How to Make Money Selling Drugs (2012) & The House I Live In (2012)

28 Oct

Review of the documentary How To Make Money Selling Drugs (2012)

Recently I watched both these documentaries. In advance I obviously knew what one was about because of its title but as I watched the other one it became clear that both of them tackle the same subject, but approach it in different ways. They are both about the drug laws in the United States.

How To Make Money Selling Drugs

The presentation of this documentary can be called original and unique. It feels like an infomercial or slick instructional video giving you tips on how to become a successful drug leader. You start out small and as you pass each level, as you would in a video game, you gain more power and money. Initially you’ll feel as if this movie glamorizes the life of a drug dealer. Various (former) drug dealers talk about their experiences and even 50 Cent gives some tips. It will make clear what your rights are when dealing with the police and how to outsmart them (with a judge and a police officer telling you the details). As the movie progresses though it becomes clear that behind that interesting form of presenting the subject there is a message, or actually various messages.

Review of the documentary How To Make Money Selling Drugs (2012)

Eminem is interviewed as he talks about his addiction and how it nearly killed him when he had an overdose. A former police officer tells what the drug laws allow the police to do, which basically means they can randomly search people and cars if they suspect there might be drugs. This often means racial profiling and when drugs or money are found they are not always reported or sometimes used to buy new equipment. Susan Sarandon and Woody Harrelson both talk about the heavy sentencing when it comes to minor drug users. Sentencing which is often more severe then when it comes to other types of crime. One of the results is that the US has the highest percentage of prisoners in the world. How To Make Money Selling Drugs makes its points clear while also managing to entertain.

Review of the documentary The House I Live In (2012)

The House I Live In

This documentary, as stated before deals with the same subject but approaches it more seriously. It looks at the war on drugs as well and shows how it developed. It was interesting to hear that at the beginning of the 1900’s various drugs were legal. Fear of various racial groups taking jobs from white people lead to laws which made certain types of drugs illegal. Opium was used a lot by the Chinese so it was banned, weed was smoked mainly by Mexicans and a law was introduced to ban that etc. It was something I did not know. It also looks at the effects the laws and drugs have had on communities and families. It makes clear that in some neighborhoods there hardly is any work and selling drugs is easy. Local drug dealers help the community by giving people things and are sometimes seen as heroes. As young kids also choose the lifestyle it means that families are torn apart once they are arrested and sentenced. The families are also torn apart because of drug use, even though there are resources for addicts and their families available.

Review of the documentary The House I Live In (2012)

In both documentaries David Simon is interviewed (who wrote one of the best shows ever, The Wire) who has a real good idea about the issues around drugs and is very vocal about what should be changed. If you are interested in the subject both documentaries do a good job in explaining the issues and their difference is in presentation. The first one is a lot flashier than the second one and has more star-power, the other is more factual and serious. Both are very good though so whether you see both of them or just one is up to you.

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