Thankfully, I am now in the recovery stage and my family didn’t have to call the priest to go over my last rites…which they wouldn’t have done anyway since we’re not Catholic.
I’m not really sure why I brought that up in the first place, but perhaps it’s the lingering effects of having a fever of 103.5° F for 48 hours. That’s a good excuse to use anyway, so I’m using it.
It’s been a very long time since I’ve been as sick as I was, in fact, I cannot even remember when the last time I was too sick to get out of bed was. It’s a horrible experience. We take our good health for granted so much that we forget to be grateful for the days when getting out of bed, at the sound of our alarm, is no big deal.
I can promise you that I will be more appreciative of my health from now on…until a significant amount of time passes and I forgot about how unpleasant being sick is. Just being honest.
As I was lying in bed, dying, I had hours upon hours to do things such as read, think about how uncomfortable I felt, and watch a ridiculous amount of documentaries on Netflix. Some people watch reality television, I watch documentaries…accept it and embrace my inner nerd. Here are 5 quick reviews of some of the documentaries I watched while waiting for the grim reaper. P.S. Spoiler alerts…obviously.
1. 65_RedRoses (2009)
65_RedRoses is a moving documentary about a spirited young woman, Eva Markvoort, and her battle with cystic fibrosis. It highlights the need for awareness of the unforgiving genetic disease, as well as the importance of being a registered organ donor.
Throughout the documentary, Eva displays an unbelievable amount of courage, optimism, and an innate ability to lighten up every room she enters. If you have a heart, watching this documentary will most likely make you tear up, just to warn you.
Sadly, Eva lost her battle with cystic fibrosis in March of 2010 at the age of 25. I definitely recommend watching this film…if you’re not grateful for your good health, you will be after watching 65_RedRoses.
2. Salinger (2013)
This documentary focuses on the fascinating, but highly reclusive, author of “The Catcher in the Rye,” known as J.D. Salinger. An extremely well-made documentary, its foundation was extensively researched and includes interviews from dozens of writers, actors, reporters, and friends.
The result is a captivating look into the extraordinary life of one of the most celebrated writers of the 20th century. It includes his life growing up as a privileged resident of Manhattan’s Park Avenue, to his service in World War II, and ending at J.D. Salinger’s reclusive residence in Cornish, New Hampshire. If you’re a writer, or enjoy a good biography, definitely put this one on your list. You won’t regret it.
Salinger (Official Trailer)
3. The Woman Who Wasn’t There (2012)
This unbelievable documentary is about a horrible woman by the name of Alicia Esteve Head. What made her “horrible” is that she went by the name of Tania Head and claimed to be a survivor of the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center. For six years, she spun her story to other (actual) 9/11 survivors and even became president of the World Trade Center Survivors Network.
She claimed to be an employee of Merrill Lynch on the 78th floor of the South Tower (United Airlines flight 175 hit that floor), but miraculously made it out. Some of her other lies included her losing her fiance, Dave, in the north tower and that she had degrees from Harvard and Stanford University.
The documentary begins with Tania, and her friends from the WTC Survivor Network, being interviewed about Tania’s amazing escape from the South Tower…before she is exposed as a fraud. Gradually, the pieces begin to come together until, finally, an investigative reporter from the New York Times exposes her in a 2007 article.
Not only was Tania Head not in the South Tower at the time of the attacks, she wasn’t even in the country. She was finishing up her classes at a college in her hometown of Barcelona, Spain.
The Woman Who Wasn’t There (Trailer)
4. Bad Blood: A Cautionary Tale (2010)
Bad Blood: A Cautionary Tale puts the spotlight on the careless decisions made by the U.S. Government and greedy pharmaceutical companies in the late 70s and 80s over the production of contaminated hemophilia blood products. Their actions (or decision not to act) resulted in approximately 10,000 innocent people being infected with the HIV virus.
Not only were the pharmaceutical companies, and at the U.S. Government, aware of the risks associated with the type of treatment being used, they did nothing to inform the consumer of the dangers.
An example of the disgusting way the pharmaceutical companies would cut costs, while still being able to produce mass quantities of their product, was how they would open up blood “donation” centers in seedy urban areas and actually pay people a few bucks to donate blood. They would also go to rural prisons and have the prisoners donate blood.
Naturally, these donors included many intravenous drug users, HIV and Hepatitis C infected individuals, and millions of other donors. They would then take the donated blood products and MIX them together in a large vat, before turning them into the hemophilia products and selling them to unsuspecting victims.
It may make you lose faith, if you haven’t already, in drug companies and the U.S. Government, but it’s definitely worth watching it. It’s a sad case of how “the almighty dollar” can make people do some absolutely crazy things.
5. Tabloid (2010, Mature Audiences)
This critically-acclaimed documentary tells the story of a former North Carolina beauty queen, Joyce McKinney, who made headlines in the 1970s for traveling to England and, allegedly, kidnapping and raping her Mormon ex-boyfriend. With his parent’s encouragement, he decided to end things with Joyce and abruptly move to England to complete a church-required mission.
Joyce wouldn’t accept that it was over and hired a body guard (because she was scared of the church), a pilot (to fly her around England) and an assistant to go “save him from the brainwashing Mormons.” And that’s exactly what she did…at least in her altered state of mind she thought of it as “saving” and not “kidnapping.”
After getting arrested in England, for the kidnapping, she made a few court appearances, before sensationally fleeing back to the United States under the guise of a deaf mute. The English tabloids exploded with this story and the documentary will probably bring you to the same conclusion that I did…the woman is barking mad. Just watch the trailer and you’ll understand immediately…
Tabloid (Official Trailer)