Craving some much needed positive PR, the Valiant Tobacco Company announces a cockamamie scheme: Any American town that can give up smoking for one month will win $25 million, tax-free. Eagle Rock, Iowa—population 4,000—needs that kind of coin to revamp Main Street and attract a military missile factory that will bring industry and life back to their dying Midwestern town. At least that’s what Rev. Brooks (Dick Van Dyke) hopes will happen. Valiant’s PR man (Bob Newhart) sure hopes it doesn’t. Director Norman Lear was a titan of television, but Cold Turkey remains his lone cinematic effort. He made it in 1969, but the movie was shelved for two years because the studio feared it would piss off advertisers. They were right, but so was Lear: His vision of consumers, marketers, and politicians all in bed together is as relevant now as it was then. Available on Hoopla and Pluto TV.
The above blurb first appeared in the pages of Boulder Weekly Vol. 27, No. 45, “Home Viewing: Satire Streams.”
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