Movies at Home

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Re: Movies at Home

Post  Matinee on Mon Dec 16, 2013 10:29 pm

Watching the documentary Blackfish. This docu is wrenching - the footage of the capture of baby whales alone had me weeping, as well as several other points.

Very interesting analysis from a learning principles perspective of what happened in the session that ended in Dawn Brancheau's death (don't worry, the death is not shown) suggesting there was a build-up of frustration in Tilkum due to him missing cues and there being declining reinforcers (due to low amounts left).  

Disgusting how Seaworld tried to blame it all on her ponytail rather than their policies and practices.

And to the "was it aggression versus play" issue - in the end, with such a size differential, it really does not make a difference. Some incidents they relate were clear accidents but there's no room for error. And any argument that the whales are happy and normal... well, pretty hard to defend...

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Re: Movies at Home

Post  inversed on Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:00 am

I hope more people see that movie. I haven't, because I know I would just cry through the whole thing. I went to Sea World once when I was a teenager and it upset me so much.

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Re: Movies at Home

Post  biakbiak on Tue Dec 17, 2013 2:38 pm

A number of musical acts have cancelled their performances because of the documentary.
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Re: Movies at Home

Post  Coneycat on Tue Dec 17, 2013 4:15 pm

Carl Hiassen expresses himself on the movie, and captive orcas/

I've been to such parks a couple of times, but a few yeas ago it occurred to me that, to an orca, life in a tank has to be a lot like putting my horse in her stall and never taking her out--or locking me in a bathroom for the rest of my life.

Edited to add: Article about Tlikum, written shortly after Brancheau's death. The last couple of paragraphs are heartbreaking.

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Re: Movies at Home

Post  blixie on Tue Dec 17, 2013 6:11 pm

It's not just Sea World either, shortly after having my awareness raised on the idea of sea mammal captivity (along with animals/Zoo's in general) I visited Shed's Aquarium in the early 90's when it had three beautiful Beluga whales, but in attempt to cater to the "Sea World" crowd was putting them through the same type of entertainment/show/trick paces. It felt SO WRONG and especially out of place in what I felt was meant to be a more educational and humane environment, 2 of the three died not a week later from the stress.

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Re: Movies at Home

Post  Matinee on Wed Dec 18, 2013 2:47 am

blixie wrote:It's not just Sea World either, shortly after having my awareness raised on the idea of sea mammal captivity (along with animals/Zoo's in general) I visited Shed's Aquarium in the early 90's when it had three beautiful Beluga whales, but in attempt to cater to the "Sea World" crowd was putting them through the same type of entertainment/show/trick paces. It felt SO WRONG and especially out of place in what I felt was meant to be a more educational and humane environment, 2 of the three died not a week later from the stress.  

MarineLand in Ontario is disgusting - constantly disappearing (dead) baby orcas, sadistic owner, bad conditions for animals and workers. I'm not anti-captivity exactly, but I don't think it can be made workable for some species - and cetaceans in tanks is something that has long bothered me. The acoustical issues and abnormality of the social situation alone are troubling.

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Re: Movies at Home

Post  gannetguts on Wed Dec 18, 2013 8:53 am

I watched the movie and read the book and was just broken-hearted. I had to pause a few times to take it all in. Seaworld (and, honestly, a lot of zoos, etc in general) hasn't sat right with me for such a long time now and watching and reading both on the subject has made me more adamantly opposed against wild animals in captivity. Those tanks, I just could not get over the size of them compared to the size of the animal. The comparison between the wild orcas and the captive ones. It's infurating and upsetting.

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Re: Movies at Home

Post  mokey75 on Wed Dec 18, 2013 11:12 am

I hate any sort of zoo/aquarium - they just make me so sad. My husband used to work at the New England Aquarium, where they have this gigantic circular tank, and a lot of the sharks had scoliosis as a result of it.
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Re: Movies at Home

Post  Coneycat on Wed Dec 18, 2013 11:25 am

When the alternative is extinction--and it too often is--I will take a thoughtfully-planned, well-run zoo all day long, providing an acceptable habitat can be provided. For a killer whale, a concrete bathtub with isolation or a desperately abnormal social structure and practically no stimulation aside from learning silly tricks is emphatically not an acceptable habitat, and it's time the practice comes to an end.

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Re: Movies at Home

Post  vwlphb on Wed Dec 18, 2013 3:23 pm

I just saw Blackfish last night. I had to pause it a few times to get through it, and there were a few clips where I had to cover my eyes because I couldn't stand the tension of waiting to see the attacks or accidents.

This has solidified my decision never to go to another Sea World park, but to be honest I had already made that choice after visiting a Sea World park for the first time that I can remember, a couple years ago. It was awful. I think it was made that much worse by the fact that I had been at Disney's Animal Kingdom the day before, which still has a show and animals on display but emphasizes natural behaviors. To go from that to "Watch me use two dolphins as water skis" in a 'chlorine blue' pool was jarring. And the Shamu show was just creepy. It was like being at a cult rally, with people chanting Shamu and making some sort of hand gesture.

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Re: Movies at Home

Post  blixie on Wed Dec 18, 2013 5:23 pm

When the alternative is extinction--and it too often is--I will take a thoughtfully-planned, well-run zoo all day long, providing an acceptable habitat can be provided.

Oh definitely, it's just that most municipal zoos don't fall into that category, San Diego of course and Toronto's are quite nice, and try to give most of the animals a great habitat, and for some reason with sea mammals, "the ocean" is like the biggest habitat on earth so to be limited to a tank or even a really BIG NICE tank is not gonna cut it and feels particularly cruel.

OTOH, my favorite zoo exhibits are the reptile/snake houses. I can't imagine the snakes are really bummed out as long as they have a hot lamp, a stick, some sand, and regular food.

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Re: Movies at Home

Post  Coneycat on Wed Dec 18, 2013 5:28 pm

blixie wrote:
When the alternative is extinction--and it too often is--I will take a thoughtfully-planned, well-run zoo all day long, providing an acceptable habitat can be provided.

my favorite zoo exhibits are the reptile/snake houses. I can't imagine the snakes are really bummed out as long as they have a hot lamp, a stick, some sand, and regular food.

My favourite exhibit at the Vancouver Aquarium was the wolf eels--they seemed happy with a nice underwater stump to wrap themselves around, and each other to snuggle. Cutest ugly animals ever.


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Re: Movies at Home

Post  Matinee on Thu Dec 19, 2013 12:44 am

blixie wrote:
When the alternative is extinction--and it too often is--I will take a thoughtfully-planned, well-run zoo all day long, providing an acceptable habitat can be provided.

Oh definitely, it's just that most municipal zoos don't fall into that category, San Diego of course and Toronto's are quite nice, and try to give most of the animals a great habitat, and for some reason with sea mammals, "the ocean" is like the biggest habitat on earth so to be limited to a tank or even a really BIG NICE tank is not gonna cut it and feels particularly cruel.

OTOH, my favorite zoo exhibits are the reptile/snake houses. I can't imagine the snakes are really bummed out as long as they have a hot lamp, a stick, some sand, and regular food.

Exactly. I study fish and have little problem with several marine species being housed in well-thought-out aquaria - basically species for which despite living in the large ocean, they actually use very little habitat (like Coneycat's eels). Well-run zoos also don't bother me provided they have enrichment and the correct social structure - for example, the lions in a good zoo typically show little stereotypy or stress. But the far-roamers (elephants, cetaceans, polar bears etc) often live not only in abnormally small enclosures given their usage (and show evidence of issues for it), but are also too often forced into cruel social circumstances. The fact that the subtypes of orca are still treated interchangeably is insane. Husband and I were discussing how sad it was that some of these animals probably are really bonded with the trainers and "enjoy" the interaction - because interaction with a terrestrial biped, abnormal as that is, is the only social interaction they get.

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Re: Movies at Home

Post  Coneycat on Thu Dec 19, 2013 9:23 am

Matinee wrote:Husband and I were discussing how sad it was that some of these animals probably are really bonded with the trainers and "enjoy" the interaction - because interaction with a terrestrial biped, abnormal as that is, is the only social interaction they get.

I had the same thought: the silly tricks are probably the only enrichment activities they get, and most of their socialization. Which is just incredibly sad.

Blackfish is available in my local public library system but all the copies are checked out. I think I'll place a hold after Christmas, because I do want to see the whole thing. Although I may join those who sometimes had to pause for deep breathing or avert their eyes.


Last edited by Coneycat on Thu Dec 19, 2013 12:49 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Movies at Home

Post  blixie on Thu Dec 19, 2013 12:15 pm

Husband and I were discussing how sad it was that some of these animals probably are really bonded with the trainers and "enjoy" the interaction - because interaction with a terrestrial biped, abnormal as that is, is the only social interaction they get.

I also wondered if this is why some of the trainers who are otherwise uncomfortable with the whole situation stick it out at Sea World (I mean other than they need the money/job). Like they are the only advocates for the animals at all, within the organization. I supposed I'd know the answer if I just watched Blackfish but I know it will make me all sad/angsty.

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Re: Movies at Home

Post  xyzzy on Fri Dec 20, 2013 12:58 am

I can't watch Blackfish. I admire the work a lot of zoos do to further animal research and conservation, but I'd really prefer that all zoo and water park animals be rescues and/or part of a conservation program. I'm particularly upset by the captivity of the more intelligent animals--orca, dolphins, squid, octopus, cuttlefish, elephants, primates, etc. I'd like there to be a moratorium put on all new orca and dolphin capture. The way they rip these baby and young adult creatures away from their pods to put them in bathtubs is despicable and so traumatic for the animal. Dolphins and orca aren't cute--they're smart, rapey, work together, and can be brutal. (They evolved from a land predator, the Mesonyx, an animal that resembled a wolf but is unrelated to canids.) They belong in the ocean.
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Re: Movies at Home

Post  naughty zoot on Sat Dec 21, 2013 11:46 pm

Paul Williams Still Alive is such a flipping mess. He's a fascinating subject with a truly interesting story to tell. Unfortunately the director, Steve Kessler, is a complete asshat who keeps putting himself in the film and interrupting stories and being an all-around jerk. I'm amazed Williams tolerated him as well as he did. I'd love to see the film this could have been.
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Re: Movies at Home

Post  whatthedeuce on Sun Dec 22, 2013 5:27 pm

I've only ever seen bits and pieces of Big until today, and now that I'm seeing it all, I don't actually like it much. Does that make me a bad person? It seems universally adored so it feels odd admitting I'm not into it. The one thing I've always remembered and been stunned by since I saw the scene as a kid though is Susan sleeping with Josh, which is so gross and wrong. How can that not be creepy when the audience knows he's a kid? CNN.com just did a piece on the movie yesterday though and apparently Josh turns 13 so he's a man under Judaic law, which is supposed to undercut the creepiness, but...no. Not really.

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Re: Movies at Home

Post  bloomtoperish on Sun Dec 22, 2013 10:21 pm

blixie wrote:
Husband and I were discussing how sad it was that some of these animals probably are really bonded with the trainers and "enjoy" the interaction - because interaction with a terrestrial biped, abnormal as that is, is the only social interaction they get.

I also wondered if this is why some of the trainers who are otherwise uncomfortable with the whole situation stick it out at Sea World (I mean other than they need the money/job). Like they are the only advocates for the animals at all, within the organization. I supposed I'd know the answer if I just watched Blackfish but I know it will make me all sad/angsty.

A couple of the former trainers interviewed in the film basically say as much. Basically, they would have left but they were worried about who would take care of the whales after they were gone.

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Re: Movies at Home

Post  Putli Bai on Sun Dec 22, 2013 11:17 pm

whatthedeuce wrote:I've only ever seen bits and pieces of Big until today, and now that I'm seeing it all, I don't actually like it much. Does that make me a bad person? It seems universally adored so it feels odd admitting I'm not into it. The one thing I've always remembered and been stunned by since I saw the scene as a kid though is Susan sleeping with Josh, which is so gross and wrong. How can that not be creepy when the audience knows he's a kid? CNN.com just did a piece on the movie yesterday though and apparently Josh turns 13 so he's a man under Judaic law, which is supposed to undercut the creepiness, but...no. Not really.

Whoa, whoa, what?? I've seen Big several times, and I don't remember them sleeping together? She sleeps over, but it's on bunkbeds, right?
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Re: Movies at Home

Post  Cynara on Sun Dec 22, 2013 11:50 pm

I just watched Seeking a Friend For The End of The World and I loved it! I thought it was the perfect combination of sweet and sad. I really love Steve Carell and even though Keira Knightley was a textbook Manic Pixie Dream Girl I loved her character anyway.

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Re: Movies at Home

Post  whatthedeuce on Mon Dec 23, 2013 12:21 am

Putli Bai wrote:Whoa, whoa, what??  I've seen Big several times, and I don't remember them sleeping together?  She sleeps over, but it's on bunkbeds, right?
You're talking about when they return fromthe office party, sex is implied after they return to her place following their boardwalk date. She takes off her blouse, and they kiss as Josh feels her up, and the next day, Josh is all happy at the office. It's so icky.

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Re: Movies at Home

Post  Putli Bai on Mon Dec 23, 2013 5:12 pm

whatthedeuce wrote:
Putli Bai wrote:Whoa, whoa, what??  I've seen Big several times, and I don't remember them sleeping together?  She sleeps over, but it's on bunkbeds, right?
You're talking about when they return fromthe office party, sex is implied after they return to her place following their boardwalk date. She takes off her blouse, and they kiss as Josh feels her up, and the next day, Josh is all happy at the office. It's so icky.

Great, just great. Now I can't unknow that. *full body shudder*

Now you're probably gonna tell me that Santa isn't real and Han shot first.
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Re: Movies at Home

Post  whatthedeuce on Mon Dec 23, 2013 6:07 pm

I'm surprised more people don't take issue with that particular aspect of the movie. I know it's considered a classic by many, but come on now, that relationship is just all sorts of wrong.

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Re: Movies at Home

Post  mrinsouciance on Mon Dec 23, 2013 6:43 pm

I remember watching it in the theater when it first came out and being totally distracted by how hot I thought Elizabeth Perkins was. Subtleties such as this passed me by, I fear.

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