Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Netflix Documentary Hits and Misses: Vol 10 (May 2015 Edition)

If you are reading this, I am currently enjoying some much needed vacation time at the beach in North Carolina...livin that Dawson's Creek dream. However, I didn't forsake you on the Netflix front this month. Due to important priority viewing like binging on Scandal [Tangent: I swore after the ghost sex debacle a couple seasons in on Grey's Anatomy, that I wouldn't go down that road to ShondaLand productions again...but here we are starting Scandal, and I'm lovin' it.] and rewatching Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt [Tangent: I know it's only been a couple months since I fell in love with Tituss and company the first time, but I felt the need to watch again.] I haven't had much time to be a functioning human and stay up on my Netflix documentaries. Don't worry though, I have a few hits and misses to report. 

 Oh, and before I forget, I really went out on a limb and wrote about my Netflix obsession for Hello Giggles. Because they are a positive domain, I decided to just reiterate my favorite feel good documentaries [Tangent: Although I could have very well pitched my favorite effed up docs! Hello, Tabloid...I'm looking at you!]. If you haven't checked the article yet and that sounds like your kind of thing, you can read it here.  OK, enough shameless self cross-promotion, on to the May docs...


Fed Up- A
 Ugh. Don't get me wrong- this movie is really well made and informative, but it may make it harder for you to enjoy junk food. Usually I am leery of docs like this for the mere fact that they suck the fun out of things. However, even still weeks after the viewing,  I have become the kind of person I loathe most- one that spews statistics from a documentary all the time as a fear tactic. [Tangent: God bless Jamie who had to listen to me blather on about the way the body digests coke for 10 minutes at dinner the other night. I could just see it in his eyes that he was kind of zoning out during my talk of government sugar conspiracies; I don't blame him. Gotta keep that in check....but I know he loves me so has to put up with it somewhat. ] That being said, it's absolutely a game changer, and unfortunately has made me start thinking before I shove Little Debbie's in my mouth [Tangent: More or Less.]. The other day I called my sister to vent about how much sugar a Starbucks frappecino has and I seriously didn't recognize the words coming out of my mouth, and I'm positive my sister thought I was punking her. I guess that means I am evolving and growing up...blergh.

Supermensch: The Legend of Schep Gordon- A
Watching this movie is like eating a meal with a wacky relative who is well- connected and has endless fantastic stories. I started it with my doubts based on the synopsis, but I was roped in within minutes.  Gordon is probably the most loveable and successful talent manager ever, and he happened upon it almost by accident... just because Jimmy Hendrix told him that's what Jewish people in LA do. [Tangent: I was so riveted by his stategies and tactics along the way. He would call cops on his acts to get press, and went way out on a weird-ass limb a number of times.] He is a mastermind.  If you are at all interested in the behind the scenes goings on in the music industry, then add this to your queue now. Do not pass go. 

Mansome- B+
This documentary has a lot of key things going for it- 1. Produced by Morgan Spurlock. 2. Topics in the film are bookended by conversations between Jason Bateman and Will Arnett as they get spa treatments. 3. It's about manscaping, facial hair and the rise of the metrosexual. This was my second time viewing it, and it is definitely a good time, but I felt there needed to be more diversity of topics and less Jack Passion. [Tangent: I know I know...this seems like a bizarre deep-cut reason to fault a movie, but I used to watch Passion on the IFC series Whisker Wars, and he always rubbed me the wrong way. He proves that cocky people can exist in all sports, even bearding.]

Magical Universe- A+
Immediately upon reading the description, I couldn't hit the play button fast enough. "A documentarian strikes up a friendship with reclusive artist Al Carbee, whose Barbie-doll photography gains acclaim and interest over the course of this project's 10-year history." SOLD. As you all know, old kooks is a favorite sub-genre of mine. I hesitate to say too much, because I want you to be as flabbergasted as I was upon watching it. You will basically go from thinking the filmmaker is for sure gonna be chopped up into tiny pieces by Carbee to feeling that Carbee is an unappreciated kind-hearted genius. You may cry by the end, but throughout you will laugh in moments of "WTF is happening!?!?" One of my favorite moments is when Carbee is detailing the inner motivation of all the Barbies in one of his Barbie party vignettes. Go watch this NOW! 

Jedi Junkies- B
It's it ironic or poetic that fandoms are an obsession of mine?  Although I have probably only seen the original Star Wars trilogy maybe once,  but I happen to know a lot of die-hard fans,  so this was not shocking or suprising film, but it was fun. The filmmakers got a lot of their footage from interviews at conventions, but they also profiled people who dedicated their lives to the franchise in some capacity. Some folks devoted their time to tattooing [Tatoin?] their body with the imagery from the movies or devoting their lives to collecting merch or fashioning working light sabers.

Beyond Clueless- D
Have you ever been so so excited about watching something because it 100% fits your specifications, but then you watch it and find it doesn't even come near your expectations? In fact, the whole time you are bored thinking of ways it could be better. Beyond Clueless is that movie. The doc is about teen movies and the common tropes that bind them: fitting in, pack mentality, budding sexuality, transformation etc. It's also narrated by Fairuza Balk of The Craft, which should make it a homerun, but it doesn't. Although it featured some deep cut movie clips and made me surprised "dark teen comedies" isn't my top trending categroy on Netflix, it definitely left a lot to be desired. I would have loved to hear different people interviewed or maybe just some formatting change. Balk's voice, whose monotone quality made me nod off. overlayed on top of clip packages can only be enjoyable for so long. No one is more dissapointed than I am about this than me. 

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