Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Reviewlet: Resolved: It is resolved that this is a good movie.

While looking for something to play in the background during my workouts, I stumbled on Resolved, a documentary on high school debate. I put it on out of curiosity about what I learned is called SpRead. Or Speed Reading, the practice in high school debates, where people debate at ridiculously fast speeds, throwing eloquence out the door in favor of getting out as many arguments as possible. (Think the guy from the Micromachine toy car commercials in the 80's fast. So fast that the documentary needed subtitles for all the debate scenes.)

It was a simultaneously witty and entertaining and deep look at high school debate, by following the debate teams at two schools, one highly privleged Texas school that wins constantly, and the underdog predominatly black school that parlayed a victory in the Californaa state tournament, into a bid to start a revolution using the debate tournaments. Inspired by Marxist theories (specifically Friere but also Gramsci), these kids used each of their debate matches to condemn the very act of debate as a bougeois affectation, and seek to use their words to transform society. Basically the underdogs adopted a meta- debate strategy. Instead of debating the topic assigned (That year, all debate matches were about human rights abuses at Abu Grahaib and racial profiling) they debated the act of debating.

The movie culminates at a highly satisfying climax. At a qualifier match for the national championship, where the underdogs' meta- strategy was finally defeated by a judge's meta-meta- decision.

In all, any movie that climaxes in meta-meta- ness gets an A in my book.

Final Grade: A

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