Monday, February 22, 2016

Netflix (and 1 Amazon) Documentary Hits & Misses: Vol 16 (February 2016)

February is a short month and an over-scheduled one for me! In addition to family visits and trips, I also had things to get me off track of doc watching like rediscovering the X-Files and keeping up with The Bachelor and The People Vs. OJ Simpson. [Tangent: I just realized I start all of these documentary preambles apologizing for not watching enough...or in some way shape or form, explaining why the post may be a let down (and we all know TV is the third wheel in my relationship)...Ugh...being raised a Catholic really sucks sometimes.] Fear not, in a Shamylan twist to my standard apologetic opening paragraph, I want to share that the ones I watched this month were kind of amazing...some of my favorites to date! So suck it...no apologies for only watching 6. Quality over Quantity, bitches! Here is your must watch list for documentary viewing! 

Cyber Seniors (Netflix)- A

As I've stated time and time again, I love a movie about spry and sassy old folks, so when this popped up in the queue, I was watching it within seconds. The movie profiles a group of teens who go into assisted/senior living facilities and teach the residents the basics of the Internet and social media. It's adorable and heartwarming to see the way these lessons open them up to a whole new world where they can stay in touch with friends and family (and maybe look for love!) The end of the sessions results in a competition where each "adopted grandparent" has to make their own YouTube video. Spoiler alert: One octogenerarian writes and performs an original rap about having her own teeth! HOW CAN YOU NOT WATCH THIS!??!?!

All-American High Revisited (Netflix)- A+

I finally got around to pulling this from my "to watch" list and I'm severely pissed at myself for hesitating so long. IT IS MAGICAL! The premise is this- a group of filmmakers followed around a California High School senior class for a whole school year in the early 80s, mainly focusing on an exchange student from Denmark, who was having a bit of a cultural awakening. Everything about it was so perfect like holding prom inside a mall and having a long haired surfer dude sing "Against All Odds" at graduation. I loved every minute and loved reuniting with where the different students were with their lives in present day. The movie was under 90 minutes, and to be truthful...I could have watched it for at least another 90. 

Amy (Amazon Free Streaming)- A

In a quest to watch as many Oscar contenders as possible, I was ecstatic that this documentary about Amy Winehouse was free streaming on Amazon. [Tangent: Lately Amazon has been dropping some real turd nuggets as far as streaming programming. I mean Mordechai?!?! Hot Tub Time Machine 2?!?!? Blergh.] I had heard from many that it was understandably depressing. and that was definitely THE TRUTH, but it really was a great homage to her talent and life cut much too short. Ive always loved her music, but more in a "had her song as my myspace song for a month" kind of way, so a lot of the movie was new information. The archival footage collected was super impressive. It was definitely eye opening and heartbreaking and everything you might expect from a doc about the decline of a star on the rise. 

Bible Quiz (Netflix) - A/A-

When I saw this added, my heart got 12 kinds of twitterpated because it reminded me of Jesus Camp. In my wildest dreams if it was 1/10 as good as Jesus Camp then it would be magic! It wasn't as great, but luckily I live for teen angst especially from real goody goody children, so I still enjoyed it thoroughly. [Tangent: Because as stated at the beginning of this post, I am a fallen Catholic, so this whole world of memorizing bible verses competitively is a bizarre universe for me. I must have said 20x aloud "This is really a thing?!"] I loved the students they chose to profile. You guys...this movie included not only a makeover sequence and sheltered teen flirting, but also prophetizing to people on the streets (who were NOT having it)! It had EVERYTHING!

Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, True Story of Canon Films (Netflix)- A

I love bad movies. A Lot. In fact I first heard about this doc when it was mentioned on my favorite podcast, "How Did This Get Made?" which is about the worst of the worst movies. [Tangent: This week, HDTGM is doing Teen Witch and I'm beyond excited. Top that! ]  The subject of the movie, Canon Films, made a line of very hastily produced low-medium budget films from the late 60s to early 90s. Among them: Over The Top, Death Wish and a bevvy of Chuck Norris films. The "Masterminds" behind the production company were a pair of Israeli cousins who took a very unorthodox approach to film making, mostly due to not understanding the language 100% and knowing very little about the movie industry. This mixed with complete fearlessness is a fun combo. [Tangent: I dare you not to keep a list of "movies to watch" during viewing. \We watched The Apple not long after because it looked so incredibly opulent and insane.] Basically, all you need  to know before you watch this documentary is- PREPARE FOR  BAT SHIT! Also, be prepared for LOTS of boobies! [Tangent: If you are a tit-a-phobe or don't love seeing weird violence and sex scenes with little explanation, then maybe this won't be your scene!] It's a must for anyone with an appreciation for cinema...good or bad.

The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne (Netflix)- A

Many of my friends have been pushing me to watch this film since it first popped up. Apparently my love of twisty true crime is obvious. Also, in case you suffered a concussion since paragraph two, you know I LOVE spry and kooky old people. This doc is about a 86 year old jewel thief, who may or may not still be active. To her, crime was more or less a fun hobby and watching her talk about it was incredibly engaging. [Tangent: It reminded me very much of my obsession with the book (and later the movie) Catch Me if You Can, which I read 4x in between high school and college. You start rooting for her because you like her so dang much!] Her life was so glamorous and interesting, and I am so glad it is being made into a movie. I can't wait to see Halle Berry as Miss Doris. 

What should I watch in March?!? 

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