Thursday, March 17, 2016

Meet the cult of conservative media in Jen Senko's THE BRAINWASHING OF MY DAD

OK: The liberal media probably has its cults, as well. But in my estimation there has so far been nothing in the annals of television and radio anything as nasty, bullying and scary as Fox News and the many "talk radio" creeps who spout hate and lies like there was no tomorrow. (And thanks to whom there may not be for much longer. Yes, assholes: climate change exists.) New to TrustMovies, however, is the fact that there are actually support groups now for folk who have lost loved ones to brainwashing by right-wing media.

If the above sounds like a bit of comic faux journalism right out of The Onion, the new documentary from Jen Senko (shown at right) entitled THE BRAIN-WASHING OF MY DAD will make you sit up and take notice that this has indeed happened to a multitude of dads, moms, and other relatives and friends. How and why Fox News and its minions and acolytes have been able to achieve and continue this is explained in all its tacky, unpleasant glory in this surprising documentary that will handily verify for many of us why certain people we know appear to have gone over to the dark side, while losing far too many of their marbles in the process.

How can a man (like Ms Senko's own father, shown in his middle years, above, and as seen last year, below), formerly a liberal Democrat who loved people and animals, over a rather short time become a raving right-wing nut? This is easier than one might think, but fortunately so is the deprogramming necessary to bring him back to reality. (We get this part shown to us toward the end of the documentary.)

Meanwhile, we get a not-bad history of American life from the 1950s through current times, with a most interesting look at the career of Roger Ailes plus a number of talking-head interviews with current and/or former right-wing prevaricators (that's the famous turncoat, David Brock, below, left) and the men and women who want to stop the planned take-over of American politics and life via this brainwashing.

These would include everyone from author Claire Conner to Steve Rendall (of FAIR) whose explanations of what's happening and why prove thoughtful, direct but more understated than you might expect. How do all those right-wing "think tanks" figure into things? You'll see....

There is also quite a bit of colorful, stylish and smart animation (above), courtesy of Bill Plympton, which helps make the film's 90 minutes go by relatively quickly. Though the documentary focuses on Ms Senko's dad, we don't probe too deeply into family history. Instead we learn (once again, for some of us) about the infamous Lewis Powell memorandum and Ronald Reagan's gift to the rich of supply-side/trickle-down economics.

The few times in life that this critic has encountered rabidly angry brainwashed right-wingers, he has quickly given up trying to reason with them or change their ideas. Yet, as pictured here, this is not an impossible task. To learn how, you'll have to experience the movie -- which is, of course, preaching to the choir. But, hell, the sermon's a pretty good one.

The Brainwashing of My Dad (that's dad again, with mom, above) opens this Friday, March 18, in New York City (at the Cinema Village) and Los Angeles (at Laemmle's Music Hall 3) and simultaneously via digital release on iTunes and nationwide VOD. To see all currently scheduled theatrical screenings, with cities and theaters shown, click here.

No comments: