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The Fog of War (Errol Morris)

The Fog of War

The Fog Of War (2003, Errol Morris)

Errol Morris’s documentary on Robert S. McNamara, Secretary of Defense under Kennedy and Johnson, somehow doesn’t feel like a documentary. There are no other viewpoints, just an interview with McNamara, now 85, occasional tapes of conversations between McNamara and either of the two presidents he served under, and lots of war footage. Unlike so many documentaries, you are not piecing together a life from various opinions, but rather deciding what to believe and what not to believe, out of the mouth of a very skilled politician.

Morris has created a work that makes you think very seriously about the nature of war. McNamara is careful not to give clear answers–one of his bits of advice is to “Never answer the question you were asked, answer the question you wish you were asked,” but the questions he is presumably answering (you rarely hear the voice of the interviewer) are such that almost no one would presume to be able to answer them. There could not be a much better time for this film than the present, as we’re in a state of debate about what is a proper reason to go to war. One of the few definite statements McNamara makes is that a country should never go to war unilaterally: he says, “If you can’t convince like-minded countries to go along with you, maybe you need to rethink your position.”

One of the most moving moments in the film comes from a discussion of World War II, where McNamara compares the percentages of people killed in Japanese cities to American cities of the same size. The screen flashes the text over photographs of the burned Japanese sites: “51% Los Angeles,” going faster and faster until you cannot read the names of the cities anymore, making you realize that as horrible as September 11th was, we have not seen war in this country since 1864.

Robert McNamara’s life was defined by war. His earliest memory was of the end of World War I, “The war to end all war,” he served in World War II, and was Secretary of Defense through the Cuban missile crisis and Vietnam. As America goes through yet another war, we can learn a lot from the life of this man, in a film that is certainly worthy of the Oscar it won.


Now Playing at the Mayan Theater – go to for showtimes


Rocky Horror Picture Show

Who didn’t grow up attending midnight showings of the Rocky Horror Picture Show?

Okay, so you might not have gone to your first school semi-formal with the guy who played Brad in Harvard Square like I did, but you must have seen Rocky at least once. But have you seen it with audience participation? With a live cast? With props?

The Starz filmcenter has a midnight Rocky Horror showing every Saturday at midnight, with a pre-show at 11:45. Admission is $6, “throw” bags are $1, and yes, there is a live cast. In addition, each week has a different theme. This Saturday is “EVOLUTION ROCKY,” with “modern twists” (god only knows what that means–Frank and Brad run off to Washington to protest Musgrave’s Marriage Amendment?)

Check it out at the Starz Filmcenter in the Tivoli building on Auraria Campus, or on the web at


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