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Hollywood shocker! Film praises private health care

Posted By Drew Zahn's column On 01/25/2010 @ 12:14 am In Diversions | Comments Disabled

If all of Hollywood is supposed to fall into line with Michael Moore’s “Sicko” film to push government health care, apparently somebody didn’t get the memo.

The new movie “Extraordinary Measures,” in fact, delivers a well-written, emotionally charged story that will both tug at the hearts of parents and put a smile on the faces of those who advocate free market medicine over Obamacare.

Even the film’s tagline, “Don’t hope for a miracle; make one,” could be construed a subtle dig at President Hopenchange’s plans to replace America’s capitalist ingenuity at the heart of its medical system with a Big Government pacemaker instead.

The story’s protagonist is John Crowley (played with believable conviction by Brendan Fraser – yes, that Brendan Fraser), the father of three children, two of whom are struck with a rare, genetic form of muscular dystrophy called Pompe disease.

When his oldest daughter, Megan (played delightfully well by youngster Meredith Droeger), turns eight years old, Crowley realizes more than ever that he is in a race against time with a disease that is said to kill most affected children by the time they hit Megan’s age.

Crowley turns to the leading researcher in the field, an eccentric and anti-social scientist (played by Harrison Ford), in the desperate hopes the two of them – without financial backing, sponsorship or even a plan – can beat the clock and develop a drug to cure his children.

How the film moves the storyline forward, however, is not what I’ve come to expect from Hollywood.

In a scene at a local bar and grill, the scientist, Dr. Stonehill, lays out the standard line and whine about not being able to get the kinds of grants and financial backing needed to develop a workable drug from his medicinal theories.

The scene could have easily morphed from there into an in-film advertisement for some bureaucrat’s plan to increase spending on the sciences … but it didn’t.

At several points in the movie, I braced myself for the whole, “Oh, woe is me, the big, mean insurance and drug companies are putting profits ahead of children,” theme … but it never came.

Instead, Crowley and Stonehill put together a business plan, acquire venture capital and do a whole host of things that look suspiciously like entrepreneurialism.

In one key scene, the pair is even faced with the difficult job of selling their idea to a pharmaceutical company in order to keep the research going – and they pitch the idea on the notion that (are you ready for this?) it will make the company … gasp … a profit!

Instead of making out corporations to be the bad guys and government solutions like socialized health care the hero, the film actually portrays the power of a people motivated by personal gain. And in the end, it’s private medicine that rides to the rescue and brings the film to a satisfying conclusion.

Inevitably, the failure of every communist and socialist economy in history has been tied to the system’s inability to inspire hard work and ingenuity. When there is no incentive to strive, no reward for excellence or penalty for idleness, from where does the citizenry derive its motivation? Humans are not inherently industrious or benevolent, but lazy and self-centered; a fact missed by the historically, biblically and economically ignorant that continue to push socialism on the U.S.

Capitalism, on the other hand, has created in America obscene amounts of productivity and wealth. It has inspired technological advancement and medical breakthroughs galore.

Shockingly, “Extraordinary Measures” – unlike most of the Hollywood left – actually seems to know its history. It would be extraordinary, I suppose, except that “Extraordinary Measures” claims to be “inspired on a true story,” instead of inspired by a Michael Moore fantasy.

Editor’s note: Though “Extraordinary Measures” is “inspired by a true story,” the preceding review makes no effort to comment on the real people behind the tale, or even the worldview issues of the true story, but only critiques the film itself as though it were completely fiction. It does not evaluate if or where the film distorts or portrays real persons or situations.

Content advisory:

  • “Extraordinary Measures” is laced with occasional profanity and taking of the Lord’s name in vain. Much of it, unfortunately, was unnecessary and felt out-of-place in a film that was otherwise remarkably free of objectionable material.
  • The film has no violence.
  • Sexuality in the movie consists mostly of some kissing and flirting by a married couple. Crowley’s wife is frequently seen in the evening wearing a nightgown that reveals very little. In one scene played for comic effect, a nurse walks in on Mr. and Mrs. Crowley in the middle of a sexual encounter, though the couple is interrupted while still dressed in underclothing.
  • Crowley briefly discusses praying for his daughter in one scene, but the movie is otherwise conspicuously void of religious or occult content.

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