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Old 10-24-2013, 11:10 PM  
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Late night bullshit: Your favorite documentary.

I've been on a documentary bender the past few days. I've started threads about documentaries I've seen in the past, and I'm on record saying that Planet Earth and WWII in HD are the best things ever put on television.

I've seen a couple documentaries recently that really left a profound impact on me. Maybe you've seen some you'd like to talk about? Or maybe you just want to piddle around late at night. This is your thread.

1. I saw "Crisis: Behind A Presidential Commitment" on some channel called Pivot a few days ago, about John F. Kennedy enforcing the integration of the University of Alabama over the segregationist civil disobedience of its then-governor, George Wallace (almost certainly at the behest of his constituents).

This was pretty okay. The story it told didn't have a lot of chapters to it: the federal court decision that mandated integration isn't discussed, nor is any of the other fallout surrounding school integration in the south. This confrontation was entirely civil; there was no violence or use of force. Here's the entire movie: Kennedy wonders if Wallace is going to stand in the way of school integration at U of A, Wallace does, so Kennedy nationalizes the Alabama Guard and there you have it: school integrated.

What's really awesome about this documentary (and it's really old, made in 1963) is it has almost zero voiceover commentary. You are seeing everything happen as history unfolds, as cameras tape Kennedy sweating bullets in the Oval, and Wallace mouthing off to a federal representative as he stands in front of the entrance to his school, blocking it off.

This happened about 50 years ago. That is absolutely ****ing insane, that we've gone from segregation to total integration in such a small amount of time. A public divided on an issue so important became a public overwhelmingly in support of it. So much can happen in such a small amount of time. These were people that mostly look like us, dress like us, and talk like us. This is not ancient history. And we're at each other's throats over increasing gas mileage standards for cars. These people were talking about treating black people equally. Makes our fights seem small by comparison, if you ask me.

2. I saw "Blackfish" tonight on CNN, after months of wanting to see it at my local arthouse theater but never getting a chance to. This movie's about the gross negligence of aquatic amusement parks (SeaWorld, SeaWorld, and SeaWorld) for their criminally negligent treatment of killer whales.

I think the most amazing thing about this documentary is how ****ing amazing orca are. These are creatures that are the sizes of school buses, the intelligent capacity of humans, and what seems like an emotional capacity that far exceeds humans. It's really stunning, the things this documentary reveals about these gigantic mammals.

Mainly it follows the exploits of this one orca they call "Tillicum" from his capture at sea to his confinement in a tank that's simply impossibly small for a creature of his size. The fact that they store a ton of these things together in the same tank is revealed as absolutely insane: they're a lot like people from all over the world, and when you just cherry pick them, separate them from their families, and throw them into what must feel like a bathtub to them with a bunch of others who they can't talk to, can't understand, and don't trust, bad things happen.

Namely, trainers get attacked, mutilated, and occasionally even killed. And of course you see all the deliberate actions from SeaWorld to keep churning out product even in light of this danger.

Mostly, for me, this film really illustrates what it's like for us to abdicate our responsibility to take stewardship over the earth. Humanity simply does not have the resources to adequately care for these creatures: they span hundreds of miles a day, and require more stimulation and social interaction than we are capable of providing. These are incredibly social creatures apparently, and we are placing them in underwater jail cells.

I'm a religious person, and I can't help but think of this as a sin. I don't think you have to be religious to feel like the animals that share our world deserve moral treatment, and that aquatic amusement parks like SeaWorld are absolutely abdicating this responsibility with killer whales.

Anyway. That's my rant. What kind of mind-expanding documentaries have you seen recently?
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Old 10-25-2013, 12:12 AM   #31
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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I actually DVR Frontline, and this week's past episode was incredibly freaky, about a new breed of bacteria that is growing resistant to antibiotics...
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Old 10-25-2013, 12:15 AM   #32
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Old 10-25-2013, 12:18 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
I did see it.

A very, very sore subject with me, actually. I almost quit football altogether last year because of the book that documentary was based on.

Really, anything by Frontline is amazing.
Same. I'm also now convinced that I have CTE.
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Old 10-25-2013, 12:23 AM   #34
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Same. I'm also now convinced that I have CTE.
I really was thisclose.

Well, I think I was intellectually close. I'm glad the league has made strides, but they need to go farther.

I had functionally quit football last year for about six months. Then April rolled around, and the Combine began, and I felt the endorphins kick in.

It's such a great sport. But the deceptive practices of the NFL were atrocious. Much like SeaWorld's in the OP. For basically the same reason as SeaWorld in the OP...
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Old 10-25-2013, 12:25 AM   #35
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Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan Hoop Dreams, man. I haven't thought about that movie in a long time.

That's the greatest sports doc of all time. Sports docs begin and end with Hoop Dreams.
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Old 10-25-2013, 12:29 AM   #36
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Hoop Dreams and The War Room.

Netflix streaming is worth it's weight in gold if you're into documentaries btw.
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Old 10-25-2013, 12:31 AM   #37
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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I have the War Room on DVD, actually. God, you guys are making me feel like a huge nerd.

Edit: NO! I have the Control Room on DVD. Nevermind. What's War Room about?
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Old 10-25-2013, 01:49 AM   #38
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Thin Blue Line is easily my favorite.

Others favorites:

Fog of War
Dear Zachary
King of Kong
Imposter
Harlan County, USA
Capturing the Friedmans
Overnight

EDIT: Screw it, more recommendations of stuff I've liked:

Queen of Versailles
The Act of Killing
Grizzly Man
Man on Wire
Spellbound
Jesus Camp
Senna
Exit Through the Gift Shop
The World at War
Cocaine Cowboys

I just realized I watch more documentaries than any other genre, and my list would probably run another 20-30 deep, so I'll stop for now.

Last edited by ZootedGranny; 10-25-2013 at 01:57 AM..
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Old 10-25-2013, 01:59 AM   #39
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King of Kong was incredibly enjoyable.
I'm best friends with Billy Mitchell and Walter Day used to live at my parents house!
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Old 10-25-2013, 02:11 AM   #40
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Old 10-25-2013, 03:26 AM   #41
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Old 10-25-2013, 03:52 AM   #42
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Old 10-25-2013, 03:55 AM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZootedGranny View Post
Thin Blue Line is easily my favorite.

Others favorites:

Fog of War
Dear Zachary
King of Kong
Imposter
Harlan County, USA
Capturing the Friedmans
Overnight

EDIT: Screw it, more recommendations of stuff I've liked:

Queen of Versailles
The Act of Killing
Grizzly Man
Man on Wire
Spellbound
Jesus Camp
Senna
Exit Through the Gift Shop
The World at War
Cocaine Cowboys

I just realized I watch more documentaries than any other genre, and my list would probably run another 20-30 deep, so I'll stop for now.
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Old 10-25-2013, 04:16 AM   #44
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Back when I had Netflix, I used to watch documentaries because it was the only thing 'new' on.

Now I've pretty much stopped watching all documentaries because I recognized what total and complete horseshit most of them are. Outside of a few high quality organizations that actually care about educating you rather than selling you, 'documentaries' aren't worth watching.

In many cases they are effectively just commercials. The only differences are that instead of trying to sell you a product, they're selling you an idea. Ironically commercials are actually held to a higher factual accuracy standard(because documentaries have none).

Too often their job isn't to educate you, it's to sell you and that's just ****ed up. PBS, Nat Geo and the ilk are some of the few that still do a quality job. The rest? I feel better educated after watching a McDonalds commercial.
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Old 10-25-2013, 05:40 AM   #45
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