Saturday, February 19, 2011


Gentle Readers,

I offer two very good documentaries for your viewing interest and pleasure this long weekend -- at least I hope you get the day off on Monday.

The first is Waiting for Superman. You will definitely want to see this if you have children in public school, but it should be of interest to everyone because we all pay taxes to support our failing schools. Waiting for Superman explores how and why the school system is broken and how it can be repaired. Superman blames the teachers' unions, who insist that all teachers be treated the same; thus, no extra pay for exceptionally good work and the opportunity to darn near get away with murder.

The most striking sequence was about a school superintendent, I think it was in Milwaukee, who saw footage filmed by a student with a camera in his book bag (it wasn't clear to me if the superintendent asked the student to carry the camera). The film showed students shooting craps in the back of the classroom, teachers reading newspapers, and a teacher placing a student's head in what was kindly referred to as a "soiled toilet." The superintendent fired the teachers immediately, only to be forced to rehire them in a year and give them a year of back pay. Herein lies the power of the unions.

The film also examines the success of some charter and magnet schools. Fixing schools can be as simple as hiring an enthusiastic, good principal, who, in turn, hires enthusiastic, good teachers. All in all, a very interesting movie and I recommend it highly.

The second movie, which is definitely more quirky, is called Exit Through The Gift Shop. It's about street art and especially a man named Thierry Guetta who loved to film everything he saw. He started looking into the world of street art, which some people dismiss as graffiti (though it can be far more interesting), and some street artists let him follow them around and film him, with Thierry giving them the idea he was making a documentary about them. Thierry was even allowed to follow elusive and secretive British street artist Banksy, whose face and voice are obscured in the movie.

Eventually, though, it became apparent that Thierry didn't know what he was doing. He came up with a worthless documentary that was a montage of images with noise, so Banksy sent Thierry out to be a street artist and Banksy took over the movie. What happens next is so amazing that you just have to watch the movie for yourself to believe it. I'm not sure it really happened, or if someone created art and treated it as a documentary. Definitely something to research, Mr. Brainwash.

Anyway, Exit Through The Gift Shop has the highest Lola Seal of Approval.

Happy Viewing!

Infinities of love,


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