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Dream Team Documentarians Make Freakonomics

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It takes a wild leap of the imagination to think Freakonomics, the best selling book by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner could be made into a film. Incredibly, several offers were made and finally the right concept presented itself: a dream team of documentary filmmakers Morgan Spurlock, Alex Gibney, Eugene Jarecki, Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing, among them, creating what amounts to a very clever, entertaining, seemingly random fact-loaded commentary on the workings of our world. At a special screening on Wednesday, author Stephen Dubner presented one tidbit not found in his book, but it could have been: after giving the predictable alarming statistics about drunk drivers, he asked had we ever thought about the risks of drunk walkers. Huh? And then he provided the alarming statistics. Let's just say, it is neither safe nor prudent to drive or walk home after cocktails.

Over cocktails at the afterparty in the Garden Room of Michael's, another set of documentarians including Barbara Kopple and Robert Richter chatted about the inventiveness of their colleagues. Morgan Spurlock, creator of the popular Supersize Me directed the Freakonomics segment that explores the idea of how people's names determine their destiny, following the fate a baby who had been given the unfortunate name of "Temptress." You can guess how her life turned out.

"Which part of the film was your favorite?" he asked me, and then ventured his own: I loved Eugene's elaborate conceit on how the crime rate dropped after Roe v. Wade. Not actually taking a stand on the right to abortion/ right to life issue, the segment was more an illustration of how the elimination of unwanted children is a boon to civilization. Fewer neglected individuals exert their pathology on society. That's the kind of witty logic exhibited throughout. To answer Morgan's question though, I had to admit, my favorite was his because I'd often contemplated the fate of a particular supermarket checkout woman who sported the nametag "Kleshea." Is your name Klee-shia? I had asked, trying to figure it out. No, it's Cliché.

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