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Laramie Movie Scope:
A Place at the Table

The hungry 50 million in America

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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December 17, 2013 -- Those of us who live in the West know that the cowboy way of life is a hard one, but it is tough to watch a Colorado cowboy who can't feed his family, even while working a second eight hour job every day, and his wife working too. The working poor and their hungry kids are at the heart of this documentary film about poverty and hunger in America.

This is a rich country. The stock market is at record highs. Corporate profits, and CEO salaries are fat. Corporate welfare, bailouts, tax cuts for corporations and rich are up. Favorable Supreme Court rulings give ever increasing political influence to corporations and the wealthy. The top one percent are living in unprecedented wealth and luxury, yet almost none of this wealth trickles down to the middle class, let alone the poor. More Americans than ever go to bed hungry every day. It is enough to make Jesus weep.

This film profiles the working poor all over the country, from Collbran, Colorado, to the deep south, to the inner city of Philadelphia. These people are working hard, but they can't feed their kids, and when they do feed them, the only kind of food they can afford is processed, high calorie, fattening, unhealthy food, the kind of food which your tax dollars are supporting.

Leslie Nichols, teacher, a hungry child once herself, spends her off hours hauling food to the homes of her hungry students by way of Pastor Bob Wilson, who hauls four pallets of food from the Food Bank of the Rockies in Denver to Collbran twice a week. One of her students, Rosie, can't focus on her schoolwork sometimes because she is hungry in class.

The film shows teachers trying to teach students how to eat more healthy food. It shows good people trying hard to provide meals to the poor. It shows poor kids with serious health problems due to poor diets. It shows how twisted federal food subsidies help huge agribusiness corporations produce cheap junk food, while pushing the cost of healthy food up 40 percent. It shows how food distribution systems cause “food deserts” where shoppers can't find healthy fruits and vegetables. It shows vast wasted human potential in America.

Worst of all, this film shows the political games being played in Washington, where politicians refuse to properly fund programs which once nearly wiped out hunger in America in the 1970s. Since the election of Ronald Reagan, the number of hungry Americans has increased from 20 million to 50 million. The film shows how politicians robbed the food stamp program, rather than cut federal subsidies to major corporations. Federal school lunch subsidy programs now amount to about $1 per student per day.

The saddest story belongs to one single mother who got a full time job, which got her off welfare, but now she cannot afford to feed her children on her salary. This is one of those movies that will make you mad, or at least it should. It is all about the heartlessness of politicians who follow the money, and refuse to do what is right. This film rates a B+.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2013 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)