, Joey Naylor, seems to be being groomed for the job as he joins his father on the majority of his trips.
- Nick: [on Bobby's dessert: a piece of apple pie topped with a slice of cheese and an American flag] That's disgusting.
- Bobby: It's American.
- Polly: Can I have a bite?
- Senator Ortolan Finisterre: Please state your name, address, and current occupation.
- Nick: My name is Nick Naylor. I live at 6000 Massachusetts Avenue. I am currently unemployed but until recently I was the Vice President of the Academy of Tobacco Studies.
- Senator Ortolan Finisterre: Mr. Naylor, as Vice President of the Academy of Tobacco Studies, what was required of you? What did you do?
- Nick: I informed the public of all the research performed in the investigation on the effects of tobacco.
- Senator Ortolan Finisterre: And what, so far, has the Academy concluded in their investigation into the effects of tobacco?
- Nick: Well, many things actually. Why just the other day they uncovered evidence that smoking can offset Parkinson's disease.
- Senator Ortolan Finisterre: I'm sure the health community is thrilled. Mr. Naylor, who provides the financial background for the Academy of Tobacco Studies?
- Nick: Conglomerated tobacco.
- Senator Ortolan Finisterre: That's the cigarette companies.
- Nick: For the most part, yes.
- Senator Ortolan Finisterre: Do you think that might affect their priorities?
- Nick: No. Just as, I'm sure, campaign contributions don't affect yours.
- Audience laughs
- Senator Lothridge: Mr. Naylor is not here to testify on the goings on of the Academy of Tobacco Studies. We're here to examine the possibility of a warning label on cigarettes. Now, Mr. Naylor, I have to ask you out of formality, do you believe that smoking cigarettes, over time, can lead to lung cancer and lead to other respiratory conditions such as emphysema.
- Nick: Yes. In fact, I think you'd be hard pressed to find someone who really believes that cigarettes are not potentially harmful. I mean -- show of hands -- Who out here thinks that cigarettes aren't dangerous?
- Senator Dupree: Mr. Naylor, there's no need for theatrics.
- Nick: I'm sorry. I just don't see the point in a warning label for something people already know.
- Senator Dupree: The warning symbol is a reminder, a reminder of the dangers of smoking cigarettes.
- Nick: Well, if we want to remind people of danger why don't we slap a skull and crossbones on all Boeing airplanes, Senator Lothridge. And all Fords, Senator Dupree.
- Senator Ortolan Finisterre: That is ridiculous. The death toll from airline and automobile accidents doesn't even skim the surface cigarettes. They don't even compare.
- Nick: Oh, this from a Senator who calls Vermont home.
- Senator Ortolan Finisterre: I don't follow you, Mr. Naylor.
- Nick: Well, the real demonstrated #1 killer in America is cholesterol. And here comes Senator Finisterre whose fine state is, I regret to say, clogging the nation's arteries with Vermont cheddar cheese. If we want to talk numbers, how about the millions of people dying of heart attacks? Perhaps Vermont cheddar should come with a skull and crossbones.
- Senator Ortolan Finisterre: That is lu-- The great state of Vermont will not apologize for its cheese!
- Senator Lothridge: Mr. Naylor, we are here to discuss cigarettes -- not planes, not cars -- cigarettes. Now as we discussed earlier these warning labels are not for those who know but rather for those who don't know. What about the children?
- Nick: Gentlemen, it's called education. It doesn't come off the side of a cigarette carton. It comes from our teachers, and more importantly our parents. It is the job of every parent to warn their children of all the dangers of the world, including cigarettes, so that one day when they get older they can choose for themselves. I look at my son who was kind enough to come with me today, and I can't help but think that I am responsible for his growth and his development. And I'm proud of that.
- Senator Ortolan Finisterre: Well, having said that, would you condone him smoking?
- Nick: Well, of course not. He's not 18. That would be illegal.
- Senator Ortolan Finisterre: Yes, I've heard you deliver that line on 20/20, but enough dancing. What are you going to do when he turns 18? C'mon, Mr. Naylor. On his 18th birthday will you share a cigarette with him? Will you spend a lovely afternoon -- like one of your ludicrous cigarette advertisements? You seem to have to have a lot to say about how we should raise our children. What of your own? What are you going to do when he turns 18?
- Nick: If he really wants a cigarette, I'll buy him his first pack.
- [Ron has just arrived in Senator Finisterre's office. In the office, is pride awards for his state, Vermont's cheese.]
- Ron Goode: You wanted to see me sir.
- Senator Ortolan Finisterre: Have a seat, Ron.
- [Ron sits down in a chair in front of a desk, facing Senator Finisterre.]
- Senator Ortolan Finisterre: You see, Ron, I can't be everywhere I'm needed. That's why I send people like you to speak on my behalf. When you're there, you're not Ron Goode, a guy whom your friends probably like, you're Senator Finisterre's aide and your name really doesn't matter. So when Ron Goode acts like a complete asshole on The Joan Lunden Show, I'm being an asshole on The Joan Lunden Show.
- Ron Goode: Senator, sir, he sprang on me like.
- Senator Ortolan Finisterre: Where in the hell did you find Cancer Boy?
- Ron Goode: He was supposed to be quite reliable the Pulmonary Council was one of his references.
- Senator Ortolan Finisterre: Fucking non-profits! When you're looking for a cancer kid, he should be hopeless. He should have a wheelchair, he should have trouble talking, he should have a little pet goldfish in a Zip-lock bag, hopeless.
- Ron Goode: I apologize, sir, but if it wasn't for Nick Naylor-
- Senator Ortolan Finisterre: Nick Naylor? Don't you even think of using him as an excuse! The man shills bullshit for a living. You work for a fucking senator! A senator who's supposed to be tough on tobacco. Have a little. pride, for God's sake!
- America is living in spin.
- Nick Naylor doesn't hide the truth … he filters it.
IN THE LAND of the shallow, the man with one iota of awareness is king.
In the wry “Thank You for Smoking,” tobacco industry lobbyist and spin doctor Nick Naylor holds the scepter — unfiltered and always lit.
Artfully played by Aaron Eckhart, who etched a career as an unprincipled knave in “In the Company of Men,” the “yuppie Mephistopheles” is the titular head of the M.O.D. Squad, a weekly gathering of alchohol (Maria Bello), firearms (David Koechner) and tobacco hucksters self-dubbed the Merchants of Death.
The amoral soul of writerdirector Jason Reitman’s captivating debut, Nick gets well-paid to blur the line between lighting up and lightening up. He obfuscates medical data, twists truths, makes lies palatable.
Charming and handsome, Nick is damn good at what he does. He knows that and he takes pride in it.
In rougher hands, the character would spark hisses and boos, and the picture would be booted from theaters faster than you married at first sight season 9 matt exhale.
But because of Eckhart’s polished portrayal — and the story surrounding his character with people phonier and more unscrupulous than he — you find yourself liking Nick.
Although reluctant to self-reflect, he occasionally self-glimpses. And Eckhart makes him seem more mischievous than sinister.
So you remain fascinated by Nick, even as he puts down a young cancer victim and intimidates a tiny schoolgirl whose mother told her smoking is bad: Is your mother a scientist? Has she done research? he asks.
Based on Christopher Buckley’s scathing satire, “Thank You for Smoking” takes potshots at government, big business, Hollywood and the media.
It’s the Enron hearings accompanied by banjo music.
Who knew cynicism could be such fun?
Director Reitman imbues Buckley’s dark subject matter with a blithe spirit that proves irresistible.
Even Katie Holmes comes off well as a journalist who uses sex to ferret out her stories (shame, shame).
William H. Macy has a good turn as a dour anti-smoking senator. But Rob Lowe is the scene-stealer as the fatuous head of a studio whose acronym is E.G.O.
Sam Elliott also impresses as a former Marlboro Man-like icon. Nick visits the terminally ill cowboy with a suitcase full of cash, and his young son (Cameron Bright) in tow for bonding purposes.
Dying of lung cancer, the once-proud, now-decimated man rages at his former employer and delivers a passionate speech about integrity. Then Nick says the right words and he accepts the hush money.
The son sees all and learns: With the proper spiel, you can get anything. As his father explains, “The beauty of argument is, if you argue correctly you’re never wrong.”
“Thank You for Smoking” seldom missteps. Director Reitman (producer-director Ivan’s son) sticks to the surface rather than exploring issues in depth. That’s how most movie satires operate.
Reitman bolsters his with some of the year’s sharpest writing. His leading character is like Satan enjoying the Toys R Us in Hell.
You can reach film critic Barry Caine by calling (925) 416-4806, writing 4770 Willow Road, Pleasanton, CA 94588, or e-mailing [email protected]
"Anyone who smokes in a movie is either a psychopath or a European," according to Nick Naylor. As the chief spokesman for a big tobacco corporation, he is arguably the former, but Jason Reitman's ingenious satire casts Naylor - played with great panache by Aaron Eckhart - as the hero. This is a story of spin, of Naylor's witty attempts to justify the indefensible products of his bosses while playng the fatherly role model to his 12-year-old son (Cameron Bright).
In the course of a short, tightly scripted movie, Nick cuts a product placement deal with a Hollywood studio, bribes the original Marlboro Man to keep his mouth shut about lung cancer and bullies schoolchildren into ignoring health advice. "Is your mommy a doctor?" he asks a bewildered pre-teen. "No? Well, she's hardly a credible expert then, is she?" Then, after a hard day, Nick likes to relax with his friends, the spokespeople for the alcohol and firearm industries. They call themselves the Merchants of Death.
"GREAT COMIC TURNS"
He is, in other words, a nasty piece of work. But such is the cynical snap of Reitman's script that you find yourself rooting for Nick, wanting him to connect with his kid and escape the clutches of Katie Holmes' heartless reporter. In terms of story, Thank You. is pretty familiar territory, encompassing a kidnapping and a Supreme Court showdown. But as a clear-eyed dissection of the dirty business of public relations, where "if you argue correctly, you're never wrong", it is pretty much peerless. Great comic turns too, from Rob Lowe as a serene Hollywood exec and William H Macy as Naylor's senatorial nemesis.
Thank You For Smoking Review
By Joe Lozito
Satire is hard to do well, but Mr. Reitman - who also wrote the screenplay based on the novel by Christopher Buckley - hits exactly the right tone from start to finish. It's an impressive feature-length writing/directing debut from the son of the man who brought us "Stripes" and "Ghostbusters". The younger Mr. Reitman shows more of a gift for the subtlety of satire than the broad comedy of his father's films.
"Smoking" is the kind of film in which a Hollywood "super-agent" (Rob Lowe) works for a company with the initials E.G.O. or in which the senator from the great state of Vermont (William H. Macy, always a pleasure) sits in front of a sculpture of his state made to look like a hunk of cheese.
There are too many knowing nods and winks throughout the film and half the fun is experiencing them yourself. With the exception of the unfortunate casting of Katie Holmes (who looks like a kid playing dress-up) as a frisky newspaper reporter, the cast is uniformly terrific. J.K. Simmons, in full J. Jonah Jameson mode, is on-hand as the blustery head of the Agency for Tobacco Studies; Sam Elliot, in the part he's been waiting for, plays the original Marlboro Man; and the mind-bogglingly wonderful Robert Duvall makes a memorable appearance as the mint julep-sipping "Captain".
If the film ever goes wrong it's in a sadly ironic way. There's a scene in which Mr. Eckhart's character is confronted with giving up smoking (don't worry, it's not done with heart-tugging violins underneath). While the scene is as sardonic as anything else in the film, it shines a spotlight on one undeniable hypocrisy: we've actually never seen Mr. Eckhart's character (or anyone else in the film for that matter) light up. No one smokes in "Thank You For Thank you for smoking movie full.
Now I don't want to make too much of this because the movie is fantastic. But considering one of the key plot points involves Nick convincing Rob Lowe's aforementioned super-agent to introduce cigarettes back into mainstream Hollywood films (in one of many perfectly delivered impassioned arguments by the verbally-gifted Mr. Eckhart), isn't it a pity that the film needed to have it both ways?
Of course, I can't help thinking since no one at all smokes in the film, that it's possible I'm arriving at exactly the conclusion Mr. Reitman wants me to. It's possible he's pointedly saying, "hey look, I can't even have characters smoking in my own smoking satire." Then again, I might just be getting a little too "meta" for my own good. Either way, this is as much as I've had to think about any movie yet this year. And it feels good.
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