The Crazies (2009)
Now I finally get around to the movies and television shows available to Watch Instantly I found rewarding. No big preamble to this one.
Streaming Movies and TV that were Worthwhile
The Gamers: "Dorkness Rising" (2008)
Her Minor Thing (2005)
|25 year old virgin?|
Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers (2006)
Constantine's Sword (2007)
I'm not really sure how I happened upon Constantine's Sword; I think I linked off of another member's profile to their listed reviews and saw it there (a feature that Netflix took away). It is effectively a documentary about the how author (and former Roman Catholic priest) came to write Constantine's Sword (2001), a book that deals with the history of antisemitism in the Catholic Church. The movie takes a more constrained look at that history while introducing the bias against non-Christian (particularly Jewish) members of the U.S. Air Force Academy fostered by the Evangelical Christian community. Like Howard Zinn, Carroll was actively opposed to the Vietnam War (where Zinn was a bombadier in WWII, Carroll's father was the founding director of both the Air Force Office of Special Investigations – AFOSI – and the Defense Intelligence Agency – DIA – and an FBI agent before that) on the belief that war is immoral. It is from this viewpoint that his investigations into and condemnation of the tying of Christianity to the concept of a righteous war – in this case, the largely undeclared war against Judaism waged by the Catholic Church for centuries in Europe. Carroll is a pleasant character on screen and it is clear that he has great sympathy for both the victims and the perpetrators who have committed atrocities in the name of God; he very much brings an aura of hate the sin and not the sinner to his examination. I enjoyed the movie, but I know that it barely scratches the surface of what he wrote about. That's why Constantine's Sword is one of three history books (joining Donald Kagan's The Peloponnesian War and James Bradley's The Imperial Cruise) on the reading list for the 2011-2012 reading season.
available here), but seeing as how it is part of the reason I decided to start giving some kind of voice to my opinions on the Netflix movies, I thought it would be appropriate to include it on the list. It is another example of a low-budget film that works well within its constraints, but it has so much more to say to the human condition (or at least an aspect of the human condition) than the kinds of movies that dominate at the box office. I cannot recommend it strongly enough even knowing that the premise and slow build up will frustrate many serious viewers.
Frontline: Bush's War Parts I & II (2008)
Bush's War offers up a wealth of information on the hows and who's behind the U.S. lead invasion and occupation of Iraq. Much of it is surprisingly counter-intuitive, with evidence of Dick Cheney not (within the White House, at least) pushing for a prolonged military commitment to the war and Condoleezza Rice acting as a stabilizing force as Secretary of State (where she had been a complete and total failure in even making her voice heard prior to that). While Bush's War feels a little more apologetic than one would expect from a PBS production, that may be because there is still no resolution on the war. It otherwise tries for an even and thoughtful tone. It really does a fantastic job of detailing the steps to war – though I am sure some people will find many missing – and how the decisions were made. Not a fun viewing experience, but more than a little informative. I wouldn't recommend letting this stand as your primary source of information regarding the forces behind the war, but it will greatly inform your knowledge of it nonetheless. Both episodes can be seen here.
Better Off Ted (Seasons 1 & 2) (2009-10)
Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne (2009)
Toy Story 3 (2010)
Sports Night (Seasons 1 & 2) (1998-2000)