Film Threat archive logo


By Phil Hall | January 17, 2014

The title of Meg Smaker’s nonfiction short is a jokey reference to the alleged prevalence of drugs on California’s Bethel Island. In this film, a quartet of residents speak frankly (though briefly) about the circumstances surrounding their respective addictions.

Smaker deserves credit for locating four people that are willing to open their lives for the camera and freely discuss the impact of drugs on their lives. But the 12-minute running time denies Smaker and her subjects the ability to explore the issue with any degree of depth. As a result, this short is just too short to make any sort of an emotional statement – although looking at these four people, it becomes very obvious that meth will not give you a healthy and radiant complexion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Drexy says:

    I can’t believe that Bob guy wrote. He jus kept writing & writing. He lost me when he bought a house here. It’s December now. Is Bob in the river yet?

  2. Carrie Elliott says:

    Sounds like ‘The Kid’could use a little rest also…lol!

  3. the kid says:

    I am the high some call speed I promise to profit your every need when as I amp you out all night your every need when as I amp you out all night your future will look promising and bright with all your goals set up just listen to me as I conquer you’re brain with my intensive rush or unbearable drain, now as your beginning to tweak my terrible influence will make you a freak, your bones will weaken, your teeth will rot all my traps& now your caught, I’ll make you hungry but not for food a new source of energy for a new kind of mood,I’ve got you addicted all to myself just another lost soul to sit on my shelf, I’m in your mind and in your heart you’ll always be mine till death do us part! methel death!

  4. Carrie Elliott says:

    Sounds like poor old Robert Larson needs to get off the stuff himself! Get some rest, Bob. It’s amazing what a little sleep can do…

  5. Robert Larson says:

    Your Town Fits The Word Methel Island,Sorry to say.I bought a house there on Stone Rd in the beginning of 2011,made Friends With Billy Harper,He Never Took Advantage of me Stoled One thing from me,I was there for him When he was Dying.I had a house that was treated for termites the termite co used Illeagal chemicles,It was tarring my lungs up,I had a test done on the house they said it was not fit for any one to live in Side,So I sold it because of that and Billy’s Kidneys and Liver failed Him,His Doctor said wasn’t just the Booze that killed him it was some sort of chemicle, My Liver tested High Also since I Left that house and my Lungs Burn.Only Reason Why I went to Bethel Island Because my Parents Had Boats There when I was 10.When I went there in 2011,I Met Billy he Never did me wrong not one time Hes up there with My Sister Im sure of it,He introduced me to his Girl friend Jamie Baumgartner,Jamie and I had a Little thing going on for about 5 months,then she turned on me and started steeling all of my belongings her Effrim and Sisco,two Watches one a Swiss acuttron a California Highway Patrol Watch A brand new sup pump to Ronnie Clark,They took all my food clothes.and Broke an Electric Guitar,Jamie left behind Evadence of Meth.they went through both of my sheds That My dad and I Built,Then the Following April Steven Valerie’s son came back to Get my Deseased sisters Alblum Colection worth thousands of Dollars and he succeeded bye putting a Drug in my Beer Steven and I had one a peice he stayed the night only because he begged me to he was doing my yard work once I allowed him to stay that was his ticket in to get the alblums he hurt so Bad They have been Sisters since she was 15,I Had a few of my own in the Collection,he was so nice before they came up Missing then he turned on me being mean sayin you should have got to know me better before you let Jamie and I up in your house,Steven is the only one that could have taken the records he stayed with me two nights the fisrt night I left the alarm off the second night I had the alarm on it went of and I caught him,Jamie and Steven were After the Alblum collection.Im the son of a Former California Highway Patrol Officer,the only time they could Rob Me is while I was away from the house working or when Steven drugged my they turned on my bedroom light while I was sleeping that night I couldn’t Wake up,It’s a good thing I didn’t wake up,Steven wouldn’t be here today or any of his other friends Like Steven or Al Wolf ,They All Threatined to kill me,I have on on going case number against the theft and my Life,Steven said to me if I didn’t drop the case against Jamie he would have me cut up and have me thrown in the River,His friend Tommy and John are Involed also and they Even Vandelized my Glass Truck before I left the Island this Last October,Thats going on the case Also,So What we have here is Group of Substance abusers On Meth All of Them,and They Commited Consperacey against me and Making Threats on one Life is a Crime,and Took Everything Ive hade All my Life.I May be out of Bethel Island,They Will Pay by the Law for What they did to me and Taking Everything I owned.Im Not Dropping The Case the Wizard.

  6. Dorreen says:

    I have lived here 29 years. Call it what you want, I call it home. I can’t imaging living anywhere else. I have made lifelong friendships here. I can’t say a lot about the film, having not seen it, but I don’t know why it all reflects on the island, as a whole.

  7. Dana Pedrotti says:

    What a negitive thing to focus on! Are drugs a problem in our community? Sure, but what town doesn’t have this problem? Drugs are everywhere. We can just as easily call Oakley , cokely! People tend to judge our island because it is small, but you should not under estimate us we are a tight community like family and we watch out for each other, it’s a beautiful place to live and play! I remember in high school everyone always talked crap about our island but you know where we went to get the drugs? Disco cause all the rich kids had the good stuff lol just sayin, it’s everywhere! I have a business on island and I patron many of our other businesses here ! Besides we all know who the people on drugs are around us we know them by name usually and we say hi I don’t think other towns can say the same! I understand doing a documentary about drugs people should be aware but do you really need to use the name methel island it does not describe our island honestly at all and is unfair to the people that do so much to make this place what it is and that’s a family and community that pulls together and sticks together no matter what , I always tell my kids if I won the lotto I would still live on this island , I would stay right here!

  8. Lisa says:

    I was born and raised on Bethel Island, I am 35 years old and have lived here my whole life except for 5 years I lived in Georgia. I have NEVER done Meth nor do I ever want too. Meth is everywhere in every city and town. Our community is smaller than most so it sticks out like a soar thumb. I have a lot of family on the island, I met my husband on this Island. Its a beautiful place to grow up and live. I appreciate it more as an adult than I did as a kid. I have not seen the “film” but as a long time resident I am extremely offended by the title and subject matter of this so-called “non fiction short”. We always had a bad rap because of people like her. Like Heather said our community comes together every year and raises money for the Santa Sack Program to make sure that every kid has a merry Christmas. Every time there is some sort of disaster like a fire or something of that nature the community comes together with donations to help the people effected it. That is just a few examples. I pray that anyone who sees that “non fiction short” is smart enough to form their own opinion about this wonderful Island. Just remember Megan Smaker you should never judge a book by it’s cover which is what I believe you have done here.

  9. Heather Gomez says:

    What’s said about Meg and her “short” film is that her film falls short from the truth. Bethel Island has always had a “meth” stigma, however Meg and her video and subjects are not a good representation of most of the people that occupy Bethel Island. I was at a motorcycle run that was a fundraiser for a fallen rider when Meg came to the bar that it was at and asked the owners for permission to film etc- she was denied, because of the subject matter in which her film was about is no longer and has not been an issue at this business. Because she was denied, she decided to sit across the street and updated her status on Facebook saying that she was across the street from a meth bar watching Hell’s Angles (that is how she spelled it) do wheelies. Her status provided island humor for the next week. With that said- if she would have gone in depth about the subject, and provided factual information I would not be writing this comment nor questioning the validity of her “short” movie- nor would I call her out on her ability to exaggerate from what once was the truth- years and years ago. Having lived in Bethel Island for over a year, I have come to appreciate this community and most of the people in it. They are there to support you and your family when in need, and definitely support the children. Ask a resident about the Santa Sack Program. Or the food bank. If you want to bring up meth, may be you should go about it a different way.

  10. lisa says:

    Lisa Jones I worked tirelessly to change that dam name ‘Methyl Island’ back in the 80’s. Worked hard with local Press, Schools, school bus drivers and community. They used to put our children at the back of class rooms because they came from the Island. We had been the running joke with all of Contra Costa County. What a shame Meg Smaker had to bring it back!!!!

Join our Film Threat Newsletter

Newsletter Icon