The Elephant Whisperers

The first of two animal themed short documentaries nominated, The Elephant Whispers follows a Indian couple who have dedicated their lives to raising baby elephants who are often orphaned in the harsh, evaporating conditions of their home climate. Director Kartiki Gonsalves and producer Guneet Monga set the table introducing you to Bomman and Bellie, but then capture your attention with their relationship to their toddler elephant Raghu. The two nature keepers are genuine people who treat these animals like family; they bath them, teach them to play soccer and keep them from getting lost. Bomman and Bellie have agreed not to have kids because the elephants are their family.

The story isn’t sunshine and rainbows the entire time. There is heartbreak, tears, newcomers, and goodbyes. The Elephant Whispers almost brought me, a major non animal lover to tears. It is worth the family watch on Netflix. Will make you want to watch some Nat Geo.


Walruses are weird man. Walruses are really weird looking.

Haulout is a dark, dreary and hyper real look at the Siberian Artiic. Marine biologist Maxim Chakilev studies the migrating pattern of the native walruses, and to the shock (and a bit or horror), we the audience find out that there are roughly 95,000 walruses that come onto the parcil of land he has holed up on. This event is called a “haulout” and it happens when walruses hop onto land during their migration because they are tired. With more and more lands disappearing, this phenomenon gets more and more dangerous for the walruses. There is toppling and deaths and sad dead bodies strewed across the bear. According to this documentary, there were 600 walruses that died during this Haulout sequence.

The best bit of this documentary is when the walrus is trying to get into the house, and Maxim is there with a broom to scare these dinosaurs off. There is not a lot of words. The visuals are the message. Seeing these blubbery things bounce off one another like ping-pong balls is a scary sight.

If we are in the trust tree, Haulout is my least favorite of the four watchable Short Documentaries because I found it a tad bit boring. This is not due to the lack of skill making this. The visuals are arguably the best of the four. However the way the story is told didn’t grab my attention.

How Do You Measure A Year?

I want to watch How Do You Measure A Year?, but it would appear that I fucking can’t! I am very, very frustrated.

According to Deadline and other numerous sources, director Jay Rosenblatt’s intimate look at his daughters growth is going to be available on HBO Max…in JUNE OF 2023!!?? The Oscars are in March, and we normal folk have to wait until June??

So I can not give my thoughts on How Do You Measure A Year? because I can not see it, but based off its premise, I think I will be crying when I watch it…eventually.

The Martha Mitchell Effect

I love learning new shit. I had no idea who Martha Mitchell was. I had somewhere in the back of my mind that John Mitchell was Richard Nixon’s Attorney General because of a crossword, but now I have Martha Mitchell ready for years down the road to impress some random person who is battling the 68 down clue with me.

The Martha Mitchell Effect is a short biography that explores a character that had the spotlight of the culture for a short amount of time but has faded into history. I would be very curious to see if Martha is in any modern day history books for the Watergate Scandal. If you are a history teacher reading this, or a random high school kid, hit me up.

I am partial to these political background stories and the backroom dealings that we don’t see. Martha was trying to shout from a soap box that her husband and the president were all fucked up, but no one was listening. She gets vindication later in life, but the toll is evident on her buoyant personality that was highlighted at the start of the documentary.

I think that Martha Mitchell is going to be made into a motion picture biopic in the future. I think that Jessica Chastain is going to step away from Tammy Faye and once again go through the aging make-up process but this time in the political real. Or maybe it is going to be Amy Adams bringing back a bit of energy from Vice (2018), or I can dream about Kate Winslet or Emily Blunt.

Stranger At The Gate

Stranger At The Gate is a vulnerable look at a man who has an exterior that looks harder the scientifically mutated granite. Director Joshua Seftel works in the political realm and has made it is forte for his young career. This is his first Oscar nomination, and he has to thank Richard McKinney for being as open as he is while giving off the aura of a demented prisoner from Oz.

The last ten minutes of Stranger At The Gate is a classic turn of hand that makes its viewers reflect on how they would react if their preconceived notions were challenged with both kindness and facts. The welcoming nature of the Islamic community wrapped McKinney in a warm blanket that he did not know he needed. He is obviously dealing with things, but the members of the Mosque are better people than most to welcome him in.

Can you imagine being friends with someone who was planning to blow you up? Like literally brought bomb supplies. I don’t know if I could do that, but Bibi, Saber, Zaki and company are all all better people than me.


  1. Stranger At The Gate
  2. The Martha Mitchell Effect
  3. The Elephant Whisperers
  4. Haulout

Obviously can not rank How Do You Measure A Year? because it is impossible for me to see it. RUDE!

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Summation Of Stanko’s Thoughts On The Five Documentary Short Films Nominated For The 95th Academy Awards

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