CONTAGION, THE MOVIE
AN AUTHORITATIVE REVIEW
SEPTEMBER 6, 2011. First, I want to let you know I’ve ended my radio show. It was a good run, but I have too many other projects going. Thanks to those who listened over the last year or so.
Okay. Now to the matter at hand.
FEAR THE VIRUS.
TREMBLE AT THE VIRUS.
OH, THE HUMANITY, OH THE IRONY, THAT WE, WITH ALL OUR TECHNOLOGY, FALL TO THE MACHINATIONS OF THE BARELY VISIBLE SPECK. OUR HUBRIS HAS BROUGHT US DOWN.
On Sept. 9, the bio-disaster film, Contagion, opens worldwide. With a budget of $60 million, director Steve Soderbergh, Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Kate Winslet will try to convince audiences that a virus can kill off half the world in six days. Or something.
The tag line on the movie poster is: Nothing Spreads Like Fear.
Or as I prefer, Nothing Spreads Like Bullshit.
The script received assistance from the CDC and “a team of scientific experts,” and was partially based on research into the global SARS epidemic. Would that be the epidemic that spawned 8,422 confirmed cases and killed 916 people? (See Katherine Harmon‘s report — in Scientific American — on the scientists consulted and the science used during the making of the film).
More people have died from toasters falling out of apartment windows than from SARS.
The CDC will love this film, because, God knows, they need all the ammo they can get to justify their bloated budget, as they continue to do nothing about disease, except falsify reports on it.
For one reference, Google “Peter Doshi, BMJ, CDC flu death statistics,” and you’ll get an eyeful.
Anyway, I’m sure Contagion will make back its expenses, even if the CDC has to buy ten million tickets.
Vegas casino bookies are setting the over-under line on how times the word “mutation” will be mentioned in the film at 40.
Hollywood has a long tradition of hyping medical “brilliance,” and Contagion will be its latest brain-dead homage.
Laurence (CSI) Fishburne, as the CDC spokesman, will deliver a morbidly stagnant phoned-in performance—which, come to think of it, is perfect for his role.
Jude Law, as the rogue blogger, will mention at least one fake cure for the lethal virus. Wonder if it will be nutritional—you know, just to take a swipe at natural health.
“See your doctor, take your medicine, and shut up, even though we don’t have an effective medicine. And as your brain is being munched on by The Germ and your spine is dissolving and you are being shot at by mobs of rioters, don’t you dare ingest a few herbs. There are no peer-reviewed studies establishing efficacy for such remedies.”
Perhaps, at the end of the movie, we’ll see an announcement about getting vaccinated. Flu-jab booths in the lobby?
The producers are hoping for a good bounce from the horror-film crowd, but this could backfire, because those folks are often vocal when they sit in dark theaters and watch people on the screen being eaten up.
I predict the following. In at least one theater somewhere in the world:
Someone will sit in his seat and squeeze out a hacking cough from start to finish of this turkey;
Someone will say, “There’s a virus on your face! Get away from me!”
Someone will shout, “Kill, virus, faster!”
Someone will yell, “My organs are falling out of my body!”
They will be hushed by nasty glares from other moviegoers, who ascribe a sacred quality to viruses bordering on religious awe.
I’ve been waiting years for someone to start an underground Church of the Virus.
“God is actually H1N1. He’s had enough.”
If you decide to spend ten or 20 bucks, or whatever it costs to go to movies these days, opt for the super-giant tub of popcorn with plastic butter before you slip into your seat. Or alternatively, wear a surgical mask, or tote an oxygen tank on your back with a tube and an inhaler. Between snorts, boo the inevitable researcher who saves the planet at the last minute. Make your own fun, because this is going to be a 105-minute epidemic of crap the likes of which you haven’t seen since Outbreak.