I don’t watch much TV, other than LOST and 24. If I am watching TV its usually HBO or IFC, and recently i have noticed a disturbing trend in what I actually watch. If I’m flipping through the channels and happen to stumble upon a documentary, I will watch all of it regardless of how far in i see it, or what its about. In the last few months I’ve watched two documentaries about The presidential election in 2004 …So Goes the Nation, and Hacking Democracy. I’ve seen Year of the Yao twice now, which is about super-tall Chinese NBA player Yao Ming. The Fog of War, which was about former Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara. Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price, about Wal-Mart’s questionable business practices.
All of these were pretty good, but one stood out as being the craziest documentary I’ve ever seen: Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. This was about Fred Leuchter, who designed and repaired electric chairs, lethal injection systems and other devices used execute criminals. In the 1980’s he was approached by a German man who was on trial in Canada for distributing pamphlets stating that the Holocaust never happened. Leuchter ends up going to Germany and investigating the actually ruins of the concentration camps to see if it happened or not. He ends up releasing a report known as the Leuchter Report and becomes a well-known Holocaust denier. This documentary is chock full of crazy, from what he actually did in Germany to the fact that there are that many people who believe the Holocaust didn’t happen. I would definitely recommend seeing this, since it has many moments where you want to yell, “Are you kidding me!?” at what Leuchter does and says.
I feel that lots of people find documentaries boring, there is no real action, just talking and interviews. I still find them interesting and can’t stop watching them once I start. I think someday I’ll make a documentary about documentaries called, The Documentary Documentary.