“Greedy Lying Bastards” is an indignant protest against the fact that the energy industry, especially ExxonMobil and the Koch brothers, has funded organizations and campaigns that have denied the existence of global warming or minimized its impact. The producer/narrator/star, Craig Scott Rosebraugh, was known in the 1990s as a spokesperson for the eco-terrorist Earth Liberation Front, and brings his unhinged sense of environmental righteousness to this piece of agitprop.
According to Rosebraugh and some of the experts he presents, global warming is affecting our daily weather right now, leading to wildfires, tornadoes, hurricanes, and flooding. Judging from the film, the only dissenters from this view are various charlatans and villains in the pay of the oil companies. Naturally, George W. Bush and Justice Clarence Thomas are also key members of the cabal.
Rosebraugh spends most of his time and effort chasing every public relations ploy ever launched by the energy sector. What he doesn’t do is attempt to provide any answer to the industry’s basic argument: that a serious attempt to reduce carbon emissions, by the degree needed actually to slow, halt or reverse the warming trend, would cripple our energy-dependent economy and slash the standard of living that modern society has come to expect. Greenpeace might not give a hoot if this happens, but millions of other people would surely object. To this rather obvious concern, Rosebraugh has no answer and seems oblivious to the question.
The film runs about an hour and a half but seems longer because it keeps pounding away at the same simplistic theme, making for a repititious and tedious experience. It also asks the audience to be concerned about remote threats such as erosion in Alaska and flooding in Tuvalu. The latter consists of low-lying islands in the Pacific Ocean which may be getting flooded by melting polar ice caps, or may be just sinking into the ocean, as islands are wont to do.
Alternative explanations are not allowed in Rosebraugh’s world, however. He is sort of a Michael Moore without the roguish charm, just an ideologue with a camera. I was one of seven persons in the theater on a Sunday night, and one guy left early. Rosebraugh’s partner is the onetime actress Daryl Hannah, who knows something about the oceans, having played a mermaid. Unlike Hannah’s movie, Rosebraugh’s is unlikely to make much of a splash.