Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 8 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: Once known as the "California Riviera," the Salton Sea is now called one of America's worst ecological disasters. This documentary covers the historical, economic, political, and environmental issues that face the Sea, it more importantly offers up an offbeat portrait of the eccentric and individualistic people who populate its shores. Hair-raising and hilarious, part history lesson, part cautionary tale and part portrait of one of the strangest communities you've ever seen, this is the American Dream gone as stinky as a dead carp. (Tilapia Corp.) Collapse
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 8
  2. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. This is a startlingly funny portrait of Gothic Americana.
  2. 80
    Plagues & Pleasures is kinda like one of those travel videos, except it's offering you a vacation like you've never had before and it's not loaded with bulls---.
  3. To their credit, directors Chris Metzler and Jeff Springer, both of San Francisco, poke gentle fun at the locals without ridiculing them. The film's playful spirit is underscored by catchy steel-guitar melodies (courtesy of the Friends of Dean Martinez) that perfectly suit the bone-dry setting.
  4. 70
    Occasionally lighthearted but always affecting cautionary tale.
  5. Reviewed by: Michael Ordona
    Although ill-served by the lack of expert voices or elaboration on viable choices, Plagues and Pleasures is an often-fascinating document of change -- incremental as evaporation, or catastrophic as flooding.
  6. The late U.S. Rep. Sonny Bono and his widow and successor Mary Bono have spent a good deal of time trying to save it. It's a hard task, but the film does suggest there's more to the sea than meets the eye.
  7. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    Jaunty and fun for a while, with a cast of colorful locals who make the residents of "Vernon, Florida" seem normal, pic ultimately overstays its welcome and overstates its case.

See all 8 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. RommelJ.
    Oct 21, 2007
    Have been watching this documentary on the Sundance cable network and it is highly compelling, a tour de force in that it speaks volumes to the deaf ears in Palm Springs, San Diego, Congress and the California Legislature who refuse to do anything to stabilize the impending entropic ecological disaster which is Salton Sea/Sink. If the sea should evaporate at its current rate, the effect that an exposed alkaline flat would have on Palm Springs would be devastating, and this film touched on that subject, if only cursorily. Expand