“Hot Coffee” Deserves An Oscar

oscars-732859.jpgSo I cleared the decks tonight to be able to watch the HBO debut of “Hot Coffee,” the documentary about the dark side of tort reform that’s being talked about everywhere – from The New York Times (where our friends at AbnormalUse got a shout out) to the legal blogosphere (see here, here, here, and here).
I watched. And I was impressed.
I watch a lot of documentaries. I guess you could say I’m a documentary buff. And a lot of times, they leave me feeling underwhelmed.
Case in point: “Casino Jack and the United States of Money,” which I watched a few weeks ago and which I rated zero stars on Netflix. It was just a straight rehashing of the Abramoff scandal that didn’t highlight the power that special interest lobbying has over anyone other than Indian tribes with casino licenses. It could’ve been so much more, but fell woefully short of its potential.
Likewise, last year’s Academy Award winner for documentary feature – “Inside Job” (the story of how Wall Street corruption led to the financial crisis) – struck me as flat and one note. (Last week, Ezra Klein, who finally got around to watching it, echoed these sentiments in a series of posts that provoked outrage and cries of betrayal in some quarters).
“Hot Coffee” is better than “Inside Job,” “Inside Job” was last year’s Oscar winner, ergo “Hot Coffee” should be this year’s winner or at least a serious contender? There are more than a few flaws in such a syllogism. Winning an Oscar for best documentary has less to do with the merit of your film than it has to do with whether you’ve got Harvey Weinstein waging a ferocious campaign on your behalf, taking out ads in Variety and making sure the voters see your film.
But in a perfect world, a film like “Hot Coffee” should at least be generating some buzz. It takes an issue most people don’t know a whole lot about (tort reform) and makes the case that it is something the general public should be paying mind to (much like “Gasland” did for fracking a year or two ago).
I hope to get a chance to follow up with some more about the film in a series of posts.

This blog in maintained by the Boston personal injury lawyers at The Law Office of Alan H. Crede, P.C.