Dr. Bronner's Magic Soapbox Directed by Sara Lamm
In measuring the viability of a political hypothesis not amenable to formulaic proof, durability, by default, serves as an alternate metric. But when one considers the myriad opposing theories that continue to flourish, the test of time proves a faulty, if not specious litmus. Hence the only arbiter becomes demonstrative success. By these criteria, the late and virtually unknown Dr. Bonner would have to rate among the most insightful thinkers of all time.
Dr. Bronner, a self-made philosopher and scientist, promoted his theories through an organic soap, that according to testimonials in this film, can be used for just about anything from bathing and brushing the teeth to an enema solution additive. This natural product, claims to be invigorating as well as cleansing, serves as a model for the Moral ABCs, a lengthy disquisition on living spelled out on every label. The Bronner Company, started in the 1940s, still walks its talk.
The documentary, Dr. Bronner's Magic Soapbox introduces you to the world created by a free thinker and sustained by his progeny. The essence of this creed is an ecumenical and egalitarian philosophy underpinned by his code for living and what he calls constructive capitalism.
Bronner's top executive makes no more than five times that of the lowest paid full time worker, with company wide yearly bonuses from $10,000 to $30,000. The company gives away 70 percent of its profits.
While the documentary is a bit long, it, nonetheless, rewards with an inspiring and curious story, set apart by the certification of its uplifting political and economic message.
Opens 8/17 at the Grand Illusion
King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters Directed by Seth Gordon
Steve Wiebe, the central character in the documentary King of Kong epitomizes "good guy." That he would crowd in line, litter, or flip off any but the most offensive driver is inconceivable. When the powers that be put the screws to him, he responds with good old tenacity and a smile. As noble as this stance may be, at times it leaves him sucking on the hind tit.
Fired from his job at Boeing, he somehow ends up with a full sized model of Donkey Kong. Looking online, he discovers that this arcade game has an official high score and he sets out to beat it. He succeeds, recording the event on videotape. Then as in an episode of the Twilight Zone, he is transported into another world, a small pond if you will, where there's one too many big fish.
Two men arrive unannounced at his house, persuading Steve's mother-in-law, at his house babysitting, to allow them to enter. They dismantle and examine the circuitry of the machine on which he registered the score and examine other materials in the garage. On the basis of this investigation, Steve's score is disallowed.
Although Steve is upset about the intrusion, he maintains his upright manner, even through additional impediments that follow. Twice traveling back east, this now science teacher sets to right the wrong and finally gain some needed closure. As King of Kong heads toward a climax, the story, unbound by the codes of fictive story telling, could end up just about anywhere, which makes for a suspenseful and fun offering.
Opens 8/17 at the Varsity