That gadfly of the science communication world, Randy Olson, has a new movie out, Sizzle: A Global Warming Comedy, and many bloggers all over the place are putting up their reviews today. I tried something a little different. The other day, I invited a group of people from Morris, Minnesota to watch the movie with me, and then we discussed what we thought of it afterwards…while my daughter, Skatje, video taped the whole thing.
Here’s the team: Nancy Carpenter (UMM chemistry), Kristin Kearns (astronomy/physics), Pete Wyckoff (biology), Len Keeler (physics), Kathy Benson (psychology), Athena Kildegaard (poet), Kathleen and Lawrence Owen (retirees), Arne Kildegaard (economics), Nic McPhee (computer science), and me.
We all watched the movie together, and then…our reaction. It got us all going, and we talked for over 45 minutes, which I’ve edited down to 10 minutes here.
You don’t want to watch the whole thing? Well, the overall response was that, alas, the movie is mediocre as both a documentary and as a movie — it’s not really about global warming at all, but is more about how people respond to information. This is one of those awkward media misfits — it doesn’t really fit into any of the conventional niches. It also doesn’t accommodate itself to passive viewing; I think sitting alone and watching it would have been exasperating. As a catalyst for a discussion, though, it was much more rewarding.
So don’t see it alone! Bring along a few people so you can have a good entertaining argument afterwards.