Friday, April 27, 2018

More Republican party ugliness and destruction, as Reuben Atlas and Samuel D. Pollard's ACORN AND THE FIRESTORM hits DVD

I suspect most of us will remember one of the big news stories of 2009, in which the nationwide community organizing group, ACORN, was beset by a major scandal involving an "undercover" operation in which a young man and woman, purporting to be a pimp and his whore, went into an ACORN office and talked its workers into supposedly helping the pair get a loan on a house they would then use as a brothel.

Yes, this seemed on the face of it to be utterly ludicrous, but there it was, captured on videotape for the whole country to see. See it, we did. Fox News, of course, made an ongoing meal of it, and much of the mainstream media did, too -- without doing a lick of the required investigation into the video's veracity.

One of the great strengths of the new documentary, ACORN AND THE FIRESTORM, by filmmakers Reuben Atlas shown at right) and Samuel D. Pollard (below), is that, after introducing us to a
few ACORN workers and giving a short history of the organization -- designed to help the working class and poor by helping them help themselves -- as well showing us the pair of shysters determined to "expose" ACORN, the movie tells its tale of a sham and scam that somehow looks "real" in pretty much the same manner that this story originally unfolded. The filmmakers refuse to give away their hand too early. This allows the viewer to better understand how something so unfair and dishonest could have taken place here in "democratic" America. Sure enough, as the documentary rolls along, we're caught up once again in how stupid and thoughtless these ACORN workers seemed -- before at last we are shown and told, with all the requisite proof, what really happened.

By the end of the film, sadness and disappointment have turned to shock and anger. Yes, the head of ACORN made some mistakes regarding family, transparency, and moving the power structure of the organization from local to national. But these pale in significance to the shoddy and actually unlawful scam perpetrated against ACORN.

We meet the perpetrators, abetted by that late, anything-but-great sleazebag Andrew Breitbart (what a shame his heart attack did not take place a few years earlier), and watch our anti-heroine, Hannah Giles (above) practicing self-defense in a video that looks every bit as unbelievable and unconvincing (with those very slow moves against an assailant, she'll be dead in no time) as does her later and more famous video (the unedited version I mean) with co-conspirator James O'Keefe.

TrustMovies does not want to spoil the surprise and more delivered by the twists and turns this documentary takes as its tale unfolds. You'll come away from it with enormous respect and appreciation for the film's true heroine, a woman named Bertha Lewis, below, who led ACORN during its latter days. The filmmakers arrange a meeting between Ms Lewis and Ms Giles to end their film, and the restraint Lewis shows toward the not merely naive but really stupid Giles is exemplary. When Giles, who behaves like an entitled piece of trash, declares, "I don't ____!" as though this were a badge of honor (you'll have to view the doc to learn what it is she does not do), you'll suddenly realize what jaw-droppingly dumb actually looks like.

Who stood up for ACORN and its proud, 40-year history or demanded a real investigation of what went on here? Nobody. Not even our crass and cowardly Democrats like Chuck Schumer, Al Franken or even a certain President Obama, who gladly signed the bill into law that defunded the organization. And, as ever, the post-event and more truthful news took a decided back-seat to the fake "event" news that preceded it. ACORN and the Firestorm is a sad, anger-making commentary on truth and fact in the USA -- which of course has only grown worse over the past two years of Trumpiana.

Pictured above is the fellow who opens the documentary by unfurling a Confederate Flag and then telling us, "This is 'heritage not hate'," even as he also explains how he came to connect with ACORN and how the organization helped save his and his wife's home from foreclosure during the 2008 financial crisis. He's a most interesting choice to provide entryway into this fine documentary, which I suspect will be on my list of "best films," come the end of the year.

From First Run Features, via iTVS, the documentary, running a swift 83 minutes, opened in a very limited theatrical run the beginning of this month and will hit DVD come Tuesday, May 15. 

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