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| December 30, 2005 | 1 Comment

Wal-Mart — The High Cost Of Low Prices
Bravenew Films

Word of advice to small business owners: If you find out a Wal-Mart is coming to your town, start scanning Monster.com to figure out what your next career path is going to be.

It’s no big secret Wal-Mart practically destroy all of the small business in their path. Not only that, but their stance on unions and their environmental records show more than a cavalier attitude toward their surroundings. This is not someone just spouting off, these are documented facts.

The Wal-Mart shown in Wal-Mart — The High Cost Of Low Price goes beyond even the normal perception of a company built on avarice and greed. Through interviews with former employees and executives, a vision unfolds not only of a company with no regard for workers or community, but of government regulations and laws.

Those interviewed in the film tell tales of non-existent health care, horrid overseas working conditions, and the Walton family’s aloofness from the world outside. Example: Wal-Mart employees are encouraged to donate to the company’s disaster relief fund. Employee donations totaled more than 50 million dollars. The Walton family’s contribution to the fund? $6,000. This from a family with a documented income of more than $102 billion.

The film is directed by Robert Greenwald, whose previous work was Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War On Journalism. And, as with most documentaries, only one side is given. You have to take into account the other side will have a lot to say as well. However, when weighing what this film has to say, along with the lawsuits and government fines levied against the company, the old saying about smoke and the proximity of fire comes to mind. Somewhere, a brush fire is raging out of control.

Film: HHH DVD Features: HH


Since blowing down from Canada in the mid ’70s like a cold, clinical wind, Rush have always been there. Like AC/DC, every so often they’ll put out a new album regardless of trends or time, just steadily going about their business, doing what they do. To all but the hardcore faithful, each new release is regarded with a nod or a shrug, or perhaps a thought of “They’re still around? That’s kinda cool.”

Maybe it’s because they have been around like a faithful friend for so long, polishing and honing their sound and image to such a precise edge they’re taken for granted. Be that as it may, for better or worse no one does it like Rush.

R30 finds the boys in good form running through the standard greatest hits package. The only evidence of the wages of time comes in the form of receding hairlines. Anyone who remembers Rush in the ’70s and ’80s, that’s not a bad thing. The years have also served to temper and soften Geddy Lee‘s dog-whistle wail, also not a bad thing.

The two-disc set features the complete show from Frankfurt, Germany. Director Pierre Lamoureux keeps the camera work tight, but not too frenetic, which supplies a surprisingly engaging viewing experience, and the 5.1 surround quality is far above average for a live recording. More impressive, however, is the video quality. The colors are sharp, and pop with nary an ounce of bleed. This would be a good one to color test a new screen with.

Disc Two supplies a wealth of interview material and archival performances. Granted, the interviews get a bit repetitive, but they’re there if you want ’em. The set also contains two live audio-only discs with the same show.

Film: HHH DVD Features: HHHH

Also Available . . . Perhaps needing a break from his TV crime-fighting gig, Ice-T decided to dust off his once controversial rap/metal project Body Count with a memorial concert for former guitarist D-Roc on Body Count: Live In L.A. Although the rap/metal market reached the saturation point long ago, Body Count still delivers the requisite level of bangs to head. The disc includes an interview with Ice about his varied career, and a couple of songs from the upcoming B.C. album.

Timothy Hiatt

Category: Columns, Monthly

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  1. socks says:

    You can beat Wal-Mart’s prices online, for socks anyways.

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