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You want to really believe in your position? Read up on everything you can on the opposing view.

Hell, in college I debated that the American colonies were WRONG in breaking away from England. And I won the debate.

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | December 27, 2007 2:53 PM

Sounds boring as hell.

Posted by Mr. Poe | December 27, 2007 2:59 PM

Interesting. I've never argued with anyone who wasn't completely wrong, while my side was entirely right. It kind of sounds fun, I guess. Maybe I'll try it some time.

Posted by elenchos | December 27, 2007 3:01 PM

This reminds of me countless movies whose depiction of a great poker player is invariably a man with either the intrinsic luck or the apparent unspoken psychic ability to draw an inside ace-high royal flush at need.

Is it that writers and directors are convinced audiences can't appreciate the very craft being showcased, or do they themselves not get it?

Posted by lostboy | December 27, 2007 3:19 PM

Lostboy, look at all of the movies that make the most money.

People love dumbed-down predictable shit. Everybody in Hollywood knows it, which is why the continue to make it.

Posted by Mr. Poe | December 27, 2007 3:26 PM

It sounds like The Great Debaters portrays college debates about as accurately as Indiana Jones portrays archaeology.

Posted by Greg | December 27, 2007 3:40 PM

sharon jones makes a cameo, right?

Posted by jz | December 27, 2007 3:40 PM

Yeah, I misstated my idea a bit.  Granted, you'll never get a mainstream audience to groove on the less-than-intuitive aspects of any craft.  Why, though, do writers and directors feel they have to misrepresent things (great poker by clairvoyance, great debate by cheap emotional ploys) to make them palatably simple?

None of that is as stupid as the scene from Armageddon where they spun the space station to create "gravity" parallel to the axis of rotation.  In writing, it sounds more abstract than it is.  On screen, it was the most memorably intelligence insulting thing I've seen in a modern film.

Posted by lostboy | December 27, 2007 3:47 PM


Posted by Mr. Poe | December 27, 2007 5:43 PM


But at least Indiana Jones is fun. A movie about debate that doesn't have any real debating: boring and lame.

Posted by keshmeshi | December 27, 2007 6:25 PM

In 9th grade Honors English we studied debate for a quarter. I was on a two-woman team that argued against repealing apartheid in South Africa, and we won. :) I was the kid who had a Ban Apartheid sticker on her binder, so I obviously didn't believe a word I was saying. I think we deserved to win though, we were better prepared and had good quotes and stats that our opponents weren't prepared to handle.

Posted by Kristi in Kitsap | December 27, 2007 9:27 PM

the great debaters?

what was wrong with the working title: the master debaters?

Posted by Cale | December 27, 2007 9:33 PM

Anyone who has debated can tell you what an awful business it is. It is so beyond artificial. When I debated in the 80's it was essentially required that no matter what side you were arguing, the position of the other side would result in NUCLEAR WAR!!!!!!!!

Sorry about the caps, but that is fair to the spirit of the times.

I mean, water projects would end in nuclear war, but on the other side, so would not building the water project.

It was bunk beyond belief. Also there was the fact that it was a numbers game. You weren't actually trying to convince anyone, you gave your arguments, and if the other side did not refute all of them, you win. Such nonsense.

They introduced Lincoln Douglass debates right as I was getting out of debate. That was sort of too bad because I think L/D has a shot at not being ridiculous.

Posted by Jim | December 28, 2007 12:54 AM

I hate Denzel Washington. Wasn't it his abuse that caused Halle Berry to lose her ear-sight. Wait. That's not the right word. Hearing, maybe?
Anyway, he's the one who totally oopsed her upside the head and made her lose her hearing.

Posted by jeremy | December 28, 2007 6:44 AM

That New York Times review was actually written by Stephen Holden (he who normally has no truck with animated features). As for The Great Debaters, I agree that it would've been just as inspirational without the falsifications. Alas, Washington has been down this road before, since Norman Jewison's The Hurricane took similar hits (though I felt Jewison's use of "artistic license" was far less egregious). Of course, acclaimed art house films, like The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, can play fast and loose with the facts, too...

Posted by Kathy Fennessy | December 28, 2007 12:22 PM

@15: Look at you, actually reading the links! Sorry about that.

Posted by annie | December 28, 2007 1:56 PM

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