7 Documentaries You Should Have On Your Bucket List To Wat

7 Documentaries You Should Have On Your Bucket List To Wat

Here's what to watch for your next Netflix binge.

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Knowledge is power and there are thousands of sources available to us nowadays. One of my personal favorite ways to learn is to watch videos, movies, documentaries, etc. Documentaries, especially, are a powerful way to bring a message to life. The following are a list of informational documentaries meant to raise awareness and educate.

Besides "The Internet's Own Boy," all of the following are available on Netflix.

1. "Killswitch," directed by Ali Akbarzadeh

A documentary detailing the lives of hackers Edward Snowden and Aaron Swartz and their contribution to a revolutionary movement. Insightful and informational, this film pushes the boundaries of accessibility and transparency. It features many important figures including Lawrence Lessig, Tim Wu, and Peter Ludlow.

2. "The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz," directed by Brian Knappenberger

This film moves through the life of the late Aaron Swartz, documenting his passion and fight for open access to the Internet. With commentary from his friends and family, the movie goes into detail about the legal issues Swartz faced and the effects it had on him that led to his death.

3. "The Square," directed by Jehane Noujaim

"The Square" goes into the streets of Egypt to tell the story of several citizens fighting for the country in the 2011 Egypt Revolution. The doc spans several years and allows the viewer to see the rise and fall of the Egyptian government and the massive influence of the people working for freedom.

4. "The Propaganda Game," directed by Álvaro Longoria

This film depicts the inner workings of North Korea. It offers a small glimpse into the global power government, its citizens and much more than we have had access to before.

5. "Inside the World's Toughest Prisons"

This three-season series explores conditions in prisons around the world, including Poland, Mexico, and the Philippines. Paul Connolly experiences first hand what it is like to survive in various institutions of varying intensity and risk, along with heart-wrenching and terrifying stories from the prisoners themselves.

6. ​"Inside Russia's Toughest Prison"

In the same vein, this documentary gives the viewer the rare opportunity to see the inside of three of Russia's most guarded institutions.

7. "13th," directed by Ava DuVernay

Nominated for an Academy Award, this documentary discusses the prison systems in the United States and the mounting pressures against African Americans as a result of racism and criminalization. It features powerful figures such as Angela Davis, Cory Booker, and several former prisoners.

These are only a few suggestions and there is a multitude of other documentaries available across several platforms. Allow these documentaries to grip you, inspire you, and offer you a new perspective.


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If You Remember 'Shazaam,' The Movie That Doesn't Exist, You Aren't Alone

A scientific phenomenon or a massive conspiracy?
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Anyone who has ever misplaced an item or gotten in a feud about what really happened at the last party they attended can affirm that sometimes our memories can be unreliable. Misremembering an event is by no means unheard of or uncommon, but what if it was not just you who misremembered that event. What if a whole bunch of people misremembered the same exact thing even if there is no evidence to support it?

If you were a kid or teenager growing up in the '90s, you might remember a movie called ‘Shazaam’ with popular television comedian Sinbad playing the principle role of a genie. As the plot goes, two children (a pre-teen boy and his younger sister) find a genie in a lamp and decide to use their wishes to restore love to their single father’s life. It is a comedic tale involving the genie and children who use their three wishes for domestic activities, often failing comically. The culmination of the movie takes place at a pool party related to the father’s work in which the children successfully use their final wish to make their father happy. What a marvelously cheesy ending!

Some of you reading this might be nodding, recalling having watched this movie, and you are not alone. There is a large community of people who can remember quite vividly watching this movie with their friends and family. So what seems to be the problem? Well, the movie ‘Shazaam’ does not exist, and it never has. The rumor of its existence has gained so much traction that even Sinbad himself had to set the record straight on Twitter.

You can scramble the Internet and old video stores nationwide, but you will not find any proof that there ever was a movie named ‘Shazaam’ with Sinbad playing a genie. If you are at all dismayed by this fact, you are not the only one.

An ever-growing number of confused '90s kids have flocked to the Internet to adamantly insist that there was indeed a movie called ‘Shazam,’ and Sinbad was definitely in it. Just peruse the countless threads about it online, and you will find that there are hundreds of people who can provide their own accounts of having seen the movie. Most people agree that the movie was released in 1994 and concur with the supposed movie plot described above.

How is it that so many different people can all recall specific details of a movie that does not exist? The ‘Shazaam’ case has come to be known as a famous example of the "Mandela Effect," a term coined by author and researcher of the paranormal, Fiona Broome, creator of mandelaeffect.com, which is defined as “a collective misremembering of a fact or event."

The name “Mandela Effect” came from the most famous case of the Mandela Effect involving the shocking amount of people who believe that former South African President Nelson Mandela died while in prison, when the truth holds that he was released in 1990 and died in 2013.

Another famous example of the Mandela Effect is the common misremembering of the Bible verse Isaiah 11:6. A large amount of people, including many priests who were interviewed, will swear that the verse reads “The lion also shall dwell with the lamb...” but pull out your trusty Bible and the correct verse is “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb.” This verse discrepancy makes many Christians uneasy because the protective image of a lion is replaced with the crafty and destructive image of a wolf. Some even believe that the verse change is a sign of the existence of the antichrist.

There is even scene in the 1941 movie ‘Sergeant York’ in which the character Gracie walks past an old man in a rocking chair who recites the Bible verse using the lion, which has many people firmly insisting that the correct version includes a lion, but that something in recent history has caused it to be changed.

Some examples of smaller instances of the Mandela Effect are the common misrememberings of the name of the classic animated TV show, “Berenstain Bears” (most people remember it as “Berenstein Bears”), the existence of a dash in the brand name “KitKat” (there has never been one), and other misspellings of logos.

Many conspirators believe that the Mandela Effect is the result of a jump between parallel universes in which slightly different alternate realities exist, but Snopes.com, a famous reference website dedicated to documenting and debunking urban legends, has offered some more logical explanations for instances of the Mandela Effect.

“A leading psychological theory holds that memory is constructive, not reproductive,” Snopes says, “— i.e., the brain builds memories out of various bits and pieces of information on the fly as opposed to playing them back like a recording. Memories aren’t pure. They can be distorted by any number of factors, including bias, association, imagination, and peer pressure.”

For example, the common misconception that Nelson Mandela died in prison might be a case of a faulty connection of two isolated facts —(1) Nelson Mandela went to prison and (2) Nelson Mandela is dead. Or with the Berenstain Bears, it is quite rational to believe that people just assumed that the name was spelled “Berenstein” because that is a far more common spelling of the name.

So what about ‘Shazaam’? A reasonable explanation is that people are simply mistaking it with the 1996 movie ‘Kazaam’ in which Shaquille O’Neal plays a genie and helps a teenage boy who happens to have a single mother (similar to how the children in the alleged ‘Shazaam’ had a single father).

Additionally, other shows and movies at the time could further muddle people’s memories. There was a movie called ‘Legend of the Seven Seas’ with a character named Sinbad the Sailor and a Hannah Barbera cartoon called ‘Shazzan’ about the adventures of a genie and the two children (a teenaged boy and girl) who released him.

There was even a sketch in the wildly popular Nickelodeon show “All That” about a foreign exchange student dressed in genie-esque garb, and who was the actor? You guessed it...Sinbad! It seems perfectly reasonable that all of these similar media products could easily mix together after a certain amount of time, causing mis-memory that has been perpetuated by all of the hype on the Internet.

Another explanation that can be layered on top is the idea of 'memory conformity,' which states that people can remember events that they were told about or that were described to them as if they had experienced those events. In this way, many people may agree that they remember something that happened simply because someone else said it was so.

Pictured: The VHS cover for 'Kazaam' (left) next to a supposed VHS cover for 'Shazzam'


This may be a perfectly acceptable and scientifically logical explanation for the strange occurrence, but the plot thickens. When the theory was presented that people were simply mistaking the movie ‘Shazaam’ for ‘Kazaam’ and the like, the people who claimed to remember ‘Shazaam’ pushed back, vehemently claiming that they were well aware of Shaq’s movie ‘Kazaam’ and were certain that ‘Shazaam’ was a separate movie that preceded it. One woman named Meredith who was interviewed on the subject claimed:

“I remember thinking Shaq’s ‘Kazaam’ was a rip-off or a revamp of a failed first run, like how the 1991 film ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ bombed but the late ’90s TV reboot was a sensation...I am one of several people who specifically never saw ‘Kazaam’ because it looked ridiculous to rip off ‘Shazaam’ just a few years after it had been released.

Additionally, there was a reference to 'Shazaam’ on a TV show called ‘A Different World’ (1987-1993) in which Sinbad played Coach Walker Oates. In this scene (appearing in season 5 episode 13) the character Freddie is trying to hide a scarf with the initials “SZ” on it that she is making for her boyfriend, Shazza Zulu, from her friends, but when they discover it and ask what “SZ” stands for, she responds that it “could be for someone who loves Shazaam.”

So do you think the Sinbad movie is real or an urban legend?

Cover Image Credit: Slate.com

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5 Marvel Team-Ups Waiting To Happen In Phase 4

Character interactions may be irrelevant in other films, but in Marvel, they're everything.

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The Marvel Universe is a huge smorgasbord of heroes, villains, aliens, monsters, and spies. One of the main reasons Marvel Studios remains successful to this day is the connectivity of the universe.

Like the comics, all of the superheroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe operate in the same world and occasionally team up. Through the first three phases of the MCU, audiences have seen characters that would never get along interact with each other, and that needs to continue.

As Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor exit, new heroes and villains will be introduced and thus create opportunities for even more fun team-ups.

5. Spider-Man and Shuri

What's better than seeing two genius superheroes share the same screen together? Two genius teenage superheroes who are evenly matched in the quips they throw at people. After Tony Stark's departure, Peter Parker may be in need of a new wealthy benefactor, and while it would fit for someone like Black Panther to fit that role, Panther's younger sister, Shuri, would be even better.

Shuri, like Peter, has an Einstein-level genius for someone her age, but she is still not a mature adult. Not only does Shuri have the resources to give Spider-Man new suits and upgrades, it gives Spidey an outlet to share superhero experiences with a fellow hero his own age bracket whereas the majority of MCU heroes are comprised of adults.

Shuri popping into Peter's school for a "Ted Talks"-styled lecture on Vibranium would be a logical introduction for her to make a great first impression on Peter and his classmates. Midtown High is a science school after all.

4. Doctor Strange and Scarlet Witch

When it comes to magic in the MCU, Doctor Strange and Scarlet Witch are the figureheads of that department. It would be odd not to have arguably two of the most powerful characters in the Marvel Universe ever sharing a scene together.

Scarlet Witch is a character that has made a huge impact in the comics, and aside from starting the MCU Civil War, she has been more of a supporting character in the films. As evidenced from "Civil War" and "Infinity War", Scarlet Witch is still learning to control her mystic powers, and who better to teach her how to hone her powers than the "Master of the Mystic Arts" himself.

Doctor Strange has experience with all kinds of magic and sorcery, and it could give us an opportunity to see Doctor Strange become more integrated into the wider superhero community as much as he tries to stay to himself.

3. Black Widow and Winter Soldier

Black Widow and Bucky Barnes a.k.a. The Winter Soldier have one of the most complicated relationships in the comics that is not straightforward romantic or colorful. It is just as volatile and mysterious as their characters. The two master assassins were on opposing sides in "The Winter Soldier" and most of "Civil War", but it was hinted in the earlier film that they have a fairly violent past history.

Now, fans could be left to fill in the blanks themselves, but the history that could be explored in flashbacks or even present adventures seems too enticing of an idea for Marvel to pass up. There is still plenty of ground to be covered between both Widow and Barnes, seeing as they fought together in "Infinity War" but did not have time to converse with the world ending situation at hand.A

"Black Widow" film is in development for a 2020 release, and the Winter Soldier himself, actor Sebastian Stan, has made it known that he would love to appear in the film, so there is definitely potential for this relationship to be explored further.

2. Spider-Man and Wolverine

Spider-Man is on the list again, but Spidey, especially Tom Holland's version, is such a dynamic character that he can share the screen with almost anyone and make it entertaining. Hugh Jackman truly defined the role of Wolverine on screen for years, but the mutant with the adamantium skeleton will likely be recast along with the rest of the X-Men once introduced into the MCU.

Wolverine will have the chance to interact with the wider Marvel universe for the first time once the Disney-Fox merger is finalized. In a way, Spider-Man and Wolverine are complete pendulum swings from each other, but that is why it is such a great dynamic in the comics.

Spider-Man is the young and quippy science nerd who wants to do good without having to resort to murder, while Wolverine is the extremely aggressive rage machine who wants to murder everything that could be a threat. Under the surface, though, both Peter and Logan are loners at heart who have both gone through a series of tremendous loss and do not really know how to operate on a team.

A big departure from the near father son Tony Stark / Peter Parker relationship, but a relationship that would be a lot of fun to see play out.

1. The Sinister Six

Who has ever said team-ups were exclusive to the heroes? One of the most famous teams in Marvel are the "Sinister Six", comprised of six of Spider-Man's most dangerous villains. The MCU has already introduced audiences to Michael Keaton's Vulture, Bokeem Woodbine's Shocker, and Michael Mando's Mac Gargan a.k.a. The Scorpion, all members of the Sinister Six in the comics.

This summer will introduce two other members of the six with Jake Gyllenhaal's Mysterio and Numan Acar as The Chameleon, making the chances of an on-screen version that much greater. It's the opposite to the Avengers dynamic; they are villains already established from previous other films and coming together for a common goal: destroying the spider.

The comics would usually play out as, not only will Spider-Man have his hands full with high school graduation, but six of his villains as well. A Sinister Six vs. Spider-Man film would be instant money in the bank for Disney and Sony.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a big place that is only going to get bigger following the release of "Avengers Endgame". Even though crossovers and team-ups are not necessary to make a good film, it is always fun for the audiences and fans to see characters they grow to love to interact with other favorites and build relationships.

The comics have been doing it for decades, so it is only natural the films follow it as well. It makes the universe actually feel lived in as opposed to its own separate corner.

In a world as big as Marvel, everyone is bound to run into each other at some point.

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