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Movies, dining and things to do / Spokane and North Idaho

No lawyer jokes in ‘The Case Against 8’

Above: The two lawyers, David Boies and Theodore Olson, show a sense of compassion in "The Case Against 8."

On "Movies 101," the weekly Spokane Public Radio show that I host with Mary Pat Treuthart and Nathan Weinbender, we decided to bypass any of the films that opened last week in theaters. Seems we mirrored the U.S. public at large, which also decided to spend the weekend in any place but movie theaters.

That left us in a bit of a quandary as to what we actually would review. Then we decided to turn to our television sets and our respective On Demand services. And that led us to the three documentary films that we will review (to be broadcast Friday at 6:30 p.m. on KPBX, 1:30 p.m. Saturday on KSFC): "Life Itself," "Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger" and "The Case Against 8."

"Life Itself" is Steve James' study of the late film critic Roger Ebert. It is a must-see for wannabe critics but is an even more riveting exploration of end-of-life issues. "Whitey" is Joe Berlinger's look at the Boston mobster James "Whitey" Bulger and his complex relationship with law enforcement. And, finally, "The Case Against 8" is a look at the battle to overturn the anti-same-sex marriage statute in California.

In reading the reviews of that latter film, I found myself nodding in agreement with the point made by Hollywood Reporter critic David Rooney, who commented on the fact that the lawyers in the case come across as empathetic, compassionate, open-minded individuals.

As Rooney wrote, "There might actually be more humanization of the legal profession in less than two hours here than there is in multiple seasons of 'The Good Wife.' "

I'm married to a lawyer (one who happens to be a fan of "The Good Wife"), so I'm in a perfect position to say he's correct. But check out the film and see for yourself.