Friday, October 17, 2014

Netflix Documentary Hits and Misses Vol 3 (October 2014 Edition)

So it's only midway through October, and I know you guys are foaming at the mouth or chomping at the bit (or doing whatever colloquialism seems fitting) as you await my pick and shuns for your Netflix viewing pleasure. [Tangent: To be quite honest, my mind is saturated with film this month. In addition to trying to meet my self-imposed doc watching quota, I have been helping Jamie meet his goal of 31 horror movies in the month of October. It's been a little overwhelming, but good overwhelming since we know there are absolutely no repercussions for these pointless goals we have set for ourselves.] I know you probably are getting sick of my obsession, but maybe you will find something interesting. [Tangent: Also this monthly feature has had some cool perks. I got to interview Jason DaSilva and now the makers of Magic Camp are my BFF on Twitter!]


Katy Perry: Part of Me- B+/A-
Let me preface this by saying : I promise  I am not a dumb girl. However, I love popular culture and because I don't listen to pop radio very often, these movies are my window into that world. [Tangent: I have also seen the One Direction doc. It was directed my Morgan Spurlock, ya'll and it is really good. I am bracing for judgement on that one...but sometimes you just need mindless fun and KP dancing around with a spinning starlight mint bra top and a gaggle of hunky backup dancers.] I am also not ashamed to say that my friend Amber and I saw this movie in theaters when it was out [Tangent: You can read the review here.] but I have watched it since on Netlfix. If you don't wanna like KP, I wouldn't recommend this movie...because it makes here considerably more down to earth and likeable.

I am Divine- A+
Here is what I knew about Divine prior to seeing this film- he was a drag performer and muse of John Waters who ate dog poo in Pink Flamingos and was in the OG Hairspray. That was about it. After watching this doc,  I am in complete awe of his career and am now on high alert for all of the albums he produced. [Tangent: I mean I am sure these disco drag records are terrible, but probably amazing terrible, right?] I had no idea what an icon he was, and how much of an impact he had on underground film and drag culture. Sometimes biographical docs can get really boring, but the cast of characters that were interviewed had such amazing stories that I stayed entertained.  Like really entertained...I would watch this again.

Monica and David- A
Everything about this movie made me happy and cry all at once. I loved it. In fact I have watched it a couple times since it has been up on Netflix. The titular Monica and David are two young adults with Down syndrome who met at a day program and fell in love. This is the story about their marrying and planning their lives together. I urged my best friend to watch it, because her 1 year old has DS, and she said she cried and cried. So good. It's very well done and doesn't pander or talk down to you (or them).

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work- A
I think I saw this after it first came out, but decided to watch it again since she passed away, because I am a sucker for honoring dead celebrities and I had heard since several well known comedians praising it in the media [Tangent: Basically Bill Hader said it was good on Watch What Happens Live, so since I trust his judgement- I decided to give it another go!]. The main takeway is that I am a lazy sack of goo, because Joan Rivers at 75 was jet setting to every part of America, and meanwhile at nearly 32, I can't convince myself to go pick up takeout because it means putting on pants. I watched it while babysitting my nephew, so on his 3rd day on the planet- I made sure he was familiarized with lots of 4 letter expletives. BEST. AUNT. EVER. 

Following Sean- D
I really really wanted to love this. The premise was right up my alley. A filmmaker catches up with a 4 year-old child he filmed in Haight-Ashbury during the 60s as an adult. He was the child of hippie drug addicts and it set it up to be full of intrigue and mystery...and it wasn't. Even the cover looked kind of vague like he had become something completely out of left field [Tangent: I guess I am cursed by the movie Catfish and now expect every "documentary" to have a Shamylan twist.]  It was anti-climactic as hell. Sorry Sean. 

I Know That Voice- B+
My boyfriend's roommate is a voice actor, so I have some sort of vested interest in this career path and know a little more about it than I ever thought I would (still far from an expert). I've always thought it seemed like a pretty easy job [Tangent: Not for me of course...I have an intolerable speaking voice. That's why this is a blog and not a vlog. ] but the amount of work and character development that goes into it makes it seem much more artistic than most expect. It was also kind of fun to see the faces behind cartoon voices you're really familiar with, too.

The Gallopagos Affiar: Satan Comes to Eden - D+
Sometimes I watch a documentary because it is on a subject I am completely ignorant on...like the Galapagos islands. All I know of that area is all the Darwin studies and giant turtles. That's it.  It had never occurred to me that people might actually reside there or that it might have a rich history. This doc is mostly about the free spirits (read: European weirdos)  that went there to build a life and their own private Utopia. The name makes it seem much more scandalous and crazy, but I was an hour and 30 minutes in before I got to anything befitting of the tag line "Satan comes to Eden." [Tangent: To be 100% truthful, I fell asleep during this movie every time I tried to start watching it at bed time. Cat Blanchett's narrator voice is much too soothing.]

How to Die in Oregon- A
This movie about Oregon's  Right to Die laws is one that I have been wanting to watch and dreading for a really long time. Watching my dad suffer from Cancer and die on hospice was really hard and when he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, it was a death sentence. I have always been not sure how I felt about the whole physician assisted suicide thing. On one hand it seemed like a giving up move, while on the other it felt empowering. I'm usually a big fan of HBO documentaries and thought this one did a good job of putting humans behind the issue. It's heavy for sure (much heavier than say a Katy Perry doc) but worth watching once you are in the head space to soak it in.

Room 237- C+
Being a horror based documentary, this one perfectly dovetailed both Jamie and my film goals for the month. This movie is basically a culling of different crackpot theories proposed by fans of Stanley Kubrick's The Shining. Since we just watched that film earlier in the week, I thought it would be a good time to watch while it was fresh on my mind. Overall, I thought it was weird and it lost me more than once. [Tangent I am all for crazy film theory, but it reminded me of when I took a folk and fairy tale class in college and every single seemingly innocuous children's story we read was somehow about sex, periods or incest.] True, some theories were intriguing and there is no denying that Kubrick is a mad scientist and is capable of anything, like I now want to watch the movie forward and backward simultaneously for secret messages, but a lot of the other things were completely nonsensical. Spoiler Alert: That skiing poster is NOT a minotaur. End of story.

Call Me Kuchu- B
I'm not completely ignorant to world events, so I knew that Uganda has A LOT of issues and are not exactly "with the times" on most things...however it never really occurred to me how hard it might be on a gay person in that part of the world. There it's a crime to be gay and has huge consequences. The movie tells the story of people in Uganda who are out of the closet and striving towards equality. It baffled my mind how the media there handled the outting of people and how it was pretty much like witch hunt mentality. Overall I really liked it [Tangent: The movie...not the inequality.]. You have to be in the mood to read subtitles, though, which let's face it is not always the case...especially for a multi-tasker like myself. [Tangent: This is pretty much the reason I have never made it 100% through Jiro Dreams of Sushi despite hearing how wonderful it is.]


 HH Holmes: America's First Serial Killer- C
Jamie had recommended I watch this one, because he knows my proclivity toward Criminal Minds type entertainment. Basically Holmes was a bit of a playboy doctor in Chicago who built himself a house of horrors and killed A LOT of people right under everyone's noses. [Tangent: His house reminded me of the doctor's home in season 2 of American Horror Story]. Overall, I think his story is interesting and one I didn't know much about but the movie was kinda meh. It was very akin to a History Channel movie, and I thought it could have been a little flashier and engrossing given the subject matter. I think I will probably just read Devil in A White City since it has been sitting on my bookshelf for 2 years after my friend Beth gave it to me. Sorry Beth, I'll read it!!!   

Please Subscribe- A
I'm kind of obsessed with the idea that people are YouTube celebrities, even  though I don't follow any of them and don't really see myself doing so in the near future. [Tangent: I am not belittling this at all, because I follow podcasters and bloggers religiously. Frankly, I just don't have the time for anymore internet time sucks.] I didn't realize it was such "a thing" and that so many people made their living this way. Since seeing this movie, I have seen one of the featured YouTubers, Grace Helbig, on @Midnight and The Soup so I guess she is kind of a big deal. Overall I was pretty impressed with their marketing and craftiness...including the guy that gets paid big bucks to play video games and talk about it online. [Tangent: If the movie Big has taught me anything, it is that playing with "a toy" (and giving your 2 cents on it) for a living is pretty much the dream gig.  


Have any of you guys watched these? What did you think? What should I watch next month? 

If you want more suggestions, check out my September roundup and August collection.  

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