Movies can be great sources of insight on how to deal with real life situations. They can show us how to stand up to bullies, win the heart of the girl/boy next door, or change small-town politics with the power of dance. Of course, real life isn't always like fiction, and there are plenty of areas where cribbing off of whatever's new on Netflix is a really, really bad idea. Like hostage negotiation. Or shaping government policies. This article is about that second thing.
5 Dallas Buyers' Club Pushed The U.S. Government To Pass New Healthcare Laws.
In a thousand years, AIDS will still be known as that horrible, inexplicable plague that popped up in the '80s and ruined drunken anonymous sex forever. Fortunately, the battle against AIDS and HIV has taken great strides since then, mainly because the people in charge have finally stopped covering their ears and shouting "lalalalalala" every time it's brought up. Here in progressive 2016, politicians are much more aware of the plight of AIDS sufferers than their backward '80s counterparts. In fact, U.S. government officials recently pushed through a big political breakthrough on treating AIDS patients. And all it took was Matthew McConaughey winning an Oscar for portraying a sex-crazed, drugged-up Southern cowboy.
Fortunately, he'd been method acting that role since high school.
Back in the 1980s, a gentleman named Ron Woodroof was diagnosed with AIDS and told that he had little more than a month to live. Angered by the "just die already" approach to people with AIDS back then, Woodroof decided to take matters into his own hands. In a matter of weeks, he was smuggling mass amounts of unregulated drugs and medicine into the US in an effort to keep himself and others alive a little bit longer -- which he succeeded in for years. Inspired by his rebellious heroism, Hollywood laid claim to the rights to Woodroof's life story, and a couple of decades later, Dallas Buyers' Club was born.
The film sparked debates about making it legal for certain patients to experiment with medications before they are FDA-approved. Some believed that the dying had a "right to try" anything that could offer hope in their final hours, while others saw the practice as reckless and dangerous. Federal lawmakers joined in the newfound interest in terminally ill patients' rights. and soon a motion dubbed the "Dallas Buyers' Club Bill" was put forward. Only a year after the movie's release, a handful of states already began adopting said bill. After two years, half the United States had taken up the controversial policy, paving the way for a national law. The Dallas Buyer's Club movement even allowed for such a shift in perspective that some are now advocating that patients should receive aid in affording their experimental treatments. Thanks, Obama. No, seriously.
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"Alright, alright, alright."
The story of Ron Woodroof offers real hope that the system can be changed by one voice. All you have to do is fight the power, not back down, and wait 20 to 30 years for Hollywood to make a sorta-kinda-true movie about your life. Oh, and die of AIDS in the meantime.
Bureaucracy: It can work.
4 Dr. Strangelove Forced The Pentagon To Change Its Security Policy
Director Stanley Kubrick is widely known for his meticulous attention to detail, whether he's making a movie about space flight, cabin fever, or a fake Moon landing. He brought this same zeal when he directed 1964's lengthily titled Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb, a brilliant satire about how the U.S. military might accidentally start World War III. Much to the chagrin of the military. Not because Kubrick was making them look bad, but because he was right.
"Who loaned them a B-52?!"
"They said it was for a student film!"
One of the most important themes of Dr. Strangelove is how anyone with the right clearance code could initiate a nuclear attack, and nobody could stop them. Audiences were immediately terrified and angry with the government and their apparent lack of safety protocols which allowed for a scary amount of access to the nation's nuclear launch codes, forgetting for a moment they got that information from a comedy. The government staunchly denied Kubrick's accuracy, maintaining that the country was and always would be in the safest of hands, even going as far to make a propaganda film to combat Dr. Strangelove ...
... though a quick look at the American Film Institute's Top 100 American Films of All Time shows which movie came out on top.
Of course, you can't keep a good conspiracy-laden rumor down for long, especially if it's more or less true. Eventually, government officials, including Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, began worrying about the copious opportunities for unintended nuclear war. The Pentagon finally gave in and set about changing their nuclear policy to ensure that no one would ever have full access to launch codes at any given time, instead spreading bits and pieces of the codes around to different members of personnel. All because of Slim Pickens riding a nuke down to the earth.