21st Century Wire
The documentary film ‘Soaked In Bleach‘ has caused quite a stir since its release…
The feature film Soaked In Bleach (SIB) is a critical look at the events surrounding the death of the iconic musician Kurt Cobain. The film presents analysis from notable forensic experts, dramatic re-enactments of actual events, archival footage, as well as revealing real-life audio recordings in the days before and after the untimely end of the Nirvana star.
During SIB, we learn of Cobain case history ‘through the eyes’ of private investigator Tom Grant, a former L.A. County Sheriff’s detective and veteran private investigator with intimate knowledge of the investigation, as he was hired to track down Cobain several days prior to the influential musician’s body being discovered. The film revisits critical forensic elements found in the aftermath of Cobain’s death with distinquished field experts.
Over the past week there’s been a wave of controversy surrounding SIB, as the legal team representing Courtney Love (Dongell Lawrence Finney) sent out a cease-and-desist order to many theaters showing the documentary.
According to an exclusive report from the Hollywood news outlet Deadline, Love’s current legal team issued a letter claiming that any theater showing SIB could be at risk of legal action.
The letter was promptly sent out to theaters prior to the film’s theatrical release – with little to no impact across the country, as most theater owners disregarded the notice.
In fact, SIB’s release date and promotion went ahead as planned, as most of the film’s screenings went off without a hitch, with reports of only one theater caving under the pressure from Love’s attorneys.
Interestingly, the statement from Love’s legal firm seems to have overlooked a landmark Supreme Court ruling that protects the film industry and its rights. The following is an excerpt from Lehigh University, a school noted for its efforts to preserve free speech rights:
“In 1951, a decision by New York’s censorship board to ban an Italian film led to a landmark Supreme Court case that struck down almost every governmental justification for censorship. “The Miracle,” directed by Roberto Rossellini, was condemned by the Catholic Church as “sacrilegious and blasphemous,” and the New York State Board of Regents voted to revoke the distributor’s license to show the film.”
“The distributor sued, and in United States v. Paramount Pictures, the Supreme Court ruled that a state may not censor a film on the basis of a finding that it is “sacrilegious.” The Court overturned its 1915 precedent and ruled that “expression by means of motion pictures is included within the free speech and free press guaranty of the First and Fourteenth Amendments.”
Continuing, the Lehigh article regarding film censorship stated the following:
“Today, attempts at censorship come not from governmental entities but from interest groups that use the threat of boycotts and protests to put pressure on Hollywood to change objectionable content.”
The producers of Soaked In Bleach presented the following statement to Deadline:
“We were disturbed to learn that Courtney Love’s lawyers sent threatening letters to movie theaters all over the country. Most arrived before Soaked in Bleach was released last week, presumably before she or her lawyers ever saw it. She obviously hoped to scare theater owners into dropping the film. Thankfully, very few were intimidated. Most saw the letter for what it is – a cowardly attack on the rights of free speech, free expression and free choice.
Courtney Love’s uninformed accusations and efforts to discredit the film are totally off base. The film examines the well documented facts surrounding the death of Kurt Cobain and it questions much of what the public has been told about those events. Most of the opinions and theories presented in the film come directly from facts gathered by Tom Grant, the private investigator Courtney Love hired the week before Kurt’s body was discovered. Tom quickly became suspicious and tape recorded all his conversations with Courtney and others in the days leading up to and after Kurt’s death. The film uses those recordings to reenact Tom’s encounters with Courtney Love and others in Kurt’s inner circle. It also presents the views of Norm Stamper, Seattle’s Police Chief at the time, and Dr. Cyril Wecht, a leading forensic pathologist, who both question whether Kurt could have committed suicide.
Courtney Love and her lawyers clearly don’t like that the film presents a compelling case for re-opening the investigation into Kurt’s death. They should respect the First Amendment and let people decide for themselves.”
‘Distorted Montage’ – Courtney Love and Brett Morgen at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival screening of the Kurt Cobain documentary Montage of Heck. ( Photo link hollywoodreporter.com)
IMDB Ratings Scandal?
In the midst of Love and her army of attorneys looking quell the highly anticipated film release of Soaked In Bleach, which directly followed the over indulgent media tour for the documentary Montage of Heck, it turns out that there is another controversy brewing on the social networking site Reddit, with one user claiming that IMDB’s film ratings for SIB are suspiciously skewed.
In a submission entitled “Detecting Manipulation In IMDB: The Soaked In Bleach Case,” we see the outline of deliberate data manipulation concerning the average rating of SIB. The post was submitted by a user under the moniker of Parrhesia Joe, who as the controversial post states, has experience with software and code that deals with “preference aggregation.”
Here’s an excerpt from intriguing post that discusses data anomalies regarding SIB’s IMDB profile:
“This doesn’t even resemble a real movie. From a first look, you can see that about 1000 of the votes follow a normal curve centering at 10. The other 2500 votes are distributed between one and two.
The number of 3 votes gives it away. I am expected to believe that the standard deviation of the no votes is far less than one. Anything less than 100 3 votes is HIGHLY suspicious (demonstrably 95%+).
This is a movie with a natural score of about 8. There are a LOT of spike votes at ten because it is controversial. Those are the natural spike votes.”
There are similar results reported at other popular ratings sites that appear to contradict some of the more positive reviews for the film.
The Cobain controversy continues and is unlikely to go away following the release of Soaked In Bleach…
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