One Lucky Elephant

While the television premiere date of a documentary that’s been playing on the festival circuit for nearly two years isn’t necessarily the hottest of news, when it’s a film as wonderful and as dear to my heart as One Lucky Elephant, I can’t help but mention it. My deeply personal reactions to film that center on animals (particularly documentaries) are well-known – in short, I am almost guaranteed to cry. One Lucky Elephant made me cry more consistently than any other film (animal-centric or otherwise) that I’ve ever seen. It is a lovely, moving story – but more than that, it also tackles a very controversial subject. The film centers on circus producer David Balding, a man who has spent his entire life (personal and professional) wanting his own elephant. When Balding acquires orphaned baby elephant Flora, he thinks that his dream has finally come true, a dream that will allow him to save Flora and provide his circus with a superstar performer. But after years of working the circus, Flora develops a number of behavioral issues that make it clear that she’s not happy, to the point that Balding makes the decision to retire her, a decision that means the two will no longer be together. While this would seem to be a simple enough plan – give a still-young Flora to a zoo or an animal preserve, One Lucky Elephant reveals how incredibly difficult it is for someone to give away an elephant, even with the best of […]

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The Reject Report

Imagine Brad Pitt standing on a desolate road holding a gun on director J.J. Abrams. Sitting in front of Abrams is the mystery box, that figurative enclosure in which Abrams stores the secrets of his latest project. Brad Pitt screams a phrase we haven’t heard him scream since 1995, and as Abrams reaches into the box to reveal what’s inside (hint: it’s not Gwyneth Paltrow’s head), a shot rings out. Abrams drops dead, but it isn’t Pitt’s gun that fired. It’s Judy Moody who is standing behind Pitt and who, as of now, is NOT having a bummer summer. Yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s a lame story with a stupid ending. You try writing these intros out every week. Let’s get to the number, okay?

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