National Catholic Register

Arts & Entertainment

Weekly Video Picks

BY John Prizer

September 23-29, 2001 Issue | Posted 9/23/01 at 2:00 AM

 

Startup.com (2001)

Approximately 85% of new businesses go belly up. But, in America, there is no loss of face for those who fail and start over again. Startup.com, a feature-length documentary shot in 1999 and 2000, captures that crazy moment when Internet entrepreneurs dreamed of getting rich and making history, all at the same time. Kaleil Isaza Tuzman and Tom Herman are high-school buddies whose friendship is severed on camera by their enterprise's collapse. The product they're selling, govworks.-com, enables Internet access to government services, and their bestseller enables online payment of parking tickets.

Their lifestyle is different from what one expects on Wall St. — a cross between business-school entrepreneurship and rock ‘n’ roll. Kaleil uses new-age buzzwords like “heuristic” and “holistic” to manipulate employees and investors. The high point is his appearance on CSPAN with President Bill Clinton. Filmmakers Chris Hegedus (The War Room) and Jehane Noujaim offer an insightful, firsthand look at the bright and dark sides of America's innovative, market-driven culture.

The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

Most of the movies honoring the “greatest generation” focus on its heroic combat exploits. The Oscar-winning The Best Years of Our Lives dramatizes the return of World War II veterans to their homes and the difficulties they face adjusting to civilian life. Director William Wyler (Ben-Hur) and writers Robert E. Sherwood and MacKinlay Kantor skillfully interweave the stories of three fighting men from the same middle-American town.

Fred Derry (Dana Andrews) is a decorated bombardier who's forced to resume his former job as a soda jerk. His wartime bride (Virginia Mayo) is unhappy with this step down from military glory and walks out. Homer Parish (Harold Russell) has lost both his hands in a Navy battle and must cope with prosthetic hooks.

And former Army sergeant Al Stephenson (Frederic March) is rehired as a bank loan officer, but now pays attention to veterans’ special financial needs. The filmmakers treat their characters’ domestic and employment problems with tenderness and insight.