Sunday, November 29, 2015

Netflix Documentary Hits & Misses: Vol. 14 (November 2015)

October was busy...potentially too busy [Tangent: I mean I haven't even written about going to see the insanity that was Dirty Dancing the musical. That needs to be remedied!], so in November, I have tried to reclaim my shut-in title to restore some sense of balance to my personal universe. This has resulted in me watching Netflix....A LOT! Unfortunately, I have spent more time on shows and less time on docs [Tangent: I mean Master of None, With Bob and David and Jane the Virgin aren't gonna watch themselves!] but I managed to squeeze in eight!! 

Back in Time- A+
This movie was the perfect fan film and I loved every minute. I sat riveted even though the week prior to watching it was Back to The Future Day (so thus social media and TV had inundated me with all things related to the franchise). One would have thought, as a very casual fan [Tangent: As in, I have only seen the first two movies and only a couple times. See! total poser!], that I would have hit my ceiling. Sometimes when movies don't target one angle of something, I get frustrated because I think that they'll shortchange me in at least one area, but this movie covered all things Marty McFly and left me feeling complete. They interviewed fans and the cast and crew, which made it very well-rounded. For some reason the part that stuck out most was how the choice of a Delorean was a fluke decision that really paid off. When the producers chose it, how were they to know that AMC wouldn't make cars after the mid 80s and that Deloreans would be like unicorns one day, thus making them WAY MORE iconic.

Parrot Confidential- B+
Seriously who has taken over my body and mind that  I would opt to watch a nature documentary about parrots on my own free will? I hate parrots.  To me, they are the creeps of the animal kingdom [Tangent: Every time I hear a feathered friend talk, I find it jarring. It is a trick that I will never get used to.] , so it might even alarm you more to know that I watched this short doc long before it hit Netflix and that I found it really interesting and found myself talking about to anyone that would listen for the days following. A lot of the special (and the part that made me kinda feel for parrots) was about people not being fully aware of the responsibility that is taking in one of these birds as a pet...because they live FOREVER. One bird rescue was overrun with strays that they took just so their owners could get some peace and quiet.  It's short and frankly better than one might think...and this coming from a gal who usually despises those creepy winged monsters.

The Wolfpack- A
I've been obsessed with this story since it first came about and I know I wanted to see it like hell when it was showing at The Belcourt in Nashville. I liked it, but definitely think a problem that kept me from loving it was that I was already too familiar with the story. I had already read numerous online articles and watched an hour long 20/20 which interviewed everyone involved, therefore the element of discovery and surprise was a little gone.  The movie revolved around 6 brothers who were basically held captive in their own low income NY apartment by a father who was distrusting of the outside. This led to the family bonding in a very unique way over a love of film and reenacting film. The way they went about it was insanely resourceful and I almost hesitate to reveal too much about their process, because it's incredibly entertaining to watch (even though they are being held prisoner). I think it's a must watch for film lovers because it raises a lot of interesting thoughts on how movies can be the ultimate escape.

Twinsters -A
This movie is about twin sisters adopted from Korea into two separate families across the ocean from one another. When the American sister puts out a viral YouTube video, she gets recognized by friends of her long lost twin, and the two siblinds connect over social media and then Facetime and then ultimately meet face to face. Sometimes, I'm a little cynical about stories like this, especially when they are positioned in such a way that wreaks of Inside Edition, but this one seemed very organic. Because she was a bit of a YouTube star, it seemed only natural for her to tell her own story and to be very comfortable doing so. I found it crazy how alike the two girls acted and how immediately they bonded even though they have not been together since birth. You will have to sit through a lot of giggling and inside jokes and girl bonding, so if that is not you scene- be prepared.

Famous Nathan- B-
I've made no secret that if a movie features old kooks that I will be first in line. I also love hot dogs (way more than your average bear!) so when I discovered there was a movie about Nathan, of Nathan's hot dog fame, that featured delightfully eccentric elderly people, I was ecstatic.  Although the movie lost me a little around the end, I still enjoyed hearing about how the Coney Island institution , that is now the site of yearly mass eating (and likely mass vomiting) on July 4th weekend. I think it was both was helpful and hurtful to the narrative that it was made by a member of the family because sometimes an outside perspective is more balanced. One more thing, did I mention the hysterical interviews with all the crazy old friends and family from the hot dog dynasty? I'm pretty sure I did, but seriously- it's the main selling point!

Capital C- A-
I don't think this film's  description does it justice, but I knew I generally like movies about businesses and how they came to be. [Tangent: To name a few of my favorites: Burt's Buzz, Time Zero and last weekend I went to go see All Things Must Pass about Tower Records. I can't wait to tell you about that one. ] Naturally I thought when you factor in the idea of crowd sourcing and social media, this movie, which profiles kickstarter companies, was a can't lose for me...and it was. My only criticism was that the businesses in question were really random- a video game, a customizable koozie and playing cards inspired by US currency. I mean, I liked that the filmmaker went after projects that were different than the typical films and albums...but I just couldn't relate to any of the passions. [Tangent: ...especially the playing cards...that one was a head scratcher...but it got funded in record I am clearly alone.  I really liked the designer behind that concept, so I tried to put my head scratching to rest.] Also I love any programming that gives you some insight, from a small business standpoint, of what it's like to be on Shark Tank! [Tangent: Be still my heart.]

Do I sound Gay?- A-
Thanks to my dear friend, Rae, for knowing me so well to immediately bring this documentary to my attention.  I had heard about it when it was released in theaters and have been wanting to see it since. The filmmaker, David, is on a quest to find out if there is such a thing as a gay manner of speaking. He talks to speech pathologists and voice coaches to find out if the dialect is indeed a thing, and what steps he could take to curb his dialect. Is it nature or nurture that causes the inflection? I don't now that they solidly answer it...but on the way to his answer he gets feedback from many other gay men...including Tm Gunn!

Just About Famous- D
There's something about celebrity impersonators that make me intrigued...just the idea that someone gets paid to pretend to be another person is otherworldly. I wish that I liked this more, but I found it underwhelming and truthfully, didn't even finish it. I know...I know I should have given it more of a chance, but the people being profiled just couldn't keep my attention. [Tangent: I would skip it and watch The Reinactors instead, which is about the people on Hollywood Blvd who dress up to take pictures with tourists. Their lives were way more entertaining, and although it is no longer streaming on Netflix, you can find the movie free online here.] 

What should I watch in December? 

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