Film

Film

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If you’re sad that Reagan Week is over and just can’t get enough of Americans with the darndest sense of optimism, hired-gun commercial and PSA cinematographer Louis Schwartzberg brings the balm with 24 regionally specific vignettes. Scanning like inspirational bios between Olympic events, his hodgepodge leaves no corner of Americana undusted. As platitudinous subjects jaw off and amber grain duly waves, ersatz cowboys, car decorators, salsa dancers, and steel workers praise tradition and values with Coke-ad fervor. Everybody here is getting their folksy on—so much so that a banjoed yuppie milk-farmer’s mention of his divorce seems scandalous. When ditching the mawk to follow his daredevil muse, the director delivers stunning shots of cliff dancing and stunt pilotry, but beyond these few IMAX thrills, syrupy appreciations and thudding intertitles hailing “freedom” suggest a de facto Why We Fight, veering somehow closer to the mythologies of bald hawks than the symbolism of bald eagles.

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