On Wednesday, September 22, movie fans in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, D.C., Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Seattle can decide for themselves how much they want to pay to see an advance screening of the new documentary Freakonomics.
From the film’s website a link will take you to the free screening survey. Answer a few anonymous demographic questions that will form the basis of an experiment and you’ll be directed to Movietickets.com where you can choose to pay anywhere from a penny to $100 for a ticket. I’m not sure if the ticket seller’s usual $1 service charge will apply.
Based on the book Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by economics professor Steven D. Levitt and journalist Stephen J. Dubner, Freakonomics is a series of shorts from some of our best documentary filmmakers that use rather dry sounding statistical ideas to entertainingly explode some of the myths we have about the world around us.
Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) wonders whether the names we’re given have an impact on our lives; Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side, Casino Jack and the United States of Money) digs below the surface of the seemingly pure sport of sumo wrestling to find some unexpected behavior; Eugene Jarecki (Why We Fight) finds a surprising and controversial cause to the crime rate drop of the early 1990s; and Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing (Jesus Camp) find out whether student performance can be improved with cash incentives. Meanwhile, Seth Gordon (The King of Kong) weaves the pieces together through engaging mini-interviews with Levitt and Dubner.
As you’d probably expect, some segments are stronger than others – my personal favorite was Jarecki’s piece on the crime rates – and I wish they’d actually been less afraid to be a little more nerdy in explaining the data at the root of their ideas, but overall Freakonomics is a breezy, entertaining ride that puts over some big ideas while also encouraging you to look a little differently at the world around you.
Freakonomics opens October 1. Remember to hit the website if you want to screen the film a bit early at any price you choose.