Bad Movies Done Right – Tapped

Every day Robert Saucedo shines a spotlight on a movie either so bad it’s good or just downright terrible. Today: Control yourself. Take only what you need.

Tapped, the documentary by directors Stephanie Soechtig and Jason Lindsey, shows that conservatives do not have the market covered when it comes to fear-mongering.

The co-directors’ film examines the growing anti-water bottle movement through a variety of aspects and arguments. Slickly produced and with a ton of fascinating information, Tapped had the potential to be the next Food, Inc. if only it didn’t rely so much on gotcha journalism tactics.

From the health effects to the environmental concerns to the economic inconsistencies, Tapped does a wonderful job covering all the bases when it comes to exploring why bottle water may not be as good of a thing as most consumers would like to believe. When it comes to shattering the sense of complacency most Americans choose to hide behind as they pay $3 for a bottle of water they could have just as easily gotten from a nearby faucet, the film clearly and concisely outlines a list of problems the length of the Nile.

While not all of the arguments are given equal merit or consideration, they are all given the same level of pure, concentrated direness that a good muckraking documentary requires.

Unfortunately, just like most muckraking tends to lead to yellow journalism, Tapped falls prey to an emphasis on catching in lies the few corporate spokespeople who were foolish enough to agree to an interview.

Instead, Tapped would have better off presenting a case for how Americans can change just as much as why they should. Sure its’ one thing to talk about all the potentially harmful products there are in an average bottle of water (no matter how small of a dose those chemicals may exist in), it’s another thing to actually find the minds in America who have thought up an alternative to plastic water bottles. These are the people I want to hear from — not the environmental lobbyists who are just as self-serving as the corporations they crusade against.

Likewise, instead of harping on the fact that Americans buy too much bottled water, why not present some feasible suggestions for ways Americans can maintain proper hydration while not tossing a water bottle in the trash every hour. Fashion-savvy canteens maybe?

Tapped presents a manifesto of sorts for ways the world can change the current water bottle situation — unfortunately, running this manifesto during the credits in a sidebar proves to be too little too late.

What Tapped does well, though, is in presenting some eye-opening questions to a world largely ignorant about the problems that have arisen from the increased use of disposable water containers — and doing so in a slick, professional way.

The film makes use of some truly stunning cinematography, a great soundtrack and some spiffy editing to make the documentary slightly more mainstream than your average environmental warning film.

Stephanie Soechtig’s frequent appearances in the film gave me the idea that she may have once considered being a more active face of the film — a Michael Moore or Morgan Spurlock if you will. Thankfully, though, her ego does not eclipse the film such as the aforementioned duo’s oftentimes has.

Tapped is an entertaining enough film that manages to chisel a crack into a subject that has yet to make a big impact on day-to-day conversation. While its tactics are less than desirable, it is worth a watch to those interested in the subject. To the casual viewer, though, the film’s sometime asshole methods may end up unfairly tainting your view on a complex subject that is deserving of some serious consideration.

Robert Saucedo could really go for a bottle of water after writing this review. Follow Robert on Twitter @robsaucedo2500.

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