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reported his setbacks to the press, telling Entertainment Weekly, “Nothing went like it was supposed to on this movie. Literally. Everything fked up.” Original star Nicole Kidman had to back out because of an injury sus tamed on the set of Moulin Rouge, so he was forced to settle on Foster, one of the greatest actors of her generation. Then Foster got pregnant, so he had to let her character wear a sweater over the cleavage-maximizing tank top he had her running around in through most of the movie. Poor, misunderstood soulhow does he bear these hardships and still manage to provide us with such thought-provoking films? Perhaps the best argument against Fincher’s self-professed rebelliousness can be found right on the screen in the form of product placements. One doesn’t have to look hard to find the copious number of clearly recognizable trademarked goods intruding into the picture. Popular soft drinks and bottled waters are carefully planted within the set decoration, and, worst of all, the apartment’s television surveillance system is provided by Sony, as can be inferred by the logo plastered beneath each prominently displayed monitor lining one wall of the actual panic room. This is especially noteworthy as the film studio behind the release of Fincher’s movie is none other than… Sony Pictures. The man is a rebel indeed. But perhaps Fincher isn’t completely at fault in this misrepresentation. Perhaps he is simply a product that Sony is selling. What appears to be a careful cultivation of his own public persona may in fact be nothing more than corporate packaging. Through press releases and interviews, he’s been presented as the maverick director responsible for this dark and edgy film. If one does not enjoy dark and edgy films, then one does not appreciate maverick directors. One does not celebrate rebellion. There’s a subtle form of bullying going on, as if we’re being told that only hip and intelligent people will like this movie. And isn’t that the basis of so much of today’s marketing, regardless of the product being sold? Be a rebel! Be an individual like everyone else! Rebels drink Diet Pepsi! Rebels watch the rebel director’s new rebel film, Panic Room! It’s dark and edgy and all the cool kids love it! Perhaps this is just a silly theory cooked up by a bored mind during a movie that failed to engage on its own merits. Fincher’s reputation was already established before he began making films for Sony. This film, however, is still hollow. It is an unimportant studio picture made by a company man who uses recycled techniques in the vain attempt to convince his audience that they are watching something more than a beautiful woman in a tight tank top running away from bad men who want to do evil things.The movie is slight, and should be recognized as such. Eric Gravning is a fellow at UT’s Michener Center for Writers, and is in postproduction on his independent feature film, All the Labor. Editorial, continued from page 3 English skills,” the GAO report notes. “Workers who had these jobs were paid union-scale wages and received fringe benefits, which provided an opportunity to buy homes and send their children to college.” The GAO found that 18 months of paid assistance did not offer .much help for women who needed to earn a high school equivalency degree and learn a language before they could even be ready for retraining for similarly paying jobs. That, of course, is assuming that such higher paying jobs even exist.Thus only 61.5 percent of dislocated workers reported finding new jobs that paid at least 80 percent of their previous wages, according to the Department of Labor. Senate Democrats should be lauded for holding out for a renewal and expansion of TAA. But they ask too little in return for giving up a sizable portion of the power their constituents bestow upon them. In light of the very real dangers that free trade pacts can hold as a back-door method to gut labor and environmental rules here and abroad, handing the Bush administration the ability to quickly push through huge trade agreements on a single vote is unconscionable. While it seems likely that Senate Democrats will reach a compromise with Bush, fast track must then return to the House, where it was approved by only one vote. Instead of just demanding one poorly functioning federal program, Democrats in Congress should use the fast track debate as an opportunity to help struggling communities like El Paso. They can do that by calling for substantive reforms like a universal living wage and trade agreements that are subject to democratic controls. JB 4126102 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 27