Traffic

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By Mark Ramsey | 2000/01/05

Wow! How about that new Survivor cast! I have glimpsed the future and it’s a dead ringer for Claire Forlani. This is how the world would look if God were Abercrombie & Fitch. If nature had intended us to look this good, where does that leave Dustin Hoffman?

What were we talking about? Oh….

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Traffic is the second movie this year from director Steven Soderbergh, whose first was Erin Brockovich. This time, don’t expect long lines round the corner at the theater since Traffic star Michael Douglas is no pretty woman and co-star Catherine Zeta-Jones is a pretty pregnant woman.

But that’s too bad, because Traffic is easily one of the year’s best movies. Not bad for a movie containing more Spanish than Ricardo Montalban and enough subtitles to fill Madonna’s closet with a column of slogan tees.

Traffic consists of several barely intersecting stories set on both sides of the Mexican border – the orange side and the blue side.

Yes, everything in Mexico is orange. Everything! Why not export some of that tint across the border to a place where it’s needed, like Joan Rivers’ pasty complexion. Meanwhile, stateside in Ohio and Washington, everything takes on an icy blue. Blue, blue, blue. Hey, I know this is the director’s vision, but what about my vision?

Michael Douglas is the drug czar, cocktailing with the beltway bureaucrats who speak in platitudes about “the war on drugs.” At least some of these politicos are, it turns out, the real deal. They’ve taken time out of their busy schedules and money out of our busy pockets to play movie actors. How about doing one job badly at a time?

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As Michael’s wife, Czarina Amy Irving, says “If you’re going to start on the war metaphors I’m going to drive this car into a f—ing telephone pole.” Maybe that sentiment explains why the real-life drug czar just this week decided to change the high-concept anti-narcotics metaphor from war to cancer-fighting, which means we may never stop drugs but at least we’ll get free return address labels in our “Just Say No” junk-mail.

Aha, Michael’s own daughter is chasing the dragon – oh the irony! That despite being the vice president of her class and the star of the IQ team.

The IQ team? Do people voluntarily aggregate in teams around this? Why not just pin a scarlet “E = MC

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