January 02, 2003
"The Crooked E" makes its debut

The Crooked E, a "tell all" TV movie about Enron (see here and here) finally makes it to the small screen on Sunday. Chron TV critic Mike McDaniel is not impressed.

An exceptional scandal cries out for exceptional storytelling. CBS' The Crooked E: The Unshredded Truth About Enron is not it.

Those who make time for the movie (8-10 p.m. Sunday, Channel 11) have every reason to expect either an intense docudrama or a film with unbounded sarcasm or unfettered satire. This is neither.

Instead, we get something in between -- a mix of fact and fiction so obliquely depicted as the same that to categorize the movie as satire or docudrama takes a bit of research or an act of faith or both.

McDaniel gave the movie a C+. Well, The Sopranos is done for the year, Angel is still in reruns, and there won't be any football, so you may as well tune in. It could be worth a giggle or two. There's also apparently a cheesecake and beefcake factor to consider:

It inaccurately depicts a company filled with people thriving on greed at any cost. It shows a permissive culture that made room in its ranks for busty women who worked at gentlemen's clubs. It shows, at film's end, the women and men of Playboy and Playgirl.

Brian Cruver, the author of this little Mary Sue story, says that this aspect was one of many that got Hollywooded by the screenwriter and director:

As for the buxom babes, such as the movie's "Miss August," "People did joke about different nicknames for different months," Cruver says. One executive "had his hottie board, as he called it. But was every woman at Enron from a strip club? No, they definitely played that up."

I'm sure Erica will be relieved to hear that. One last bit of artistic license, though, is spot on:

Not able, for legal reasons, to use the real crooked E or its likeness, the movie makes use of an E with an extended middle bar -- a middle-finger metaphor that sums up the company's attitude and its near-term future.


Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 02, 2003 to Enronarama | TrackBack

"Angel" has been moved to Wednesdays, actually, at least whenever they run out of "Birds of Prey" episodes to burn off.

Try "Boomtown" on NBC, or "The Dead Zone" on USA, both good shows.

Posted by: Mac Thomason on January 2, 2003 1:49 PM