The Brunching Shuttlecocks Features


Don Cheadle and Luis Guzman arrest Miguel Ferrer, who is working for Steven Bauer, who is married to Catherine Zeta-Jones, who meets with Dennis Quaid and is afraid of Benjamin Bratt, who is being hunted by Benicio Del Toro and the General, who meets with Michael Douglas, who is married to Amy Irving (who was positively unrecognizable) who is worried that her daughter's a crack-head, which, when push comes to shove, is probably our fault.

And in the end, it's brilliant.

Traffic is the story of America's war on drugs, specifically, the war against certain Mexican cartels importing drugs to our kids in America. It's a story about the futility of policy, the loss of innocence, the abuse of justice, the depths of deception, the refreshment of a cool glass of lemonade, the horror of addiction, the power of denial and the dangers of bad plastic surgery.

And for good measure, there are a bunch of shots of traffic jams.

This is a powerful movie. Heavy. Intense. Lots of people give us wonderful performances. There is really no one in the movie who does a bad job, but special kudos must be given to Don Cheadle and Benicio Del Toro, playing two sides of the same coin, the sometimes depressingly insignificant officers of the law up against the behemoth that is the drug world.

And you know right away that this is a gritty flick. It's shot all gritty-like. Director Steven Soderbergh gathered such a high profile cast that I think he tried to save money by shooting the film documentary-style; shaky hand-held camera, less than perfect picture quality. But the effect is so powerful, he couldn't have planned it better if he tried.

And the really cool thing is, it's more than a dreary old drama. It's got explosions, gun fights, Benicio Del Toro in swim trunks, torture and Catherine Zeta-Jones six months pregnant. Something for everyone. Plus wisdom for the kids. Such as:

Don't try to avoid capture by running into the FunZone - there's only one place to hide, and everybody knows where it is.

Lawyers are scummy.

In Mexico, you need to pay the guy to give you the name of the guy you need to pay to get your car back.

Public swimming pools are safe places in which to have confidential discussions.

Teenagers don't make any more sense high than they do normally.

And most importantly:

Don't piss off Michael Douglas.

But more than anything, Traffic makes you look at the drug problem and take the blame. It's your fault. Supply hinges on demand, and we have created a world with a gaping demand for the supply. You have helped create this world, and just look at what you've done! You should be ashamed of yourself! Go to your room and think about what you've done!

But first, go see Traffic. It's an astounding, demanding and emotional movie, the kind they give awards to. And trust me, they're gonna be giving out all kinds of awards to this thing. Word is that Catherine Zeta-Jones' unborn child is in line for a Supporting Actor nod. Either that or costume design, they can't decide.

Traffic gets 4 1/2 Babylons. Go see it. But go to the bathroom first, cause it's kinda long.

Editor's Note:

I went to see this with the SMC (he tried to hold my hand) and he was completely oblivious to the film's meaning. I'm baffled.

Rated: R
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh
Starring: Michael Douglas, Don Cheadle, Benicio Del Toro, Luis Guzman, Dennis Quaid, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Miguel Ferrer, Amy Irving, Steven Bauer, Jacob Vargas, Erika Christensen, Clifton Collins Jr., Topher Grace, Peter Riegert, Benjamin Bratt, Tomas Milian, Marisol Padilla Sanchez, Albert Finney, Joel Torres, D.W. Moffett, James Brolin, Jsu Garcia, Corey Spears, Majandra Delfino, Alec Roberts, Bill Weld, Don Nickles, Harry Reed, Jeff Podolsky, Barbara Boxer, Orrin G. Hatch, Charles Grassley, James Pickens Jr., Rudy M. Camacho, Yul Vazquez, Jack Conley, Eddie Velez, Craig N. Chretien, John Brown II, Mike Siegel, Stephen J. Rose, Kimber Fritz, Salma Hayek, Daniella Kuhn, Brandon Keener and George Blumenthal as Partygoer #1.

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