Friday, February 24, 2017

Netflix (and Amazon and Hulu) Documentary Hits & Misses Vol. 24: February 2017

It's February, so I thought I should keep things a lil spicy and throw in a documentary from Amazon Prime streaming and one from Hulu. I have also been single-handedly trying to watch as many movies in Oscar contention as possible, because I love spreading myself paper thin with no consequence self-imposed goals. [Tangent: I will probably write about those before this weekend though, so it's not a completely wasted past time. I've watched all the best pictures and a great deal of the other nominated films.] Luckily one of these killed two birds with one stone as it is an Oscar-nominated documentary [Tangent: I'll give you a hint...it's not My Online Bride.]!

The National Lampoon: Drunk, Stoned, Brilliant, Dead- A (Netflix)
I'm embarrassed to say I didn't know the impact of The National Lampoon until watching this doc.  The basics of the titular movie series and some of the famous cartoons and stuff were familiar, but I had no idea about all the great minds like Harold Ramis, Chevy Chase and John Belushi that basically cut their teeth on Lampoon projects. I laughed uncontrollably at so many parts because they were simultaneously smart and stupid, which is my favorite combo. It's definitely not something to watch with your kids or parents because it's titties and sex galore, and a lot of the things stated are meant to be controversial, so remember that when you are watching. I feel like many current sites like McSweeney's, Reductress and The Onion can trace their roots to the Lampoon.

Glory Daze: The Life and Times of Michael Alig- A- (Netflix)
Confession: I have never seen Party Monster, [Tangent: Somehow it evaded me in college and I guess I like to remember McCauley Culkin as Kevin McCalister or Thomas J. Sue me!] so the story of NYC club kid, Michael Alig, was one I knew only vaguely, from nodding along in conversations about Party Monster. This movie follows his story from his humble small town beginnings to his tango with drugs and his eventual crime [Tangent: Bum....bum...bum...]. I am kinda glad I went in blind, because I LOVE any true crime angle and the colorful assortment of characters they interviewed was fantastic and everything was a surprise. Each interviewee was better than the last. I mean, I would expect no less from the 80's New York club scene. [Tangent: I don't think I have been more obsessed with documentary interview subjects since Bill Cunningham's New York. If you haven't watched that yet...make it a double feature.]

Life, Animated - A+ (Amazon Prime Streaming)
I have wanted to see this movie long before it landed an Oscar nom for best documentary. [Tangent: Sorry that sounded hella pretentious. I'm just saying that it was on my radar for a while, because it's about disability and the love of movies...so duh. I'm sold.] The movie is very raw and real but blends animation storytelling and Disneyana, and it is done in a way that is not at all hokey, which is impressive. It tells the story of a young man with autism, who at a young age was nonverbal and struggling to connect to his family, but eventually gained the skills through an obsessive love of Disney animated films. It truly made me feel fantastic. I watched it on a day where Jamie and I watched 4 Oscar nominated film, and by far this was our favorite [Tangent: Suck it, Hacksaw Ridge!]. Even though I'm pretty sure 13th is going to win the little golden man, I truly LOVED this movie.

Fursonas- A (Hulu or here)
You need really say no more than "a documentary about furries" and I am 100% scrounging for the roku remote to get it started before you can complete your thoughts. Thanks to my friends for pointing this one out to me because I am still new to Hulu and unleashing its possibilities. [Tangent: "Unleashing?" is that a weird furry pun? I can't even tell anymore.] I LOVE a strange subculture and learning what they're all about, and it appears the filmmaker behind this one was a furry himself, so his insider perspective was interesting [Tangent: Oh, btw...in case you are not aware of what I speak. "Furries" are people who dress in animal costumes as a means to reflect who they really are. It is sometimes a sexual fetish...sometimes not. There was debate on that within this film. ] There were so many moments that will forever be burned into my brain stem: The young gay man doing an elaborate dance routine in his animal suit. The charismatic leader at their gatherings, who gave off a decidedly David Miscavige vibe, at least in his messaging. And the creator and distributor of sex toys made for furries, which were disturbing and made me very uneasy (THAT'S SO HARD TO DO!). Also if it doesn't lead you to a long conversation about what your hypothetical "fursona" would be, I don't want to know you. By the way, we deduced I would be a rabbit...not that you care.

Most Valuable Players- C (Netflix)
Can I be honest,  even though I am a huge fan of musicals, I sometimes find theater kids a little obnoxious...okay...very obnoxious [Tangent: I know...I know...I am the most obnoxious person on the planet, so take that determination with a grain of salt.], Even still, watching a whole documentary about obsessive children spoke to my interests...because you know how much I love a Jesus Camp or a Magic Camp or even a Bible Quiz. I can't not watch a doc about awkward teenagers, it goes against nature. This doc, which I watched when I needed a break from seeing Trump on television, follows three high school theater troupes and their roads to the Freddy Awards ceremony, which is the Tony's for high school students. I love the idea that the arts get the same (or more) community hubbub as sports, but I was a little underwhelmed. I will say that my low rating may be attributed to the fact that (spoiler!) multiple schools were doing Les Miserables, which is one of my least favorite musicals.

My Online Bride - D (Netflix)
This is my third foray into movies about meeting a love online (specifically through "mail order bride" type scenarios), so I am an unofficial expert on this thing that is really weird to be an expert on. This one was a little boring, and if you think that subject sounds interesting watch Love Me or When Strangers Click...or just marathon a 90 Day Fiancee. Those are much better comparatively.  Thankfully, it is under an hour, which is a weird compliment for a movie.

SO MANY ALREADY ON MY LIST... and YES, I am gonna get to Deprogrammed in March. Promise! 

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