Though Fox had quit "Spin City" in 2000, when his advancing
The show is old-fashioned, certainly. The family members, though their particular arrangement may be the series' own, are types we have seen before: the precocious small child, the fuzzy-headed oldest, the somewhat cynical middle one, the hapless relation, the avuncular best friend (who here is also a boss), the wife who is generally more clever than her husband, the Dad with no control or authority over anyone. (Here they are, respectively, Jack Gore, Conor Romero, Juliette Goglia, Katie Finneran,
For my money, or anyway my time, "Fox" has. There is no practical professional reason for me to watch it as often as I do; it is simply a pleasure. The cast (sometimes including Ann Heche as the star's workplace nemesis) is talented and convincingly tied to one another; watching Brandt here, playing a a capable, attractive and open person after years of abuse by
"The State of Arizona" (
Immigration is a complicated issue in a country founded by people who, from the first, just … showed up, pitched a tent, planted a flag; new blood is its lifeblood. The film feels naturally more sympathetic to the state's Hispanic population, as the beleaguered and not the beleaguering parties, documented and otherwise. The police, as shown, can be heavy-handed; and it does not help that they often look dressed as if for a dystopian near-future action film. One irony-deaf supporter of the bill declares, "I'm from Texas; we fought at the Alamo, we fought at San Jacinto.... We took this country, we pushed the Mexicans back"; meanwhile, Gov.
But Sandoval and Tambini also make it clear that Arizona itself is a victim of unintended consequences, federal immigration policies having encouraged workers who once would have crossed back and forth across a more open border to remain in the U.S., and, by fencing off the borders of neighboring Southwest states, to turn Arizona into a sort of funnel for immigrants and smugglers alike. They give many voices a say; they don't pretend to know the answer, other than to suggest, by the real lives they enter, that it should be something that pays respect to difference, to family and to actual if not legal roots in the country. (And I didn't not go into politics to pretend I have any of my own.) You may well leave the film more unsure of your opinions than when you entered. But what "The State of Arizona" does do is give a sense of the issues as lived on the ground, of the energies marshaled by each side -- so often missing from the reported news -- and the human consequences of policymaking.