Friday, March 10, 2006


A Dallas Movie in a Post-Enron World?

The planned big screen adaptation of Dallas, the popular primetime soap opera of the late 70s and 80s, has a unique opportunity now to make relevant statements about corruption in the oil industry of corporate America. Given the original series' extreme popularity, one might even wonder if the Machiavellian attitudes expressed weekly on the CBS TV show (combined with those of its ABC rival Dynasty) might have in effect fed the mindset of the executives who ran (and the professionals who worked for) Enron. (Don't forget that legend has it that The Godfather Part II is Fidel Castro's favorite film.) While the insightful Oscar-nominated documentary Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room went a long way to illuminating the largest corporate scandal in U.S. history, Dallas, given its core subject matter, could go a step further in dramatizing the attitudes of such executives and, beyond that, illustrate how such a mindset can spill over into personal relationships, as well. If however, the filmmakers wish to pander to a perceived core audience and make this simply a big screen soap opera, this valuable window of opportunity to use Dallas as a parable for the evils of Enron (as Enron executives themselves stand trial for their crimes) will be missed. Can this big screen version of Dallas rise above mediocrity and really "say" something about big business and family politics in America, much in the way The Godfather did? I think it can. J.R. Ewing. Kenneth Lay. Hmmm. There's a great story waiting to be told here. Epic and tragic even. Dallas can be a great film. Question is, do the filmmakers believe that too?

Castro could love Godfather II because it essentially makes a case for his revolution. A better example of life imitating art might be found in Saddam Hussein's love of the film.
I can't imagine the film will be a huge hit. I can barely remember the series and I am not a spring chicken. How will it a hook a younger audience?
No, they can't. Or at least won't. Robert Luketic? Ttt.
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