Media Update 9/12/19

The Family

I found out about Jeff Sharlet through the Ugly Dogs fandom. They named one of their dogs after Jeff and now I can see why. This documentary is an adaptation of Sharlet’s earlier work investigating a secretive cult known as The Family. The Family will tell you that they are not Christians, they are just followers of Jesus. In fact, they are a decentralized cult that hides behind a powerful name to influence all corners of government not only in the United States but globally. They were behind the anti-gay legislation in Uganda, union busting in the United States, and so many more hateful movements. The short docuseries touches on The Family’s creation, how they wormed their way into the halls of power, their hypocrisy, how they recently merged with Donald Trump and other conservative movements, and how they created the National Prayer Breakfast as a tool for lobbying. What may sound like a conspiracy theory is thoroughly researched and backed up by former members of the cult. I am currently watching horror movies in preparation for Halloween and this was way scarier. I definitely recommend it as this information should be had by everybody.

Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood

I have been exploring older Hollywood lately so a movie like this, which is partly a love letter to the Sixties, is right up my alley. Of course, it feels like a fairly white-washed period piece without sexism or racism but that is the story they wanted to tell. Leonardo DiCaprio plays an aging movie star who is somewhat analogous to Steve McQueen among other stars. Unlike the stars he is similar to, he has only had moderate success and is on his way out and is struggling with that. His friend is played by Brad Pitt who is a former stuntman who now makes a living as DiCaprio’s driver and gopher. Meanwhile, Margot Robbie plays actress/model Sharon Tate as the specter of the Manson Family looms in the near future. Margot Robbie is so great as the bright-eyed, happy Tate who is just getting her career off the ground after being in Valley of the Dolls, Beverly Hillbillies, and The Wrecking Crew. As the story continues, the main characters interact with real people from history and other analogs. Much like Pulp Fiction, it feels less like a single driven story but a couple of intertwined stories that show off characters. I recommend it.

Going Clear

I have heard about the wrongness of Scientology for years now, ever since Tom Cruise became a famous practitioner and proponent. The things Cruise said infuriated me but my studies of the cult have since made me at least understand why he and others have said what they said. That is how Scientology is designed. The documentary covers the origins of Scientology and shows how it was the creation of L Ron Hubbard who went crazy as he was creating it and bought into his own lie. Upon his death, the cult launched into the stratosphere, utilizing Hollywood and marketing to make them rich and powerful. This documentary interviews several former members, investigators, and other key people as well as showing archival footage. Its goal is to expose how the philosophy of Scientology strives to create a prison of the mind for its members. It makes it so they will endure anything in order to stay in the church’s good graces and will even ask for punishment. It is an insidious bit of mind-warping psychology and this documentary lays a lot of it out. I definitely recommend it but I want to see the Leah Remini series now.

Music of the Week:
Gabby Barrett – The Good Ones

Grimes & i_o – Violence

Lil Nas X – Panini

Black Stone Cherry – Me and the Devil Blues

PVRIS – Hallucinations

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Cults”
– I watched more Marvel’s Agents of Shield Season 6
– I watched more Stargate Atlantis Season 1
– I watched more How to Get Away with Murder Season 1
– I watched more Supergirl Season 4
– I watched more iZombie Season 5
– I watched more The Protector Season 1
– I watched more Charmed Season 1
– I watched more New Adventures of Monkey Season 1
– I watched more Lucha Underground Season 4

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