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"Captivated" on HBO
August 19, 2014 8:54 AM   Subscribe

'"The good news is we solved the murder of your husband. The bad news is you're under arrest.' Everyone's a noir hero!" A new HBO documentary explores what happens when the media are mixed up in a crime from the very beginning-- with fiction and film added in for good measure. A local news writer is incensed with HBO for bringing it all up again. (She will not be watching the documentary.)
posted by BibiRose (36 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
"There's a thumbnail sketch of the non-physicist's interpretation of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle..."

The Riedenschneider defense?
posted by griphus at 9:01 AM on August 19


Second link: But I’m going to be tuning into the HBO show. It seems the least I can do after devoting so much time to the lurid saga 23 years ago.

Was the FPP's parenthetical meant as a demo?
posted by LogicalDash at 9:09 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


I've always thought To Die For would make a great opera.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 9:15 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


I don't really get "incensed" from the Concord Monitor story at all.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:17 AM on August 19


The second one is kind of a bizarre article. Near the beginning is this:

But in the case of Pam Smart, we didn’t consider HBO, which inexplicably feels that we should relive that 23-year-old courtroom drama

...and then goes into depth over numerous paragraphs with details that come off as obvious reasons why someone would want to make a movie out of it.
posted by Hoopo at 9:19 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


"sort of total"?
posted by yoink at 9:27 AM on August 19


I watched it, it's good. As the first linked article points out, it's less a rehash of the events and trial (indeed there's not even a recreation of the crime), and more a discussion of the impact of relentless media coverage on the ability to get a fair trial. One of the more egregious events was the biggest TV channel in the state airing its full length documentary program on the crime two days before the trial even began.

On a personal note, I was 19, 20 and living in New Hampshire when this all happened. The haircuts, accents, and TV newscast intro music made for some serious flashbacks.

I'll never understand why she liked to spell her name "Pame" instead of "Pam".
posted by schoolgirl report at 9:27 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


I never knew To Die For was based on this case (probably because TV announcer /= teacher). The woman writing the second link--And when we wisely sentence people to life without parole, it is generally assumed they will go away and stop intruding on the lives of decent people. That’s the beauty of life without parole.--I don't know, Pam Smart got convicted, I remember there was pretty damning evidence against her, but something about this quote is so self-righteous and smug and cold.
posted by sfkiddo at 9:27 AM on August 19 [7 favorites]


Holy shit I totally missed the fact that To Die For was based on this. I was even thinking "hey is Brian de Palma attached to this?" when reading the article in the FPP (and apparently glossing over a paragraph or two.)
posted by griphus at 9:32 AM on August 19


wait Brian de Palma didn't direct To Die For
posted by griphus at 9:32 AM on August 19


Gus van Sant directed, I think.
posted by sfkiddo at 9:36 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Why do I feel like the text of both of the linked articles keeps changing? Are we all losing our minds?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:36 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


Gus van Sant directed, I think.

I believe he prefers Guse vane Sante.
posted by yoink at 9:51 AM on August 19 [5 favorites]


Does that jacket have four breast pockets?

Also, yes, the 2nd article makes little sense. I am guessing this is because the Concord Monitor, despite being the daily newspaper of the capital of New Hampshire, is also a small town paper and the writer probably can't write.
posted by snofoam at 9:56 AM on August 19


I immediately flashed on to Die For, a movie I really enjoyed and where Nicole Kidman did a bang up job of being a super hot creepy narcissist in redonk made for TV outfits. That scene where her husband is tending the BBQ and asks "Do you want one of these?" showing her a burger. "No thanks!" and then he lifts up a kid "How about one of these?" "No thanks!" Aaaarggh her delivery made me want to smack her. Perfect!
posted by dabitch at 10:08 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Saw this a few days ago. I don't think PS had a fair trial, but I still think she's guilty and don't have much sympathy for her.

She probably spells it Pame to "be unique".
posted by brujita at 10:20 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


(She will not be watching the documentary.)

So am I misreading this last sentence somehow? Or did she change her mind and re-write the article?

But I’m going to be tuning into the HBO show. It seems the least I can do after devoting so much time to the lurid saga 23 years ago.

posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:33 AM on August 19


Ick. Missed LogicalDash's comment upthread.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:34 AM on August 19


Is "hawt" now an acceptable spelling for the formal media?
posted by Melismata at 10:39 AM on August 19


Is "hawt" now an acceptable spelling for the formal media?

OC Weekly is a freebie "alternative" paper like The Village Voice. So it's not really "the formal media."
posted by yoink at 11:00 AM on August 19


OTM did a nice piece on it as well.

Haven't seen the documentary yet, as I don't have HBO, but I'm looking forward to it.
posted by lumpenprole at 11:37 AM on August 19


She probably spells it Pame to "be unique."

"Päme" or "Pamé" would've been uniquè. "Pame" is lame.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:47 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


I found the second link much easier to understand when I read it in "Church Lady Voice."
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 11:53 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Also, yes, the 2nd article makes little sense. I am guessing this is because the Concord Monitor, despite being the daily newspaper of the capital of New Hampshire, is also a small town paper and the writer probably can't write.


snofoam,
I thought you were being unfairly snooty there - until I read the 2nd article. It's unbelievable drivel.
(As far as I can tell, the author is apparently a veteran newspaper columnist too. For shame.)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 1:07 PM on August 19


"Päme" or "Pamé" would've been uniquè. "Pame" is lame.


Pämé's Panthers is now one of my fantasy football team names, so thanks for that.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:53 PM on August 19


> I am guessing this is because the Concord Monitor, despite being the daily newspaper of the capital of New Hampshire, is also a small town paper and the writer probably can't write.

This is completely irrelevant to the link and discussion but I have to share the fact that our local small-town paper ran the following subhed yesterday:

Sox drop seires finale for slipt after win streak

The "seires" is just your everyday typo (and I literally mean every day—proofreaders appear to be a distant memory), but "slipt" is real genius: I have no idea whatever what was intended, and my job as an editor involves figuring out what obscure text means.
posted by languagehat at 2:11 PM on August 19 [5 favorites]


Metafilter has a new mystery to solve.
posted by ogooglebar at 2:15 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


I grew up in Concord, and I can tell you that for most of my life, the Concord Monitor suffered from only having to be better than the Manchester Union Leader. Which has always meant that they only had to be better than a rancid pile of libertarian drivel.

Sort of like how the NY Daily News only ever had to be better than the Post.
posted by lumpenprole at 2:21 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


Sox drop seires finale for slipt after win streak

Wouldn't the "obvious" reading be: "Sox drop series finale for slip after win streak"?
posted by yoink at 2:57 PM on August 19


I don't care if she actually committed the crime. People should have fair trials or they should walk the streets. There is no middle ground.
posted by Megafly at 4:30 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


> Wouldn't the "obvious" reading be: "Sox drop series finale for slip after win streak"?

I guess, except that that doesn't sound like English to me, not even Headline English. If it does to others, we can consider this case...
[musical sound effect]
...CLOSED!
posted by languagehat at 5:12 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Well, I agree it's pretty crappy, but it sounds like a crappy paper. I'm thinking that "for slip" would be analogous to the "for loss" or "for win" you see all the time in sports headlines ("Nets Score Big Late for Win"). The Sox here would have dropped the series finale "for slip" (in the standings? in their won loss record?) in the same way.
posted by yoink at 9:37 PM on August 19


So am I misreading this last sentence somehow?

Huh. I couldn't have sworn she said she wouldn't be watching-- sorry. (I don't have any special reason to think that wasn't just a reading error on my part.)
posted by BibiRose at 7:19 AM on August 20


D'oh--the correct solution suddenly came to me in the shower this morning: Sox drop series finale for split after win streak.
posted by yoink at 7:44 AM on August 20 [1 favorite]


I am really having a lot of problems with negatives these days-- I put an extra one in the post above, too. Sorry.

Anyway, I enjoyed the documentary very much. It struck me as fairly amazing how Maynard and Van Sant conveyed the whole relationship between the trial and the media. The book and movie both came out (I think) before Court TV started showing trials on TV all day long.

A relative of mine was working in eldercare right near the area where the murder took place. She asked one of her clients what she thought about Smart's guilt or innocence. "Stupid girl," was the response. "She should have used poison."
posted by BibiRose at 7:46 AM on August 20


> D'oh--the correct solution suddenly came to me in the shower this morning: Sox drop series finale for split after win streak.

By George, you've got it! Now I'm glad I wasted everyone's time and attention with my small-town typo, because I can finally sleep at night.
posted by languagehat at 8:03 AM on August 20 [1 favorite]


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