A new week, a bunch of new documentaries to talk about. First we have Killing Them Safely. This is a documentary about TASERs, the non-lethal way to stop people. The film itself is kind of odd. On one side it seems very pro-TASER. It gives the history of the weapon, the history of the company and how brothers took it over. It talks about how many countries, police officers and others use them. It gives stats about how many lives have been saved by being tasered and not shot and how many criminals were stopped before hurting others because of it. But then another side, it shows a lot of negative information about the weapon. It gives examples of deaths caused by its use even though the company claims it won’t kill anyone. Those two sides confused me a bit because I wasn’t sure if the film had an agenda (pro or con) or what side it wanted its viewer to be on. Overall it’s an interesting film about TASER, but still, I couldn’t quite tell if the filmmakers were for or against its use.
Next we have Addiction Incorporated. This clearly had an agenda. At this point in time we all know cigarettes are bad for you. Maybe at some point people didn’t know despite the fact they were inhaling smoke and fire which should have been the first sign. Anyways, this is about the eventual take down of Big Tobacco on the legal level. For decades Big Tobacco won almost every lawsuit against them until the 1990s. Democrats decided to go full force against the industry using former employees to tell secrets. I don’t smoke. I never have. To me smoking is a personal choice, if you want to do it, go for it, just don’t claim the cancer you got was the industry’s fault. It’s your fault for being stupid. I get that Big Tobacco lied for decades for about addiction factors and chemicals in their cigarettes, but again, it’s someone’s personal choice to start smoking. If a cartoon camel got you to smoke, you’re a moron. This is completely anti-Big Tobacco and really wants you to see Big Tobacco as some huge, evil thing. Yes I’m well aware they bought (and probably still do) politicians, but personal responsibility should come into play. Their products got you hooked, but why did you start in the first place? Ugh, can you tell this bothered me? I really hate biased agenda pieces. It’s well made and does its job, but it’s nothing something I’d watch again. And again, I’m not a smoker.
Third we have Secret Tunnel Warfare. I watch a lot of PBS specials on war and history and I usually like them. This is no different. This discusses the use of tunnels during World War I and how it pretty much changed the face of war. We used to use horses and ground troops and these tunnels changed that. Just building the tunnels could get you killed from a cave-in or flooding. Germans would listen for sounds of tunneling and then blow it up. The Germans were so good in the trenches, the Allies decided to go under and around them with tunnels. That’s nuts by today’s war plans. One tunnel killed around 10,000 Germans. That’s incredible. I like how this used archeologists to examine what’s left of the tunnels and try to show us today how it worked, how they were built and designed. And there’s still one giant bomb left that never exploded. That’s amazing to me. I find this stuff completely fascinating. Military/history buffs will eat this up. Look for it, highly recommended.
Speaking of military/war, fourth we have Censored Voices. I also found this pretty fascinating. This is about the Six Day War in the 60’s that tripled the size of Israel. They have original audio interviews of Israeli soldiers taken back then and they play it with the soldiers today. The audio interviews had been censored back in the day as propaganda for Israel and the uncensored tapes are quite different. Many of the men grew up around the Holocaust and lived in Israel because of it. They were refugees caused by Hitler. Decades later they were pushing families off of land and making them refugees and the soldiers really didn’t like that. Most fought for their freedom, but didn’t believe in the religious side of things. They didn’t care about the Western Wall or any of that, they only cared about their family, their friends and their fellow soldiers. It’s a pretty drastic dynamic. We think of hate when we think of soldiers killing one another in that area of the world, but these guys didn’t kill Arabs because they were Arabs, they just did what they were told. Most hated the fact that they had to kill Arabs for the sake of them being Arabs. They saw the humanity of the situation when the politicians and powers that be didn’t. It’s a very human take on war and killing. Pretty powerful and also highly recommended.
Last we have Sam Klemke’s Time Machine. This was not for me. I hate today’s world of selfies, YouTube sensations and all that nonsense. This guy pretty much created it without anyone knowing about it. Klemke videotaped himself since 1977. He’d do yearly recaps, what was happening in the world and what was happening in his own life long before the internet and social media. It sounds great on paper, unfortunately I couldn’t stand the guy. Every year it was the same thing, he gained weight, complained about living with his parents or a girlfriend. Every year he’d talk about something that he was going to change the following year, but never did. He talked about losing weight. He did like 20 years later and then put it all back on. He talked about writing a pilot and being a screenwriter, but never seemed to attempt it. He took videos of himself with women. He talked about getting prostitutes and being with a man once because he was horny. Then somehow he became sort of an internet person because he uploaded some of his old videos. An Australian company wanted to make this documentary about him using his old footage and him today. It would be great if the guy actually did something with his life, but he never did. So why should I watch this? Why should I care about a guy who did nothing? Plus they mixed in Voyager information from NASA to parallel his life and it was just dumb to me. For decades he made videos nobody saw and I’m supposed to find that interesting why? Maybe with a different person this could have worked, but I simply didn’t like him whatsoever. He repeated all his bad decisions and never attempted anything. No thank you.