Tuesday, December 17, 2013

JSBM At The Movies: Depressing Documentary Edition

JS while having to relive all these horrible moments again

I've spent the last two weeks being Fun-employed® as we wait to start a new season of the show I work on. So I've had A LOT of free time on my hands and figured I might as well catch up on a bunch of movies I'd been waiting to see for a while.

I'm the type of person that gets really obsessed with, let's say, a specific song or album or band, and listens to said thing non-stop until I never want to listen to it ever again. I managed to get on a similar type of roll these last few weeks, this time with soul-crushingly-depressing documentaries!

This is sort of a Catch-22 situation in that all of these movies were really well made and entertaining, but by the time the credits are rolling you basically want to quit earth. So for those of you I like, let me apologize in advance for bringing these (super entertaining) day ruiners into your life. And for those of you I don't like (most of you) make sure to watch these movies over and over and over again during the Christmas holidays!

I've been fascinated with this story ever since I caught a glimpse of some celebrity (probably Eddie Vedder) wearing a "Free The West Memphis Three" t-shirt. Doesn't the West Memphis Three sound like a roving gang of bandits that would have probably crossed paths with Billy The Kid back in the day? As it turns out they ARE NOT a roving gang of bandits, but actually a group of teenage boys who were tried and found guilty of murdering three 8 year old boys in their small Arkansas town.

There is a SUPER amazing documentary called Paradise Lost: The Child Murders At Robin Hood Hills (METALLICA DID THE GOD DAMN SOUNDTRACK YOU GUYS!) that followed the investigation and trials of the West Memphis 3 that I would highly, highly recommend checking out first before watching this (there are GRAPHIC scenes using actual footage from the crime scene showing the dead boys, images that years later I still haven't been able to shake from my brain, so be forewarned). West Of Memphis does a pretty solid job recapping the entire story, but in order to get the full scope of the crimes and the trial, and help form your own opinion on whether or not the WM3 were actually guilty or not I highly recommend checking out the first Paradise Lost (there were two subsequent sequels, the third of which was released about a week before West Of Memphis, but they aren't that great).

West Of Memphis deals mostly with the appeals of the WM3 and the essentially crowd sourced campaign to get them out of jail (spoiler alert: they didn't actually kill anyone and were basically railroaded in a classic case of early 90's Satanic Hysteria®). Unlike the other movies on this list this one does have a happy ending! Well, I mean, happy in that the 3 end up getting out of prison, but not after serving 18 years for a crime they had nothing to do with, and having to cop a to an Alford plea which basically means they acknowledge there was enough evidence for them to be found guilty, while maintaing their innocence and being let out of jail (????? The legal system make no fucking sense to me). It also dedicates a portion to shedding light on a potential new suspect in the murders, which I found super interesting.

If you're a fan of true crime type of stuff you'll really, really enjoy this, and it's just a solid documentary overall. And if you love seeing Peter Jackon's fat, stupid Hobbit face you'll love it even more!

I went to Seaworld during a family vacation to California when I was like 9, and thanks to this movie I now hate myself for it!

This movie covers the MULTIPLE(!!) number of incidents involving trainers that have been attacked by killer whales over the last couple of decades working at Seaworld, and on a broader level the history of whale shows and the fucked-upness® of the entire endeavor of keeping whales in aquariums.

I've always been one of those people that, when it came to zoos my thoughts were basically "well fuck if I was a gazelle I'd much rather be in a pen in a zoo, getting regular meals and not having to worry about getting jacked up by a lion" and if you're a dumb gazelle sitting there chewing on grass all day, yeah, it's probably not the worst situation. Whales on the other hand? That type of setting IS the worst situation. What they do to these creatures is essentially like shoving Shaq into a high school locker for the night and then letting him out into a slightly bigger locker so he can get beat the fuck up by 5 other Shaq's that aren't cool with him, all while singing and dancing on command. *begins writing outline for movie script about this* 

This movie is not nearly as graphic as I had anticipated. The opening credit sequence made me think it was going to be 90 minutes of horrific footage of people getting their arms and legs ripped off by whales, which sadly does not happen. For a movie about whale attacks there are very few actual whale attacks in it. Regardless it's fascinating and heartbreaking and entertaining and even if you're a horrible, animal eating human being like myself it'll, at the very least, tug at your heartstrings a bit. I mean, I'm not going to go join ALF and start bombing cosmetic testing labs, but I'll probably never go to Marine Land ever again. NOBODY LOVES MARINE LAND ANYMORE!

Jesus Christ, where to even begin with this one? This came out a year before Catfish (if you haven't seen Catfish I also recommend checking that out) and deals with the same theme of people living out fantasy lives on the internet, and taking things a little too far. And when I say they "take things a little too far" obviously I'm referring to a 22 year old kid being gunned down in cold blood over a stranger on the internet! (That's not a spoiler, the very first line in the movie is basically "My name is Brian Barrett and I was murdered"). There is a fairly large "twist" 3/4 of the way through the movie that I really should have sussed out within the first 10 minutes or so, but I was so wrapped up in the story that I basically just held onto my harness and let the roller coaster do what it was going to do.

Roughly 20 times (the movie is barely an hour long so basically every 2 minutes) I said outloud "WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE??!!" and I was physically uncomfortable pretty much the entire time. Half the movie is transcripts of cybersex between a 50 year old man and an 18 year old girl, so.......

A lot of you have probably already pieced together the basic story and surprises here but I guarantee that knowing the "twists" will not make this movie any less interesting. It's a fascinating (and terrifying) portrait of just how fucking nuts things can get when we lose ourselves in our online personas (looking in your direction @TheTowelBoy).

So there you have it. If you're into animal cruelty, child murders and corrupt justice systems these movies should be right up your alley! Happy Holidays everybody!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Tell us what you think