Sunday, October 15, 2006
The trailer for Thank You For Smoking, the satirical tobacco comedy movie recently released on DVD, has been posted on YouTube. The movie is a must-see for followers of mass tort litigation. Among the humorous scenes are lunchtime meetings of the "M.O.D. Squad" -- short for the "Merchants of Death," consisting of lobbyists for the tobacco, alcohol, and firearms industries. The movie, which is based on the novel by conservative Christopher Buckley and directed by Jason Reitman, generally forwards a non-politically correct agenda based on personal choice and personal responsibility. But no group is spared frequent satirical barbs. What could be wrong with a movie whose supporting cast includes Robert Duvall, William H. Macy, Rob Lowe, Sam Elliott, and Katie Holmes?
The movie also raises the issue of using movies in connection with law classes studying mass torts. In class, I've used clips from A Civil Action, which is a treasure of mass tort themes, and I've also thought about using clips from Erin Brockovich and The Insider. Rather than use clips, another alternative is to schedule casual, optional-attendance screenings of the movies outside of class; I've considered, but not yet tried, such screenings. Any comments about using movies for mass tort issues are very much welcomed.