The LA Report Blog Web

Add to Technorati Favorites

Return to homepage:
The LA Report Blog


February 12, 2009


Event/Film Review by Don Rose

Go see "Fuel"! In theatres! This weekend if possible! Spread the word!
Why am I so excited? Read on...

The new documentary "Fuel" was screened at a special VIP event February 11th to a lively crowd of folks who, after braving the cold temps to watch the film, gave it rousing cheers. A panel discussion followed, moderated by the host of Air America's "Hollywood Clout" talk show, Richard Greene, featuring the film's director, Josh Tickell, as well as actor Peter Fonda. The event was held in the perfect spot (Brentwood's Conserv Fuel station, which sells both old-school gasoline and its better-for-environment cousin featured in "Fuel", Bio Diesel). During the evening, libations were served (including drinks from one of The LA Report's favorite companies, Steaz - love their Peach Ice Tea!), as well as samplings of hot tea, healthy savory snacks and sweet treats. Other celebs and notables in attendance, in addition to Greene and Fonda, included actor James Cromwell, and Lisa Garr, host of KPFK's excellent program, The Aware Show (http://www.theawareshow.com/).

The LA Report highly recommends that everyone go see this film, and tell ten others to do the same. This weekend is the best time to go, for at least 3 reasons: (1) the director will be appearing here in LA, and it is inspiring to hear Josh speak; (2) a strong opening weekend box office will help keep the film in theatres, and (3) big tix sales will show Hollywood that audiences are hungering for this kind of movie experience: enlightening while entertaining, informative while inspirational.

To convey a sense of this film's importance and quality, I consider "Fuel" to be a cinematic soul-brother to "An Inconvenient Truth" and every bit its equal (one of that film's producers, Laurie David, even appears in "Fuel"). Tickell's film also deserves to follow the same path as "...Truth" to win the Oscar for Best Documentary. To go a bit further with this analogy, "Fuel" could be considered the intellectual heir of "An Inconvenient Truth" and "Fahrenheit 911", integrating and inheriting some of the techniques, controversies and narrative power of both films into a new whole. I think we will look back at these three films as this decade's daringest documentaries, and its most politically potent. The top trio of the "Oh-Oh" years.

While all three of these docs are highly entertaining while conveying important information, "Fuel" strikes me as a bit more concrete and hopeful. It not only packs Bio-Diesel-truckloads of information for us to learn, but masterfully illustrates concrete steps that we the people, as well as cutting edge companies, can take and are already taking to solve the immense problems we face in the arena of power generation and consumption. BioDiesel, BioMass, Solar, Plugin Hybrids, Wind, even a kind of "Algae Energy" -- all these technologies are presented and shown to be viable options NOW, TODAY, not in some nebulous future. Even the end credits are packed with specific steps we can take to make a better world. By film's end, I felt for the first time that, my God, these persistent questions of can-we-get-off-polluting-fuels and what-ways-work actually have a positive answer: a combination of existing technologies that bright minds are already putting to work. It's not pie-in-the-sky Polly-Anna pipe dreams, it's real working solutions that come together to show how we can get off polluting power for good and get on with the green memes -- solutions already proven to be an economically plausible path to a sustainable world.

In short, "Fuel" shows us what our best and brightest future can be. We just have to claim it. Other countries are doing it (Sweden, for one, plans to be totally off fossil fuels by 2020 -- talk about 20/20 vision), and we can join the conscious caravan too. "Fuel" shows us the roadmap, and inspires us by showing we can get to the desired destination, powered by a combination of private investment plus more intelligent use of government resources (like, say, no more $300 million per day for an Iraq war that only gives us access to foolish fuels that kill us, for instance).

So, big kudos to director Josh Tickell for a stellar achievement, one which may just "Fuel" a revolution in our thinking about how we can solve our energy woes while also saving the planet -- and ourselves. Everyone should see this film. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

In fact, Peter Fonda proposed a great idea during the post-screening panel. He plans to buy lots of tickets and give them to friends so they can see this great movie. Smart idea. By pre-buying packs of passes, he can boost ticket sales opening weekend while making it easier for his friends to see the film. Just the kind of win-win idea this film is filled with. And with Valentine's Day arriving the day after "Fuel" opens, I can't think of a better gift for one's loved ones.

Special thanks to Dawna Shuman and Nicole Landers, who put on a great event, as they always do; they have earned a well-deserved reputation as the preeminent PR team for green-oriented eco-conscious events in Los Angeles.

Feb. 13, 2009: opening day for documentary "Fuel". Check local listings for times and locations. Website: www.theFUELfilm.com. Film features director Josh Tickell as well as Woody Harrelson, Sheryl Crow, Willie Nelson, Neil Young, Julia Roberts, Richard Branson, Larry Hagman and more in an intellectual and emotional powerhouse that is a cinematic cousin to "An Inconvenient Truth," "Fahrenheit 911" and "Who Killed the Electric Car." A TLR BEST BET.