#20 – American Promise:
This, from the Sundance catalog: ” . . . groundbreaking documentary charged with the hope that every child can reach his or her full potential and contribute to a better future for our country. It calls into question commonly held assumptions about educational access and what factors really influence academic performance.” While it was interesting to follow the education of the two boys from Kindergarten through 12th grade, the premise of the movie was trite, and it lacked focus. It never was clear what the assumptions are and how they are called into question. It never was clear what promise was made, or needs to be made, nor what the current state of fulfillment is. I thought the directors’ message was that it is parents’ responsibility to make sure their children are well educated regardless of the child’s native talent or educational system. According to the Q&A, I was wrong.
Water: One of the boys enters Occidental College in Los Angeles (fall 2012), and the closing shot was of him alone at the beach and then standing on a rock breakwater that extends into the Pacific. I didn’t even bother to asking.
#21 – Lovelace:
This is not a story about Linda Lovelace. This is a story, first, about exploitation and the porn industry, and second, and more powerfully, about domestic violence. Lovelace is a really difficult movie to sit through, more for the physical abuse than anything else. However, the titular character serves as a role model for anyone needing to escape an abusive situation and to re-cast her/his life in a positive mean. Again, according to a little Wikipedia research, this film should not be considered a biography. Rather, her life is used simply as a starting point for a larger message.
Water: References irrelevant.
#22 – Blackfish: What began as an investigation into the death of an orca whale trainer at Sea World in Florida in 2010, ended up as an expose of the sea-park industry. This film has a tight script, well-sequenced footage, and a clear message.
Water: Orca’s live in it. Duh.