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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
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Texas A&M infielder Trinity Cannon (6) reacts during Texas A&M’s game against Texas at the Austin Super Regional at Red and Charline McCombs Field in Austin, Texas, on Friday, May 24, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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Texas A&M softball experienced every inch of the pendulum of emotions in its NCAA Super Regional matchup with Texas on Friday, May 24, but...

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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Texas A&M pitcher Evan Aschenbeck (53) reacts after throwing the final strike out during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi State on Saturday, March 23, 2024, at Olsen Field. (Chris Swann/ The Battalion)
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May 23, 2024
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Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
Bee-hind the scenes
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 1, 2024

The speakers turn on. Static clicks. And a voice reads “Your starting lineup for the Texas A&M Aggies is …” Spectators hear that...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
'I was terrified'
April 25, 2024
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Scenes from '74
April 25, 2024
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Puff on this

 
 

For cigarette enthusiasts, the only thing more refreshing than the cool taste of a cancer stick is the thought that a major motion picture might actually stick up for the smoking inclined.
Swimming upstream against the anti-tobacco sentiment sweeping the nation, “Thank You for Smoking” humanizes an industry that is all too often portrayed as a mustache-twirling villain. With equal parts satire and spite, writer-director Jason Reitman combines a talented cast with a top-notch script to make “Thank You for Smoking” a funny, funny film.
Based on a novel by Christopher Buckley, “Smoking” explores the tobacco lobbyist industry through the eyes of Nick Naylor (Aaron Eckhart). A morally flexible spin-doctor, Nick is the spokesman for big tobacco and a manifestation of all that is evil about corporate America.
So why does Nick do what he does? Because he’s damn good at it. From utilizing a young boy’s cancer for the goodwill of the tobacco industry to bribing a dying cigarette spokesman, Nick can turn any misfortune into the silver lining of a corporation’s wallet. Eckhart steps up to the plate and hits a home run with his performance. Whether it’s his smooth-talking charisma or his genuine affection for his young son, even the most bleeding-heart environmentalist will find Mr. Eckhart charming despite the serpent-tongued opportunist that lies at the surface.
Mirroring reality, the film’s humor is found in the strangest of places. Never above using the easy jokes, “Smoking” combines standard Hollywood fluff with the smart and edgy to create a mainstream film with art house sensibilities. “Smoking” offers enough laughs to keep middle-America entertained without becoming a pretentious, preachy snoozer. For those with tastes a bit more refined than Larry the Cable Guy, the film excels at off-color gallows humor.
Meeting for dinner and drinks, Nick surrounds himself with his peers, the M.O.D. Squad, or Merchants of Death. Played by Maria Bello and David Koechner, these alcohol and firearm lobbyists share trade stories and compare death counts over a nice American dinner. Never afraid to laugh in the face of death, the film utilizes America’s cultural juxtaposition of middle-class conservatism and the moral bankruptcy that shines beneath to remind audiences that humor is a valid way of coping with life’s troubles as any other.
The film is full of small, yet memorable roles played by Hollywood’s top actors. J.K. Simmons, William H. Macy, Robert Duvall, Katie Holmes, Rob Lowe and Sam Elliott all lend their talent to the film and breathe life into the world Nick Naylor inhabits.
Reitman, son of Ivan Reitman, has apparently inherited his father’s funny bone as he continues the family tradition of directing timely comedies that hit home. “Smoking” is exactly what America needs right now – a wake-up call in the face of looming political correctness overkill.
Is the movie going to offend people? Oh, yes. But it’s also going to make them laugh despite themselves – and that’s the way it should be. Nothing’s funnier than the truth. A good comedy will not only provide an hour and a half of escapism, but it’ll point out our own faults while it’s at it.

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