Films on Regulation



Chasing Madoff

Documentary 2010 NR 91 mins.  This eye-opening documentary chronicles the long and often frustrating campaign of financial analyst Harry Markopolos to bring federal regulators’ attention to the brazen investment scams engineered by now-convicted felon Bernie Madoff.  This is an in-depth exposé of how one man saw thru a fraud of huge magnitude and chose to do something about it — when others including the SEC did not.  A lot can be learned from this film about what really happened — the stuff we never saw or heard about in the media.  The movie unfolds like a thriller–but it is all true.  See Full Review

Fed Up

Documentary 2014 PG 90 minutes. The film focuses on the causes of obesity in the United States. It presents evidence showing that the large quantities of sugar in processed foods are an overlooked root of the problem. It points to the monied lobbying power of “Big Sugar” in blocking attempts to enact effective policies to address the issue. This eye-opening documentary examines the underlying causes behind the obesity epidemic, including the marketing strategies of major U.S. food producers. How did 60% of the country get so fat?  2 in 3 adults are considered to be overweight, with 1 in 3 adults considered obese. Childhood obesity has become an ever-more serious medical issue in the United States. The film includes touching video self-portraits by young people who belong to the almost 17 percent of children and adolescents, ages 2 to 19, who are considered obese. The obese parents who raise obese children — why aren’t they in the least bit curious as to how they’ve become 300 pounders when their ancestors were all normal. This film is an expose of the food industry’s pedaling of sugar-rich junk food to kids and the epidemic of obesity that has resulted from it. It rightly points to the chief villain in our food choices–sugar–as addictive and toxic. Sugar is clearly added to food products that historically had none in an effort to elicit a crave factor, so you can’t stop eating them. See Full Review

Killer at Large:
Why Obesity is America’s Greatest Threat

Documentary 2008 NR 1hr44m. This probing documentary explores the ever-expanding issue of obesity in America from individual, political, scientific and cultural perspectives. Obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death in the US today. But how did 60% of the country get so fat?  2 in 3 adults are considered to be overweight, with 1 in 3 adults considered obese. Childhood obesity has become an ever-more serious medical issue in the United States. The film includes touching video self-portraits by young people who belong to the almost 17 percent of children and adolescents, ages 2 to 19, who are considered obese. There are poignant moments, such as a 12 year old girl having liposuction. The film gives a range of reasons why we have this issue regarding obesity in America: school junk food, too much sugar, lack of information about high fructose corn syrup, portion sizes, television, intense advertising aimed at children, cozy cartoon characters hawking sugar, parents, food companies, politics, lobbying, greed, and economics. See Full Review

Koch Brothers Exposed

Documentary 2012 NR 1hr. Koch Brothers Exposed reveals that the Koch Brothers have launched a large network attacking American values — from their environmental pollution, to their efforts to dismantle social security for working Americans. This revealing film investigates the richest 1% in America at its very worst — the Koch brothers’ racist, and anti-environmental, and anti-middle class politics. The Koch brothers’ net worth tops $50 billion, and they pledged to spend $60 million to defeat President Barack Obama in 2012. See Full Review

The Billionaires’ Tea Party

Documentary 2010 NR 54 m. Filmmaker Taki Oldham imbeds himself in the Tea Party groups Americans for Prosperity and Freedomworks, revealing how corporations and the Koch Brothers engineered these fake grassroots called “Astroturf” organizations designed to look like organic grassroots movements.

The Untouchables  (2013)

Documentary Frontline 2013.  Frontline investigates why Wall Street’s leaders have escaped prosecution for any fraud related to the sale of bad mortgages.  More than four years since the financial crisis, not one senior Wall Street executive has faced criminal prosecution for fraud. Are Wall Street executives “too big to jail”?  A look at why Wall Street’s leaders and have escaped prosecution since America’s financial meltdown.

Inside Job

Documentary 2010 PG-13 108 minutes. Director Charles Ferguson clearly maps out the origins of the global economic meltdown of 2008, how it could have been prevented, how it could have been lessened. This sobering, Oscar-winning documentary presents in comprehensive yet cogent detail the pervasive and deep-rooted corruption that led to the economic crisis of 2008. Through unflinching interviews with key financial insiders, politicos, journalists and academics, Ferguson paints a galling portrait of an unfettered financial system run amok — without accountability. Actor Matt Damon narrates. The analysis is piercing and relentlessly thorough. It lays out the problems with the financial industry, how it effects the entire world, addresses what should be done, and the difficulty getting anything done. “Best documentary I have seen! Impeccably done! I am recommending this to everyone I know. Everyone on the planet should watch this film.” See Full Review

Bottled Life

Documentary 2013 NR 1hr29m. Journalist Res Gehriger investigates how Swiss-based corporation Nestlé has plundered the world’s water resources in the name of big business. I can’t say that this documentary was anywhere as good as either “Flow: For Love of Water” or “Tapped”, both of which are available here, so see ‘Flow’ and ‘Tapped’ first. But for the uninitiated, there is still some good information here. (This documentary is mainly good for completionists.) There’s lots of info online about this.

The Warning

Documentary Frontline 2009 NR 54m. A detailed look at the roots of America’s worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, this “Frontline” documentary exposes why government officials refused to regulate emerging derivatives markets that later ruined global financial systems. Director Michael Kirk focuses special attention on the intriguing story of Brooksley Born, the head of a little-known regulatory agency who fought in vain for the increased oversight of derivatives sales.

House of Cards

Documentary CNBC Originals 2009 TV-PG 1hr 30m. This documentary on the housing and economic crisis explains in great detail exactly what caused the US economic crash of 2008, the most crushing economic crisis since the Depression. CNBC investigates the defining story of our time with inside accounts from key players, tracing the origins of the calamity from Main Street to Wall Street to Washington. The financial industry has so many layers and so many players that it makes it difficult for the average person / homeowner to truly understand how we got into this mess. This lays it out step by step. See Full Review

Plunder: The Crime of Our Time

Documentary 2009 NR 100 minutes. Filmmaker and media critic Danny Schechter explores how the current financial crisis was built on a foundation of criminal activity, uncovering the connection between the collapse of the housing market and the economic catastrophe that followed. To get the real story, Schechter — aka “the News Dissector” — interviews bankers, economists, journalists and even a convicted white-collar criminal who blew the whistle on dishonest business practices. This film is very descriptive and accurately portrays the economic events that lead us to the dire situation we are in now. As a business student myself, I can attest to the facts presented in this film – as they are being taught to me currently in study. I did not find it to be biased, but can understand why others thought it to be. The film takes no prisoners, nor should it. People should be outraged by what has taken place. Corporate America was given the keys to the car via deregulation, and their greed ran it off the road. I dont know where America is headed, and I wouldnt dare guess. But if enough people watch this film and do their homework, then maybe we can avoid the mistakes of yesterday.

A Love Story

Documentary 2009 R 127 minutes. Filmmaker Michael Moore (Sicko, Fahrenheit 9/11) takes on capitalism’s roots, the floundering U.S. economy, and 2008’s global financial meltdown and subsequent bank bailout in this rousing documentary. Combining stories about those who suffer most from Corporate America’s greed and insatiable thirst for profits and the people most responsible for myriad crises, Moore embarks on another shocking fact-finding rampage.

Let’s Make Money

Documentary 2008 NR 1hr 47m Let’s Make Money is not about how to make money. This film traces money as it goes through the global finance system — exposing policies and practices affecting the worldwide economy. This film is about the billions, trillions of dollars that go to selfish human greed and not to basic human need. This shows the planetary marketplace from all perspectives: wealthy investors, business owners, bankers, laborers, activists, government officials, impoverished people — from all around the globe. See Full Review

The Last Mountain

Documentary 2011 PG 1hr 35m. This is a gripping documentary that follows ordinary citizens in West Virginia’s Coal River Valley as they wage a campaign to prevent the infamous Massey Energy Company from expanding ruinous mountaintop removal mining operations. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and the people of Coal River for show us that corporations have to be held accountable for their greed and belief that profits trump life. See Full Review


Documentary 2010 NR 107 minutes. In this Oscar-nominated documentary, director Josh Fox journeys across America to examine the negative effects of natural-gas drilling, from poisoned water sources to kitchen sinks that burst into flames to unhealthy animals and people. See Full Review

A Snowmobile for George

Documentary 2008 NR 1hr 34m. When former president Bush eased regulations that put a high-polluting snowmobile back on the road, filmmaker Todd Darling wanted to find out why. He and his family embarked on a cross-country journey that uncovered some surprising answers. This eye-opening documentary shines light on the often misunderstood subject of deregulation. Fortunately the doc is not entirely about snowmobiles. You will learn about the largest mass killing of salmon in what was once among the most healthy salmon populations; how a loophole in Wyoming’s land laws allow natural gas drilling without permission by land owners (smog in Wyoming is now worse than LA and water is undrinkable); little-known facts about the EPA’s deception following 9/11; and how George W. Bush’s political machine helped all this happen in the interest of votes and corporate profits. The Bush Administration really did deregulate all of the major industries that cause most of our planets pollution, which was done all in the name of profit & politics. It’s a sobering look at the collusion of industry, government and its regulatory bodies. Very instructive and well-made film on the immense perils of deregulation–the greatest of all the enormous sins of the Bush and the Obama administrations. For 13 years the mega-corporations have had it entirely their way, and there will be no way of stopping them until their advocates are voted out of Congress and the worst oligarchy-lovers on the Supreme Court are finally impeached. Despite the somber stories told by some of the subjects, the director avoids polarizing or preaching to his audience. The narrative is lighthearted and doesn’t attempt to rewire your political leanings in 90 minutes. Worth a watch. I really enjoyed watching this documentary. You will enjoy this movie, and you will want to share its stories with friends and family.

The End of the Line

Documentary 2009 PG 1hr 22m. Filmmaker Rupert Murray traverses the world exposing the devastating effects that overfishing with modern technology is having on fish stocks and exploring the real solutions to solve the crisis. the film’s point that overfishing 1) occurs, and 2) has dire repercussions. International fishing guidelines are regularly ignored by poachers and individual governments to astonishing degrees; in some cases, the suggested maximum catch is exceeded by tenfold or more. Overfishing can result in 1) ecological disasters, as when a species goes extinct or becomes endangered it can have consequences such as increase of algae or other such biological problems that wreak more havoc than one would imagine; and 2) significant loss of jobs, as if there are no fish to catch there are no fishermen to employ. See Full Review

The World According to Monsanto
(Le Monde Selon Monsanto)

Documentary 2008. Directed by Marie-Monique Robin. Originally released in French, the film is based on Robin’s three-year long investigation into the US agricultural giant Monsantocorporation’s practices around the world. The World According to Monsanto is also a book written by Marie-Monique Robin winner of the Rachel Carson Prize (a Norwegian prize for female environmentalists). See Full Review

Libby, Montana

Documentary 2005 NR 124 minutes. For nearly 30 years, residents of the quaint town of Libby, Mont., worked for the multinational corporation W.R. Grace, mining and processing an insulation product known as vermiculite. Little did they know, they were risking their lives. This compelling documentary follows the plight of these courageous Americans as they band together to lift one another up from throes of illness and take on the all-powerful corporation. WR Grace, a US multinational corporation, knowingly exposes a trusting community of workers and their families to asbestos for over 40 years, then shifts billions in assets to avoid liability. WR Grace corporation disregarded safety concerns that led to death and damage of a whole town. They then declared bankruptcy and left the bill to the government. Ronald Reagan placed Mr. Grace in charge of a federal position to trim the size of the government, thereby preventing anyone in power from actually taking action or easily ruling against Grace. The story of Libby, its residents and the workers of Grace Co. is moving, infuriating and a real indictment of the deregulation spree of the Reagan years, continued by Bush One, not helped much by Clinton, and taken to an obscene extreme by Bush Two. It is one more important documentation of the failure of Free-Market Gone Wild. An especially timely documentary when Republican and Tea Party stooges whine that corporations need weaker environmental laws. It’s a lesson in just how bad things get without strong government intervention. See Full Review

The Yes Men Fix the World

Documentary 2009 NR 87 minutes. Two didactic pranksters known as the Yes Men — Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno — employ monkey business to highlight the political and economic shenanigans surrounding ecological catastrophes like the 1984 Union Carbide Corporation disaster in India. They pose as spokesman for the Dow Corporation (which took over Union Carbide) and go on live TV apologizing for their role in the incident and pledging to fix the wrong. In this film, the Yes Men go after a collection of corporations who have injured the world in one way or another. They go into corporate meetings and conventions posing as heads of business to expose how greed and instant stock satisfaction destroys lives. They also pose as representatives of HUD at a meeting in New Orleans about destroying existing public housing after Hurricane Katrina. They also help put out a “special edition of the New York Times” featuring “All the News You Would Like Printed”. They also propose a new fuel after oil runs out. See Full Review

The Last Cigarette

Documentary 1999 NR 82 minutes. Featuring footage of the 1994 congressional hearings on tobacco and health, in which the CEOs of major cigarette makers and industry representatives defend their dangerous and addictive product. Interspersed with excerpts of the hearings, tobacco-related clips from TV, movies and commercials show the startling tactics used by tobacco companies to entice the public to smoke.  See Full Review

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