reality bits

Taking advantage of the Netflix and streaming, we had a nice week of so of documentary watching. Of course, as we streamed them, their were some that we couldn’t get to much into and so felt quite free to halt. The ones that we completed though, consisted primary of these…

The King of KongThe King of Kong. Man, I’d been wanting to see this for a long. Time! The story of Billy Mitchell, the fellow who got the Donkey Kong world record (among many others) in the early 1980’s and another fellows recent attempt to defeat that record. Donkey Kong was one of the first games that I was “good” at (until that fateful day at the Red Robin on Burnside when punk-ass Jon beat me and I moved onto other games), so it was fun to watch this story… It was also somewhat gratifying to have them especially cover the difficulty of the Third Elevators as that level was my fatal downfall. What becomes somewhat surprising is the politics and cliquishness of the scene. The same major player have been around since the old days (including the fellow who is in charge of official records keeping) and they don’t seem to take to well towards new comers trying to unseat the champ.

CrawfordCrawford. Uff. Man. The story of what happens to a small Texas town when the Governor of Texas decides to by a ranch in the town as he makes his play for President. I found that theme to not be as interesting as it was to listen to the things that these people have to say in general. Primarily non-analytical pro-government, pro-military, pro-god, anti-peace… I am always torn in that way that I do (or at least want to) appreciated the reputation of genuineness and community spirit shown by small town America, but also mortified by what they sometimes say in their attempts at honesty. I would almost rather that they behave in decent ways that are dishonest to themselves then have them believe that we can go and bomb all to hell any foreign country that we want for no legitimate reason. All in all, somewhat disturbing. In the few high-point’s to this town are a thoughtful teacher who tries to teach her students to think about things and be somewhat analytical and one youth who really does try to understand the truth and express it. By the end of the movie, neither of them are living in Crawford anymore…

Welcome to MacintoshWelcome to Macintosh. Now this is a good Macintosh documentary! Way better than that terrible Macheads that we watched a while back! It is a history of Apple, of the Macintosh and its development and of the followers of the mac. Covering Apple’s successes and missteps with interest and sincerity, it also has some good speakers, including Guy Kawasaki(!), Apple engineers, bloggers and a lot of people who were around Apple and the Mac in the old days. The filmmakers are obviously big fans of Apple and though they are strongly supportive of Steve and though they wisely tie the success of Apple to his vison, personality and his person itself, they aren’t blindly mired within his halo effect… Though some of the people interview in the movie are.

Forgiving Dr MengeleForgiving Dr Mengele. This was an interesting and enlightening story. Forgiving Dr Mengele is the story of a woman who had been a prisoner in Auschwitz. Her and her sister where twins so they we, um, enlisted to be some of Doctor Mengele’s experimental subjects for his genetic testing. The women, now elderly, has decided that to continue on with her life she needs to put it behind her and forgive Dr Mengele. Not because his actions should be forgiven, but because she doesn’t want to spend the rest of her life under that cloud. Of course her decision is not taken well by a good portion of the Jewish community. There are some interesting other side trips… In one she starts a holocaust museum in the little town that she lives in and goes about educating the local school children and, two, she takes a trip to visit Palestinians. I thought that was most interesting as they primarily wanted to talk about the harm that has been done to them by the state of Israel, and she was really quite disinterested in hearing anything about that.

Following SeanFollowing Sean was alright. The story of a fellow who lived in the Haight area right at the peak of the hippie thing who befriended a smart four year old hippie boy who lived upstairs. At one point, he asked the kid some questions in front of a camera and Sean mentioned some things about drug use and other hippie stuff. When the filmmaker originally released that footage way backl when, he got famous and his movie got acclaim and criticism. Now, many years later, he decides to go back to San Francisco to see what all of those folks from old days are up to. It really didn’t spark much interest in me and the results of his quest aren’t particularly surprising or compelling.


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