Deepwater Horizon is released; are real-life disaster movies manipulative?
Today, the movie Deepwater Horizon hits theaters. The film is based on the real-life events surrounding the BP oil disaster of 2010, which occurred in the Gulf of Mexico. As the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and sank, 210 million US gallons of oil gushed into the water over 87 days. Marine life died at an unprecedented rate, and 11 people disappeared. BP was ruled to blame, and had to pay $18.7 billion in fines, which is the largest corporate settlement in American history.
Hollywood has chosen to cash in on the human interest element of this incident by making a film of it, starring Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, and Kate Hudson. It is more specifically themed on the New York Times’s coverage of the disaster, and focusses on the heroism of the rig crew rather than the environmental effect.
This isn’t the first time the film industry has dramatized an example of extreme real-life suffering. Here are some of the biggest disaster movies based on true events.
The Impossible is a 2012 movie based on the events of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. The earthquake triggered a whole series of tsunamis which devastated the coasts of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, the Maldives, Somalia, and Malaysia. Around 230,000 people were killed.
The movie is based specifically on the story of Maria Belon’s family. It was well-received, but the largest criticism was that the main characters – played by Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, and Tom Holland – had been ‘whitewashed’ when the family involved was Spanish. The movie was in fact Spanish-made, and director Juan Antonio Bayona allegedly chose not to specify nationalities to make the film ‘universal’. Regardless, the film earned over $180 million at the box office.
The Perfect Storm
Released in 2000, many may not know that while The Perfect Storm is based on a book of the same name, the book is non-fiction. Andrea Gail was a commercial fishing vessel lost at sea with all six crewmembers during the 1991 Perfect Storm, and barely any evidence of the disappearance was recovered.
While the film was well-received as a piece of drama, it was criticized both for using some real names of the people involved, and also for portraying the crew as making a conscious decision to sail into a storm which they knew would be dangerous. In reality, the boat was already three days into its journey before the storm happened, and the damage would have occurred very swiftly. The film achieved $328.7 million at the box office.
The 1993 movie Alive was also based on a book – Alive: The Story of The Andes Survivor – which details the story of a Uruguayan rugby team involved in a plane crash in 1972. 16 of the 45 passengers survived, thanks to rations found in the plane’s wreckage, but due to the fact that the rescue team ceased searching and the survivors’ isolation was extended, they were forced to eat the dead.
The film was described by many critics as surprisingly tactful considering the sensational content, but was also a little too heavily sugar-coated. Some also criticized the fact that the characters looked perfectly healthy even when they were supposed to have been starving for two months. The film made a modest $36.7 million.
No true-life disaster movie list would be complete without Titanic. The 1997 epic is based on the events surrounding the sinking of the RMS Titanic after it struck an iceberg during its maiden voyage. The vessel had previously been dubbed ‘The Unsinkable Ship’, but serious design flaws meant that over 1,500 lives were lost in the incident. Due to the panic surrounding the sinking, many lifeboats carrying crew members, women, and children were launched partially-loaded, with a disproportionate number of men left behind. The wreckage of the Titanic, which remains on the seabed of the North Atlantic Ocean, has provided a vast wealth of artefacts salvaged for museums.
The James Cameron movie centers around the romantic relationship between two characters of vastly differing classes, and the barriers involved with that. The representation of the sinking itself met with huge acclaim, and the movie remained the highest-grossing film of all time for 12 years, until Avatar (created the same director) overtook it. The movie earned $2.187 billion at the box office.
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Giving efficiency the full throttle at NASCAR
The NASCAR organization has long been synonymous with speed, agility and innovation. And so by extension, partnerships at NASCAR hold a similar reputation. One such partner for the organization has been CDW – a leading multi-brand provider of information technology solutions to businesses, government, education and healthcare customers in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. CDW provides a broad array of products and services ranging from hardware and software to integrated IT solutions such as security cloud hybrid infrastructure and digital experience. Customer need is the driving force at CDW, and the company helps clients by delivering integrated services solutions that maximize their technology investment. So how does CDW help their customers achieve their business goals? Troy Okerberg, Field Sales Manager - North Florida at CDW adds “We strive to provide our customers with full stack expertise, helping them design, orchestrate and manage technologies that drive their business outcomes.”
NASCAR acquired International Speedway Corporation (ISC) in 2019, merging its operations into one, new company moving forward. The merger represents an important step forward for NASCAR as the sport creates a unified vision to embrace its long history of exciting, family-oriented racing experiences while developing strategic growth initiatives that will drive the passion of core fans and attract the next generation of race fans. CDW has been instrumental in bringing the two technology environments together to enable collaboration and efficiency as one organization. Starting with a comprehensive analysis of all of NASCAR’s vendors, CDW created a uniform data platform for the data center environment across the NASCAR-ISC organization. The IT partner has also successfully merged the two native infrastructure systems together, while analyzing, consulting and providing an opportunity to merge Microsoft software licenses as well.
2020 turned into a tactical year for both organizations with the onset of the pandemic and CDW has had to react quickly to the changing scenario. Most of the initial change included building efficiencies around logistics, like equipment needing to be delivered into the hands of end users who switched to a virtual working environment almost overnight. CDW’s distribution team worked tirelessly to ensure that all customers could still access the products that they were purchasing and needed for their organizations throughout the COVID timeframe. Okerberg adds that today, CDW continues to optimize their offering by hyper-localizing resources as well as providing need-based support based on the size and complexity of their accounts. Although CDW still operates remotely, the company commits to adapting to the changing needs of their clients, NASCAR in particular. Apart from the challenges that COVID-19 brought to the organization, another task that CDW had been handed was to identify gaps and duplicates in vendor agreements that the two former single-entity organizations had in place and align them based on services offered. CDW further helps identify and provide the best solution from a consolidation standpoint of both hardware and software clients so that the new merged organization is equipped with the best of what the industry has to offer.