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Hey, everyone. Capone in Chicago here.

In a role he was destined to play ever since the world first spotted him in Neil LeBute¹s In the Company of Men nearly 10 years ago, Aaron Eckhart plays Nick Naylor, a tobacco lobbyist who can spin any situation in his favor. In an opening scene set during the filming of a talk show geared against smoking, Naylor not only makes the case that it would not be in Big Tobacco¹s best interest to kill its customers, but he also manages to get a fellow cancer-ridden guest to back his position.

Naylor¹s two closest friends are Polly Bailey (Maria Bello) and Bobby Jay Bliss (David Koechner), his respective counterparts in the alcohol and firearms arenas. They refer to themselves as the MOD (Merchants of Death) Squad, and their one-a-week power meals are flat out some of the best-written stuff I¹ve ever seen in a comedy. And the hits just keep on rolling.

We follow Naylor through every possible crisis an industry like tobacco can have. He must fend off such foes as: Congress (in the form of Sen. Finistirre, played by William H. Macy), which wants even stronger labels (in this case, a skull and crossbones sticker) on packs of cigarettes; the former Marlboro Man (Sam Elliott), who now has lung cancer and is threatening to become a spokesperson against smoking; and prying journalists like Heather Holloway (Katie Holmes), who want to portray Naylor as a money-hungry death monger. All the while, Naylor must keep his bosseshappy with his work by finding ways to promote smoking. His meeting with a Hollywood insider played by Rob Lowe is so outrageous (he wants to feature cigarettes in a new outer space, sci-fi adventure film) that it almost seems true. But Naylor¹s toughest audience is his impressionable son (Cameron Bright), who seems equal parts curious and disgusted with his father¹s behavior.

Eckhart glides through this film like he was on ice, rarely stopping to take a breath and always seven steps ahead of any foe. There even comes a time when his own downfall seems all but certain, and he still manages to save his ass. There are many fine performances in Thank You for Smoking, but the film belongs to Eckhart. This is one of those films that you almost wish would have had its release date pushed back so the Academy might remember Eckhart¹s performance come awards season. He¹s that good, and so is this film, which skewers both sides of the battle. With Sen. Finistirre coming from Vermont and heart disease being the number one killer of men in America, you can bet Vermont cheese is not spared from Naylor¹s precision attacks. This is a film in which you grow to like characters who, in real life, you assume you would utterly despise. That¹s the nature of the beast, and it¹s why this film is so perfect. All of you ³Daily Show²-watching hipsters, this is the film for you. I¹d almost forgotten what it looked like, but this is comedy with brains.


Readers Talkback
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  • March 23, 2006, 12:15 p.m. CST


    by El Cimarron

    first post ever too :P I'm blessed!

  • March 23, 2006, 12:20 p.m. CST

    Looks Interesting

    by nme00

    First?! Hopefully this trend against cigarettes will continue. Smoking is dropping to a new low over the past few years. Now for me to try to quit ;)

  • March 23, 2006, 12:29 p.m. CST

    Strange review...

    by Jonesey1111

    What's up, Capone? No mention of what you did during every second of your day before you saw the film? Harry would be disappointed....

  • March 23, 2006, 12:32 p.m. CST

    Sounds good...

    by brycemonkey

    always room for some intellegent comedy. Also I love me some Macy and Elliott too.

  • March 23, 2006, 12:41 p.m. CST

    Every piece of footage I've seen from this movie...

    by Childe Roland

    ...has been hilarious. I probably won't get to see it in the theater, but it's a must-rent.

  • March 23, 2006, 12:55 p.m. CST

    The book is very very good

    by Barry Egan

  • March 23, 2006, 1:02 p.m. CST

    wait let me get this straight..

    by white owl

    this is a movie that wants us to care for a tobacco lobbyist? Funny, impressionable characters revolve this lobbyist, some friends some foes, he goes through some(?) hardships and he comes out a good guy in the end? I don't get it. He's a tobacco lobbyist. I hate guys like him..really, I do. I'm not sure I'll be seeing this movie based on a performance or two.

  • March 23, 2006, 1:13 p.m. CST

    So when's the release date for this thing?

    by Johnno


  • March 23, 2006, 1:32 p.m. CST

    This article was posted at 12:11pm...

    by Darth Pestilence

    the first guy to answer was at 12:15pm - how do you guys do it? do you just sit on this site and click REFRESH every four minutes until someone at "Cool" puts up a new article so you can say FIRST!!!!?

  • March 23, 2006, 1:35 p.m. CST

    Darth Pestilence...

    by El Cimarron

    you know? that's exactly what I thought people did... but I was reading the Snakes on the Plane talkback and when I came out of it I saw the new post and clicked it. Luck of the draw in every way.

  • March 23, 2006, 1:44 p.m. CST

    so this is pretty much a review of the trailer then...

    by readyoufool

  • March 23, 2006, 2:02 p.m. CST

    *kaff, kaff ... ahem

    by pencil-man

    KKkk-k-k-k-kkKrRrrrrrrrt, - thppPPT!, save that guy for later.

  • March 23, 2006, 2:29 p.m. CST

    Come on white owl...

    by brycemonkey

    have one. Everyone cool is doing it.

  • March 23, 2006, 2:29 p.m. CST

    Everything from that Review is in the Trailer

    by tripp5

    and nothing in that review adds any more than what is in the trailer. lamest review yet, capone. Next time go ahead and admit you havent actually seen the movie, but that someone paid you to tell us to see it. Honesty is the best policy...usually.

  • March 23, 2006, 2:49 p.m. CST

    i agree with the review for the most part, but...

    by Spaz Medicine

    I really disliked a big part of the ending. The movie pulled one final punch and it sort of ruined the movie for me. Up until the last three minutes, I loved the movie though.

  • March 23, 2006, 3:40 p.m. CST

    Where's the review for Larry the Cable Guy,

    by Borgnine JR

    Health Inspector? Stupid effete, elitist, intellectual beyotches!

  • March 23, 2006, 5:33 p.m. CST

    did Capone just review the trailer?

    by young1

    All his bullet points are from the trailer and he mostly gives us a synopsis rather than a review. Oh wait... tripp5 just made that same point... yeah, I agree with tripp5.

  • March 23, 2006, 5:34 p.m. CST

    oh and...

    by young1

  • March 23, 2006, 5:35 p.m. CST


    by young1

    also makes the same point... what's up Capone? 3 of us already have come to the same conclusion!

  • March 23, 2006, 5:50 p.m. CST

    You know, white owl...

    by Childe Roland

    ...I hate serial killers and pedophiles, too, but I'll be damned if I don't watch and enjoy a fair numboer of movies about them.

  • March 23, 2006, 5:55 p.m. CST


    by DocPazuzu

    Nice Beetlejuice ref.

  • March 23, 2006, 7:01 p.m. CST

    Smoking in Space

    by Jonas Grumpy

    Capone spake thus: "...(he wants to feature cigarettes in a new outer space, sci-fi adventure film)" Can you imagine how nuts NASA engineers went when they saw Heston light up ON BOARD his spaceship in the first "Planet of the Apes"? As if a REAL astronaut would ever do such a thing! And that's the only gripe I have about that film.

  • March 23, 2006, 7:31 p.m. CST

    Smoking in Space

    by zealous

    The whole sceen with nick and the hollywood guy is bloody hilarious its so over the top that you cant help but laugh expecially the part where they are talking about the smoking in space and they just say that one line of dialog will fix that, just say thank god we invented the something-or-other device. The most interesting part about the movie is that after I watched it, I couldnt tell if it was anti-tobacco or not

  • March 23, 2006, 8:32 p.m. CST

    This movie is crap!!

    by polyh3dron

    This movie was so stupid!! I felt like I was being beat over the head with the obvious fact that smoking is bad. Plus, what was with all of that music that sounded like it was from the 1940s? Get with the times!! Aaron Eckhart's character was so over the top, no one in real life is really like that!! Movies like this are why the Box Office is at an all time low. All the movies coming out right now suck. And Katie Holmes is the worst actress ever because I'm sick of seeing her face in the tabloids and because she praises the lord Xenu by way of being under Tom Cruise's manipulation machine. This has nothing to do with her acting ability but I'm still gonna say she sucks anyways because it makes me look smart. If you didn't get it by now, that was all sarcasm.. but a lot of good films lately have been slammed because of all of that hyperbole I just spewed. Most voices of dissent on here dis films like this with the same reasoning.

  • March 23, 2006, 8:34 p.m. CST

    oh by the way..

    by polyh3dron

    in reality however, I loved the movie, it was hilarious and very well done. Who wouldn't pay $10 to see Rob Lowe act serious in a kimono??

  • March 23, 2006, 8:39 p.m. CST

    re: zealous

    by polyh3dron

    Why does a film have to be pro or anti-something for you to have an opinion on it?? You couldn't figure out if it was pro or anti-smoking because that wasn't really an issue!! It was neither. Team America wasn't left or right wing really and was hilarious and a good film IMO, but the one complaint I heard was that the film couldn't make up its mind if it was left or right wing.. WHY DO FILMS HAVE TO TAKE SIDES AND PUSH THE SAME OPINIONS AS YOU HAVE TO BE GOOD?? Whatever happened to thinking for yourself?

  • March 23, 2006, 8:58 p.m. CST

    re: re: zealous

    by zealous

    The point I was trying to make is that it DOESNT have a message that bashes you over the head. That is what made it all the more fun to watch.

  • March 23, 2006, 9:14 p.m. CST

    the trailer....

    by Spaz Medicine

    gives away most of the movie. it is not that capone reviewed the trailer, it is that the trailer gives away way too much.

  • March 23, 2006, 9:18 p.m. CST

    i see what you mean childe

    by white owl

    except that this hits a somewhat personal note when i've got family members dead of lung cancer. I wouldn't put blame on tobacco lobbyists for their cancers or deaths, I won't open that can of worms.

  • March 23, 2006, 9:19 p.m. CST

    Only one point

    by goldcountry

    We all know smoking is bad (redundant I know.) The movie is about SPIN and LOBBYING. The author made a ton of money whoring for tobacco and then quit and made even more exposing it. It's not about cigarettes; it's about how the public is manipulated by spin doctors. Good message for those who rant about Karl Rove and yet don't even acknowledge the thousand other ways money and television try to manipulate us every day.

  • March 23, 2006, 9:28 p.m. CST

    One more for White Owl

    by goldcountry

    I had a grandfather who died of lung cancer (who quit smoking in his seveties, too late.) I have a mother who had a quadruple bybass who still smokes. I hate the tobacco industry, but neither one of them would have or would blame them for their conditions. Personal responsibility is a phrase that isn't talked about in a litigious society that ALWAYS looks for a villian. That's why I say that this movie isn't exclusively about tobacco; it's about a world where we sometimes let ourselves be led around by the nose. It is much easier to blame someone else when we fall for the bullshit.

  • March 23, 2006, 10:33 p.m. CST

    The book is better

    by DAfRk3iN

    If you want to enjoy the movie, I don't recommend reading the book beforehand.

  • March 24, 2006, 2:27 a.m. CST

    I totally agree that it should be...

    by Undead Neverhood

    about personal responsibility. Lets see, how long have we known that smoking is very hazardous to your health, hhhmmm, oh yeah thats right, we have known this for a little more than 50 years now. People CHOOSE to smoke despite all the warnings. I won't be seeing this because it will be a waste of my time. I don't smoke. I don't blame tobacco lobbyists for people making idiotic decisions. I don't care.

  • March 24, 2006, 2:34 a.m. CST

    They should do something like that about FOX News

    by chien_sale

    You paint them as what they are, charlatans and marketers for the Bush Camp. They such a good job at it that it`s almost endearing. LOL. Kewt like a spider on my wall. Then again spiders are really filthy things that eats their young and their mates and are the greatest predators to the other insects.

  • March 24, 2006, 6:39 a.m. CST

    I hate it when...

    by Demosthenes2

    ...I'm the only person in the theatre who was bored and everyone else is having a laugh riot and I can't get over how smug everyone in the movie is...

  • March 24, 2006, 7:29 a.m. CST

    My mom quit smoking three years ago...

    by AnimeJune

    But damn! I wanna see this movie!

  • March 26, 2006, 12:12 p.m. CST

    Hollywood/cigarette anecdote actually happened

    by meersan

    I'm pretty sure this is referring to the sci-fi flick Millennium (1989) about a post-apocalyptic future organization that grabs victims of plane crashes just before death in order to repopulate their society. The future characters smoked like chimneys--and the "throwaway" line justifying it was that their atmosphere is so polluted they're unable to breathe the purer air of modern day Earth. There you go, Tobacco Industry--Stranger than fiction!