Dave's Rating:

5.0

… beautiful and sometimes heartbreaking cinematography …

Who's in It: Gary Bradley, Willie Nelson, Ann Richards, William Greider, Robert Redford

The Basics: You can recycle your heart out and still wind up living in a disaster area. All it takes is for someone with a lot of money to come in and buy up all the land around you and build a sprawling suburban development. It happened outside of Austin in the mid-1990s, as this documentary shows. Watch as a land developer, with help from the Texas legislature (under then-governor George W. Bush), destroys about 4000 acres of pristine land, including a formerly unpolluted aquifer. And because it's a true story, no one steps in to save the day.

What's the Deal? If you saw An Inconvenient Truth or The 11th Hour, this is an appropriate companion to both. But this one's a little different; instead of just giving you dire warnings about what will happen in the future if we don't stop destroying the planet, you get to actually see thousands of acres ruined over time by locals screaming about their private-property rights the entire way down. A movie for when you want to feel even more dispirited than you already do.

Why You Should Try to See It on a Screen Bigger Than Your TV: The really beautiful (and sometimes heartbreaking) aerial and underwater cinematography needs to be seen large. I don't know if it has anything to do with the Terrence Malick-as-producer connection. But it might.

Best Opposition Interviews in the Movie: The guys with the money who want to ruin the land. One is shown sitting at his crafting table making a model bomber complaining about "self-indulgent" liberals who just want to "sit around smoking their weed." The other is even angrier, demanding compensation not to pollute, wanting to know "who's gonna be responsible for the goddamn five million dollars" he stands to lose if the developers don't get their way.

Best Former Texas Governor Interview: The late Richards, when she says, "I would like to think that Republicans thought that growth was going to bring about money and jobs and that money could be spent on the environment and could be spent on things that affect the needs of people. But history does not bear that out. That may be what is said in campaigns, but it isn't the reality of what occurs."

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