Review: Poverty Inc. and the Movie Monday experience

Movie poster from the first installment of "Movie Mondays" at the Hippodrome. Photo credit: Courtesy Photo

By Matt Dotson

The Waco Hippodrome and Baylor Student Activities teamed up to give the Baylor students a chance to see documentaries and independent films for free. The series, called Movie Mondays, began this week.

I was given the opportunity to participate in this week’s Movie Monday to review the inaugural film, “Poverty, Inc.” Going in, I didn’t quite know what to expect. To be honest, I really hadn’t heard of the Hippodrome aside from brief moments in passing conversation. I knew it was a venue that would often feature movies and talent, but that was just about it.

The documentary, directed by Michael Matheson Miller, explores some of the inner workings of foreign aid, as well as some of the unintended consequences that come from it.

I came into the documentary as a skeptic. I had seen many documentaries like this on Netflix, and my impression of them was that they were films with skewed findings often used to express a certain political view. In short, my expectations started out very low.

I was a bit surprised by the movie, as it explored a question about whether foreign aid on a massive scale actually did more harm to the people needing aid than it did good. The reason argued in the film was that the surplus of goods sent by foreign aid actually made it harder for local communities and entrepreneurs in places like Haiti to find business and support themselves. The film also argued that laws make it difficult for people to prosper.

I liked the film. Part of it has to do with the fact that I am a conservative, and it was nice seeing a documentary that represented a conservative point of view. It was also nice to see a documentary rely less on statistics and focus more on people who are actually affected by political policies. In addition, no particular side of the issue was being bashed. The documentary simply wanted to focus more on the butterfly effect of foreign aid.

I will say that I did find the movie to be entertaining and I found some things in it to be surprising. I highly recommend giving it a watch.

Tickets, a program of events and a menu from the restaurant at the Hippodrome. Photo credit: Courtesy Photo

As a first-time visitor to the Hippodrome, the building was nice to look at. The interior of the Hippodrome, in many ways, actually reminded me of Waco Hall. There were movie posters just like you would see in any other kind of movie theater. However, there was one thing that separated my Hippodrome experience from that of a typical movie theater: It doubles as a restaurant.

One of the first things that will probably capture one’s eye is that the prices on the menu are a bit on the high side. The second thing you’ll notice is that nearly all of the items are either named after movie titles or bad movie puns. My parents and I had a good laugh when we read them.

The best part of the dinner experience had to be the workers. Despite the fact that there were only three of them pitted against a packed crowd, they managed to keep their cool and provide good service. They even pulled out a table for me and made sure that I, seated in my wheelchair, was able to access it.

Overall I give the Experience 4.8 stars out of five. The experience wasn’t perfect, but the issues I had really aren’t worth mentioning. I highly recommend it to anyone who lives on or off campus and wants to see a movie. And I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to eat before a movie without having to rush around.

I’m looking forward to seeing what the Hippodrome has to offer, especially considering that it appears like they are going to be showing the new “Star Wars” this December.

The next installment of Movie Mondays is a documentary titled “Slingshot,” delving into the life of the inventor of the Segway. It will premiere at 7 p.m. and free tickets can be picked up from the ticket office in Bill Daniel Student Center.