Won’t Back Down

“The mood around the Tribeca Film Festival had been a bit quiet and uneventful, but on Wednesday night a small documentary — Semper Fi: Always Faithful — delivered a much-needed bang,” reports HE’s Jett Wells. “It’s this year’s Tillman Story meets Erin Brokovich — one man’s investigation into the most widespread tragedy of mass pollution in American history since Love Canal.


Master Sergeant Jerry Ensminger in Rachel Libert and Tony Hardman’s Semper Fi: Always Faithful.

Rachel Libert and Tony Hardman tell the story of Master Sergeant Jerry Ensminger‘s quest to find the truth behind his daughter’s death from leukemia and the U.S. Marine Corps’ complicity in covering up behind the likely cause of his daughter’s demise — water contamination adjacent to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

“Watching Ensminger combine forces with other cancer victims of Camp Lejuene’s polluted water is tragic and infuriating. We learn about a cover-up directly and indirectly affecting countless lives over the span of 30 years with personal accounts of several cancer victims seeking out answers, some that made it and others that didn’t.

“It’s amazing how Libert and Hardman covered the investigation into the military camp’s water supply from beginning to end through the moments when all hope seemed lost,

to when the victims couldn’t hang any longer, to the moment Ensminger stepped before Congress to give testimony. People may know the tragic story from a news perspective, but Semper Fi gets up close and personal. It’s powerful, powerful stuff.”


Wednesday, 4.27 — photo by Jett Wells.

26 thoughts on “Won’t Back Down

  1. I am done with HE if Jett Wells is a part of it. I really don’t care what Jeff’s kid has to say about anything.

    Nepotism goes against everything HE has to offer.

    Or at least it once did.

  2. How can you maintain the quotes by Biskind, Crowe, Hornaday, Innaritu, Goldstein, del Toro?

    Advertising will collapse.

    This site is becoming ridiculous with the boy Jett and his input. No offense, but I really dont give a fuck what he has to say. Start your own site, Jett. Don’t ride the coattails of your father and his advertising dollars..

  3. Some unnecessarily harsh comments, but I basically agree with the sentiment that Jett should have his own blog and then you can promote his blog all day long, but otherwise, I don’t want to hear the opinion of any green 20 something about film, not even your kid, Jeff.

  4. I am not necessarily condoning Jeff’s use of Jett, but I have seen this film, and it is unbelievably powerful. Ensminger is an incredible presence – tough but tender, and dogged in his pursuit of the truth. The military coverup of the pollution is disgusting. And some of the testimony of people whose chilldren were made ill by the toxic water is heartbreaking.

    It’s a really wrenching film.

  5. as a long time HE reader, i’d like to point out that jett has been a contributor to this site for a lot longer than some of you have been reading it…and, frankly, he’s more qualified to critique film than some of you too…jus’ sayin’….

  6. If I was in a position to give my daughter a job where I worked, I would have. I see nothing wrong with Jeffrey using Jett as his East Coast correspondent.

  7. If you had to pay to read Hollywood-Elsewhere, you might be entitled to an opinion about who contributes to its content. But as we don’t, it really shouldn’t concern anyone. Jeff has used other contributors in the past. He’s more than qualified to contribute a by-line here.

    From HuffPost:

    Jett Wells started writing at age 16 when his film critic father gave him a column on his website. Ever since then, it’s been an interchanging love of different aspects of writing and journalism. He’s a recent graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University as a magazine journalism major. He has worked in multiple different media environments ranging from community newspapers to MTV News. In college, he ran the multimedia department for SU’s music magazine, 20 Watts.

  8. They seem like plants from other sites. Maybe they don’t like you treading their turf in LA? Regular readers actually enjoy what’s happening with your kids.

  9. I meant no disrespect to Jeff or Jett, but I don’t come to HE for the reviews, particularly those of outsiders or contributors. The internet is chock full of reviews, can get them anywhere…the reviews on HE are the least interesting part of the site.

    The peanut gallery has weighed in, in support of Jett, so be it.

  10. Please tell me that someone gets arrested from the shenanigans depicted in this movie. I grew up watching show like “The A-Team” and “The Equalizer” and “The Incredible Hulk’, where the rich SOBs were stopped from exploiting others by our plucky heroes. Every time. Earlier that that, on radio shows like The Green Hornet or The Shadow or Superman, it was always about the rich and powerful getting away with murder (sometimes literally), but they were always thwarted in the end. In real life, the rich DO get it away with it, almost always. Every American should be used to this fact by now – that justice isn’t really blind – but it still upsets me, every single time. And I blame TV, for building up an unrealistic view of the world in general and the US in particular.

  11. Mizerock, I think the Marines and the DofD have something like sovereign immunity, which means they cannot be sued or arrested.

    It’s pretty standard with government entities.

  12. Hey filmsofdusts, don’t let the door hit you on the way out. Asshole. And JR, if you don’t want to hear his opinions, skip the article.

  13. How about all the folks that engineering the financial crisis, documented in “Inside Job”? As far as I’ve heard, they almost destroyed the US economy and yet no one was charged with wrong-doing.

    Some people from Enron went to jail at least, right?

  14. Jesus CHRIST, what a bunch of assholes… I’m not even Captain Wells lately, but really? A guy BEING A COOL DAD and helping his qualified and probably awesome kid out really warrants this much bitching and motion? Despicable. He’s running some mini-reviews from a guy who studied journalism, not turning a Fortune 500 company over to fucking Arthur.

  15. I have no idea why Jett’s writing rates such vitriol. I like the HE perspective but I also like hearing about films that might be worth my time– regardless of the author. If you have a problem with Jeff man up and go after him but leave his son out of it.

  16. Ah yes Tori Spelling Wells. Getting the road to Tribeca Film Festival documentary reviews greased by his tycoon father.

    To pull back even farther than this noise, “Nepotism” used to be called “Legacy’. So fuck that shit. filmsofdusts, you are a shithead Williamson.

  17. Wells frequently copy/pastes other people’s opinions of films he has not seen, and (mostly) everyone goes along with it. But when he uses his fairly qualified son to do it, some of you have a raging temper tantrum and threaten to take your ball and go home?

    It’s not your blog. You don’t write it. You don’t pay for it. It’s a very minor point. Get over it.

  18. I’ve enjoyed both of the posts from Jett that I’ve read. He’s got a nice concise style that I appreciate.

    It’s Jeff’s site and if you don’t like it then hit the road and don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

    More Jett from Tribeca please.

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  20. Wells frequently copy/pastes other people’s opinions of films he has not seen, and (mostly) everyone goes along with it. But when he uses his fairly qualified son to do it, some of you have a raging temper tantrum and threaten to take your ball and go home

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