King Corn might be part of a new genre, cornography, in which row after row of yellow haired, crunchy, leggy babes reveal all.
The first blockbuster in the genre was actually literary, via Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma. Now two innocents, Ian Cheney and Curtis Ellis, follow in Pollan's footsteps, relying on the often-used but still effective device of dropping into the picture. They decide to become corn farmers, albeit on a very small, one-acre, site. Filmmaker Aaron Woolf follows the two on their highly entertaining quest to find out how corn really grows, enters our national diet and what it all means.
Unlike other in-your-face shock documentaries of the recent past, the camera keeps a respectful eye on the midwestern farm and the choices such endeavors entail. More than a couple of farmers admit, in effect, that they are growing crap - whether in cornfields or feedlots - but that they have no choice. The doc also shows how amazingly easy the venture is, given chemicals and genetic breeds, but that the profit only comes by dipping several ways into the taxpayer's pocket.
The film opens in several markets, including Washington, D.C. Go see it and find new meaning in that bucket of popcorn you're eating.
- Samuel Fromartz