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Old 10-25-2013, 12:10 AM  
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, 10:02 AM   #61
ReynardMuldrake ReynardMuldrake is offline
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Connections & The Day The Universe Changed - James Burke
Great show.
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Old 10-25-2013, 10:02 AM   #62
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Paper Heart is a very interesting pseudo-documentary (part doc, part narrative) about the idea of love. Has Michael Cera, Charlyne Yi, and a dude from new girl. Very good.

Dark Days is a doc about homeless people living in an abandoned train tunnel in New York. it's actually really uplifting. Children Underground is not uplifting. It's about homeless kids in Europe who live in train stations and huff paint. Depressing, but interesting.

The Ecstasy Of Order: The Tetris Masters is about, you guessed, people who are the best in the world at playing Tetris. I enjoyed it very much because it goes into the technical aspects and strategies of the game. The people in the film are also very likeable. Highly recommended if you like the game. I watched it on Crackle.

My current favorite documentary is Side By Side. Keanu Reeves produced a picture about making movies using photochemical film and the recent emergence of digital capture. He interviews some great directors and filmmakers. I love it. I believe it's on Netflix, too.
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Old 10-25-2013, 10:27 AM   #63
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Also worth watching:

Restrepo
King of Kong
Dark Days
Grey Gardens
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180 South
Man on Wire
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Old 10-25-2013, 10:31 AM   #64
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I also like this documentary on Netflix about bullying. I can't remember what it is called, but it breaks my heart. It has an Iowa connection from a town that I am actually familiar with one of the bullied...which is cool. However, watching the torment these kids endure just tears my heart and witnessing their parents general apathy in terms of responding to it fumes me...I am a crazy enough father, that if I were to witness footage of one of my children having their heads bashed in to the seats/windows of the bus on nearly every bus ride to school and back...I would probably flip my lid to the point where I would take it out on the bully's parents. Like, I would confront them (public or not in public) and threaten to do everything to them that their punk ass kids did to my son on the bus if they didn't find a way to get their kid to discontinue the behavior (not to brag...but my reputation in town is that I am a very, very nice guy, but no one will ever **** with me. I can scrap...decades of relatively successful wrestling experience at youth-high school and collegiate level with boxing/MMA experience combined with the willingness to throw down if it comes down to is what contributes to this reputation). I can roll, yo...so my kids presumably won't have to worry about experiencing shit like that. Wrong or right, if my kids are ever ****ed with the way the kids in this documentary were ****ed with, it'd prompt me to act irrationally...but then again, when it comes to your kids being physically abused by their peers, what is "irrational?" And ironically, this documentary also makes me feel very guilty...for I had tendencies to be a bit of a bully myself in JH/HS. There were 3 guys who I contacted randomly a couple years after high school and apologized to them for the way I treated them...Billy Madison style. So this documentary gets to me a few different ways. It's good, though.
Pretty sure you're talking about "Bully". And yeah...it brought back some awesome memories of my school years. Being the short fat kid was not a fun time.
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Old 10-25-2013, 10:39 AM   #65
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Old 10-25-2013, 11:18 AM   #66
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Also, The Story of Anvil, about the rock band, was ****ing amazing.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1157605/?ref_=fn_al_tt_4
Speaking of rockumentaries, Dig! (Brian Jonestown Massacre through the eyes of sometimes friends, sometimes rivals Dandy Warhols) and Metallica: Some Kind of Monster (Metallica during a transformational period leading up to the release of St. Anger) are both good ones.

And on a slightly different plane (pun setup intended), Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives is the story of Eels' founder Mark Oliver Everett's journey to learn about the life of his father, quantum physicist Hugh Everett III. Hugh Everett III is the man who came up with the parallel universe theory of quantum physics. In addition to being an interesting story about a brilliant man and his dysfunctional family, this documentary also includes some pretty good music from Eels.
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Old 10-25-2013, 11:22 AM   #67
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Old 10-25-2013, 11:24 AM   #68
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Speaking of rockumentaries, Dig! (Brian Jonestown Massacre through the eyes of sometimes friends, sometimes rivals Dandy Warhols) and Metallica: Some Kind of Monster (Metallica during a transformational period leading up to the release of St. Anger) are both good ones.
I've seen them both, Anvil was much better.
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Old 10-25-2013, 11:24 AM   #69
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Old 10-25-2013, 11:24 AM   #70
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Old 10-25-2013, 11:25 AM   #71
Molitoth Molitoth is offline
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The Zeitgeist series really opened my eyes.

Whether or not it is believable, it is supposed to make you ask QUESTIONS and think for yourself, which was really what I needed at the time.

Before watching this, I was a Christian who believed everything CNN/FoxNews told me and had complete trust in our government. I laugh now at how silly my beliefs were, but that is how I was raised.
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Old 10-25-2013, 11:28 AM   #72
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Any and all documentaries about Earnest Shackleton. He and his men were total badass.
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Old 10-25-2013, 11:30 AM   #73
DaneMcCloud DaneMcCloud is offline
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Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage
I bought this in 2012 and found it to be...underwhelming.

It could have been so much more, considering the band's four decade career.
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Old 10-25-2013, 11:36 AM   #74
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"Joy Division" was another good rockumentary, but it may not be as interesting to people who are too young to remember the punk/post-punk period of the late 70s and early 80s.

Looking through my Netflix queue, I see a couple that I'm looking forward to seeing in "Lemmy" (Motorhead's lead singer) and "The Devil and Daniel Johnston" (not sure what this one's about but I've had people recommend it to me).

If any of you have any rockumentary recommendations, I'd appreciate hearing them.
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Old 10-25-2013, 11:38 AM   #75
DaneMcCloud DaneMcCloud is offline
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If you're into music, History of the Eagles Part 1 & 2 is phenomenal.

Not only is the archival footage awesome, it illustrates a time when music was more about artistry, integrity and conviction, not just about the almighty dollar (like today).
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