I have a confession/apology. I haven’t been posting nearly as often on here as I should be because of Netflix. You find one good documentary and then it suggests another and another and before you know it, you’ve lost a month watching fantastic films. Here are the highlights from the last month in no particular order (I highly recommend each of them):
I’m not the biggest Nirvana fan. I think I was around 10 when Kurt Cobain died. Anyway, this is a great look at the making of an album, with interviews and archival footage of band members and technicians. I’ve always enjoyed when an artist pulls the curtain back and you see what went into the work.
I have loved The Big Lebowski since I first rented it on VHS in the 90s, and low-and-behold there’s an entire fan club who has annual Lebowski-fests with random cast members and the people who inspired characters. They do trivia, bowling, and costume contests. This is a great look at fandom and offers some fun info on a fantastic movie.
This Film Is Not Yet Rated
I’ve long said the MPAA is evil. They’re the people who put those PG-13, R, NC17 ratings on everything in America without any rhyme or reason. Here’s a great example: American Pie has nudity and a naked ass while a boy humps apple pie=Rated R. But I’m A Cheerleader has a clothed lesbian masturbating without showing any nudity and basically only hinting at it=NC17. What? The director hires a private eye to find the secretive members who rate films. It’s a brilliant piece of journalism.
The People Vs. George Lucas
Whiny fanboys bitch about the prequel trilogy and the re-mastering/altering of the original trilogy. But done in a fun way. There are some great tidbits and real love for the Star Wars saga here, as well as upset fans. And some fun trivia. I tend to lean on Lucas’ side that he’s the artist and allowed to do whatever he likes with the art, but then they point out that he argued brilliantly against Ted Turner colorizing classic films and my mind is changed. Great topic to discuss.
That Guy…Who Was in That Thing
Sixteen character actors are interviewed and discuss Hollywood and their careers. Lots of fun. Since I’m a bit of a film guy, I recognized all of them and knew most of their names, but for most audiences, these are those guys who pop up in lots of things. Since watching it, I’ve noticed a few of them on random TV shows and movies. This was short shortly before the wonderful Stanley Kamel passed away. You’d recognize his face and maybe know him as Dr. Kroger. Trivia: there are over 240,000 registered members of the Screen Actors Guild, and the average annual salary is $5,000…
Tales From the Script
A must-see for anyone who cares about writing and movies. This documentary takes a look at Hollywood screenwriters and offers plenty of anecdotes about the industry. There’s some really talented, engaging people here. What really boggles the mind is how many scripts are bought, but never produced. They say that Universal Pictures has on average something like 300 scripts in development each year, and releases 10 films a year. 290 scripts a year are bought by one major studio and never filmed. So next time you’re on IMDB.com and go, “Oh, this guy’s only written two movies” well, maybe he’s written 30, sold 20, and only had 2 produced. Crazy stuff.
This is Elliot Arthur Cross wondering what great docs you’ve all seen.