Friday, November 14, 2008

MSNBC's "Witness to Jonestown"

So what is this one about?
I am going to go real lazy on this one and have MSNBC describe this for me. Afterall, it was Lester Holt's preview of the film on Nightly News that made me super excited to watch it!

And how much did I pay to watch?
I didn't pay anything! I watched it on a DVR that my mom recorded on TV. I don't pay for the cable, and I didn't pay for the disc. Because I am a mooch who still lives with my parents. Go me!

And what did I think?
I normally wouldn't review a tv documentary. I really, really wouldn't. However, one thing you might not know about me is my unfailing dedication to NBC and its networks, its anchormen (I'm looking at you Brian Williams), and its programming (except not Dateline or To Catch a Predator...I have to still be picky, I mean, be serious). This one, however, was totally worthy of a review. It demonstrates what happens when people have no more options. It was amazing.

I didn't know anything about Jim Jones or his People's Temple. I only vaguely understood that when people said things like "drink the kool-aid" they meant to fall in line. And one time when I was in middle, or maybe even elementary school, my family went on a trip and stayed in Johnstown, PA. They had a big flood there, and our hotel room looked out over a cemetery. And then I remember that when I heard Jonestown I thought I had been there because I thought Jonestown, Guyana and Johnstown, PA were the same place. What can I say? I am dumb. And then I remember this amazing episode of The X-Files, called, the "The Field Where I Died" that was about a religious cult/commune where everyone ended up killing themselves. It was one of my absolute favorite episodes of that show. So, to actually learn about the event, in the form of a documentary, (which I LOVE) was super cool.

The program itself was actually very well done. Using former members of the People's Temple and surviors of Jonestown gave the documentary a very authentic feel that wasn't from a judgemental newsperson point of view. And it was just SO fascinating!

So fascinating, in fact, that I had to go and get another Jonestown documentary from netflix.

I will probably go into what I think Jonestown means for society in the review of the other film. But, for now I will say, if you want to borrow "Witness to Jonestown" let me know. It is seriously awesome.

So what is the rating? (out of 10)
I know I said it is seriously awesome, but, lets keep in mind that it is an NBC doc. I would never ever slander NBC, but, it is what it is.

I give it an 8.

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