Media Update 3/19/20

Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath

After watching Going Clear, I knew that I had to watch this documentary season as I had heard it was really good. Scientology is a pretty frightening organization and having a really in-depth look at it is really important. The series follows former Scientology members, Leah Remini and Mike Rinder. Leah Remini was a celebrity member and an evangelist for the organization. Mike Rinder was all the way near the top as an Executive Director on the Board of the Church of Scientology International. They travel around the country and interview former members of Scientology about the horrible experiences they endured. They explore the structure of Scientology and the psychology of those still inside. Leah has a really good interview style. She is really warm but cuts to the heart of the matter. Mike usually hangs back and provides insight as a former man at the top. They interview two or three people an episode, slowly putting together a pattern of abuse. Their stated goal is to prevent Scientology from wrecking any more families. They also detail a lot of the history and structure of Scientology. I definitely recommend this fascinating and heartbreaking docuseries.

The Most Dangerous Animal of All

This four-part documentary series follows a man named Gary Stewart who was adopted who decides to look for his birth parents. After finding his birth mother, he starts to obsessively seek out his birth father. His mother warns Gary to drop it and everybody else connected tells him to drop it. Gary finds out that his father was an infamous pedophile who repeatedly kidnapped and married Gary’s birth mother. It was a famous child bride scandal called “The Ice Cream Romance”. It was a real tragedy and it showed how evil Gary’s father (Earl Van Best Jr.) was and how out of touch with reality he was. Gary fixated on this and one day he saw a sketch of The Zodiac Killer and decided that his father might be the Zodiac Killer. He took years to explore and research this idea, ruining all of his relationships through his obsession. He published a book with what looked like compelling evidence but much of it was debunked or partially debunked. It is a fascinating story of one man’s obsession, how buried history can hurt us whether it is unearthed or not, and the lies we tell to get to our goals. I definitely recommend it.

The Amazing Jonathan Documentary

I have been a fan of The Amazing Jonathan since I first saw him do a special on Comedy Central in the nineties. He felt a little like Penn and Teller but without the socially responsible messages. He was outrageous and hilarious and I instantly loved him. After seeing a few specials, he dropped off of my radar. He was pretty much exclusive to Las Vegas so of course I was not really going to see what he was up to. It turns out that he had some heart problems but was able to mitigate some of them based on exercise and diet. This documentary is about him returning to the stage for a handful of shows. However, suddenly things are not quite as they seem and things start to get weird. It is hard to know what is real and what is fiction. It should be expected, the director of the documentary used to work on Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! which excelled at unreality and weird situations. This is not a traditional documentary but I think it really illustrates who The Amazing Jonathan is and the spirit of his career. I recommend it as well.


Music of the Week:
Otoboke Beaver – datsu, hikage no onna

Charlotte Lawrence – Joke’s On You

Orville Peck – Queen of the Rodeo

Avatar – King’s Harvest

Avril Lavigne – I Fell In Love With The Devil


Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Misinformation”
– I watched more Bob’s Burgers Season 10
– I watched more VODs of AGDQ and SDGQ events
– I started watching Frost Fatales VODs
– I watched more Stumptown Season 1
– I watched more Rizzoli and Isles Season 1
– I watched more Elementary Season 1
– I watched more The Good Doctor Season 1
– I watched more She-Ra Season 2
– I watched more Fosse/Verdon


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