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Written by Rob Schultz (human).

#2,134: Merchants of Doubt

The Myth of the American Sleepover - ★★½☆☆
I think this would be the middle movie in a trilogy that starts with Dazed and Confused and ends with a movie that hasn't been made yet about kids in the 90s or 00s about to enter high school, except in that third movie, they'll all sit at home texting each other. The really daring kids might video chat a little.

Almost nobody gets what they want, and only a few people get what they deserve. Each story had a side-character that I kind of felt bad for.

2 Fast 2 Furious - ★★★☆☆
This movie doubles down on the two most notable things from the first movie: car chases and embarrassingly bad dialogue. I give 'em credit for making what seems to be the only traditional sequel in the series - it's the same movie, but not, and bigger. Also, points for no dumb just-because romantic sub-plot.

I wonder if Ludicris appears in the movie because they want him to do a song, or if they let him do a song so he'll act in the movie.

Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief - ★★★☆☆
I don't know what I thought this was going to be, but it's pretty much what you'd expect: every story you've heard about scientology. Not as flashy as Merchants Of Doubt, but better organized. Similar in pacing though, and it definitely has an opinion, maybe even a mission. I've been working with a lot of documentary projects recently, and it's refreshing to see a movie that knows what it wants.

Merchants of Doubt - ★★★½
Even if I completely set the content aside – which is admittedly a weird thing to do – I really liked how this is a movie that has a thesis and presents its case in interesting ways. Consequently, I was kind of unhappy with the last third of the movie, which seemed to wander somewhat from the original point.

Unlike Going Clear, I'd be interested in checking out the book that was the basis for this movie, but mainly because I'm curious to see where it diverges. Although Merchants may have been an adaptation, it felt like its own filmic creation, where Going Clear felt more like a translation - a conveyance of existing material into a new medium.