Doc Club- Bill Cunningham New York

Premise: Bill Cunningham is a street fashion photographer in New York and has documented the fashion scene for the last 50+ years.

My Thoughts: Bill is just a really happy and humble guy that loves what he does and has devoted his life to it. In parts he seems lonely its really just him, his camera and the streets of the city, but that simple life makes him happy which is inspiring.  I enjoy learning about and following fashion so this was an interesting subject.

TLDR:Watching this made me really happy.

Availability: Streaming on Netflix

Length: 1h 24min

Doc Club- Mads Brügger

Mads is a Danish documentary maker that takes a very different approach to documentaries than most. He completely inserts himself in a situation and films in secret. The nature of his films are to expose political corruption in a captivating and somehow comical way.

Premise:

The Red Chapel– Undercover, Mads and two other Danish men pose as a comedy troupe on a cultural exchange. Not surprisingly the government officials censor the routine. This is a very funny but emotional film. One of the men is born in North Korea with a physical disability and if he was not adopted by someone into Denmark, he would have not survived this long as North Korea has been accused of disposing those with disabilities.

The Ambassador– Mads is able to purchase a diplomatic title and a diplomatic passport from Liberia and pose as an ambassador to the CAR. Again, undercover, Mads exposes corruption in the CAR specifically around the diamond industry.

My Thoughts: These are the most enjoyable documentaries I have seen. Mads takes a very comical approach to these dangerous situations that will in ways remind you of Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat character. I watched these wide eyed at the dangerous feats he is able to accomplish- much less film! These keep you captivated by humor but make a big political point around corruption.

Availability: Streaming on Fandor (its an app, first week is free, $9.99/mo)

Length: 90ish min each

Doc Club- A Piece of Work

Premise: Joan Rivers, all about her life, the highs, lows and why she still had an active career up until the end.

What You’ll Learn: All about Joan’s life.

My Thoughts: Before watching this documentary, I had no real opinions of Joan Rivers (if anything, slightly negative because of the plastic surgery stuff), after watching this, I have a lot of respect for Joan. I wouldn’t have necessarily sought out the film, but I really enjoyed watching it.
Joan is a hard working lady that busted into an industry littered with men and carved out a place for herself. I know I’m sounding like a broken record here, but I saw this one at Sundance and after the film- Joan came out for Q&A! She was SO sharp and funny.

Availability: Streaming on Netflix

Length: 1h 24min

Doc Club- Living on One Dollar

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This is totally a by proxy review. I have actually not seen this movie but Jake brings it up so much in conversation that I’m going to be watching it soon. Perhaps not before the end of the month so I figured I should write about it now.

Living on One Dollar follows the journey of four friends as they set out to live on just $1 a day for two months in rural Guatemala. They battle hunger, parasites, and extreme financial stress as they attempt to survive life on the edge. An unimaginable reality for most young Americans, the challenges they face are real and plague over 1.1 billion people around the world. While the friends quickly learn there are no easy answers, the generosity and strength of Rosa, a 20 year old woman, and Chino, a 12 year old boy, give them resilient hope that there are effective ways to make a difference.

This is a family friendly film, Jake saw it while looking under Children and Family Section of Netflix. Never can start too soon teaching Wyatt empathy for those around us.

Available on Netflix – 56 min. (ha ha 56 days, 56 dollars, 56 minutes Kay will enjoy that!

Doc Club- Banksy Does New York

Premise: Banksy took residence in New York for a month, this film follows the hype/hysteria that followed his 30 day art project.

What You’ll Learn: This is an in depth look at all the art pieces that Banksy did and the reactions from people that lived there. Some of the pieces were commentary in the same way ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’ was commentary.

My Thoughts: This was a nice lighthearted film. I think I watched it while I was doing laundry (so it doesn’t require 100% of your attention). This is a good compliment to the ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’ documentary I wrote about last week. I really enjoyed this one.

Availability: Streaming on HBO Go

Length: 1h 19min

Doc Club- Bhutto

Premise:   This film brings you through the life of Benazir Bhutto, her rise to power and eventual death. While nothing like Evita, its also a story about a strong woman is a country that is not my own, her rise to unlikely political leadership and how a country eventually mourned the leader’s death.

What You’ll Learn: I learned a lot about Pakistan, the life of Benazir Bhutto, her family and legacy.

My Thoughts: I recently read I am Malala (really good) which is also set in Pakistan and she mentions being inspired by Benazir Bhutto. This film filled in a lot of the historical political knowledge that I didn’t have about Pakistan that was helpful as I was reading Malala’s book. I am really embarrassed that the first time I watched this movie was at a Sundance middle of the week midnight showing, I somehow fell asleep to only find out that her children were also in the theatre watching the documentary. I really learned a lot and found a lot of value in watching the film and would recommend it to others.

Availability: Streaming on Netflix

Length: 1 h 51 min

Doc Club- The Square

Premise:   This a street level view of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution that began the Arab Spring. The ‘Square’ refers to Tahrir Square which is where a lot of the main action of the revolution was set.

What You’ll Learn: The Egyptian Revolution from the point of view of those that were actually leading the revolution. I have a hard time following along why conflict exists in the Middle East, who the players are, where the conflict stems and this helps make some sense of it all.

My Thoughts: This was another film I saw because it won the documentary award for audience choice at Sundance. The amazing thing was that the documentarian was at the festival and at the end of the film, she taught the audience a chant that they chanted in the square. There should have been more people in the film at the Q&A, but the documentarian said “Somehow these guys can dodge bullets in Egypt, but they get lost finding the library in Park City, Utah?”. This is a really high quality and incredible film- it was even nominated for an Oscar a couple years ago.

Availability: Streaming on Netflix

Length: 1h 44min

Meatloaf

I just wanted to share a favorite dinner around here. It is very quick if the meat is thawed and it gives me an hour to do whatever I want (or actually whatever Wyatt wants) while it cooks.

Ingredients: (all of these measurements are approximate I really don’t measure anything)

1lb. ground turkey
1 lb. Italian pork sausage (raw ground)
2 eggs
1/4 cup of ketchup
1/4 cup of BBQ sauce
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1-2 slices of bread
just enough milk to make it moist but not soupy

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Mix it with your hands, the gross part 😉 Then put it in a loaf pan.

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Cover with a layer of BBQ Sauce.

 

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Cook at 350 degrees for about 60 minutes.

I put slices on paper towel and then plate them. If you use instant mash potatoes, this is the quickest meal ever!

Enjoy!

Doc Club- Exit Through the Gift Shop

Premise:   An odd man (Mr Brainwash) attempts to create a documentary about graffiti artists and gets swept up in the street artist culture.

What You’ll Learn: The world of graffiti artists, highlighting the term artists and commentary on the way money influences art.

My Thoughts: I feel like Michael L would have an impressive rant in support of the things this documentary makes a point about, I want to hear it if I’m making a correct assumption. I didn’t know much about Banksy or other successful street artists before I watched this documentary. Its not only educational but really entertaining and enjoyable to watch- this would be fun to watch with a group and just as enjoyable the second time you watch it. There’s a theory that My Brainwash is Banksy’s puppet and this is not actually a documentary, but scripted. I’m trying hard to not give spoilers.

Fun Fact: This was a Sundance film, (I didn’t see it at the festival) but Banksy was in town that year during the festival and left a handful of paintings around Park City- there’s one that’s right on mainstreet and framed

Availability: Streaming on Netflix

Length: 1h 26 min

Doc Club- Sagrada: The Mystery of Creation

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When I was searching for a picture of Sagrada Familia I came across one image that said, “A Church Too Big for Pictures”. This church is so large that it is difficult to understand the magnitude until you watch this documentary. When it first started it was a Roman Catholic Church, then a Cathedral, and now it has been designated a Basilica by Pope Benedict XVI.

Sagrada: The Mystery of Creation is a fascinating documentary of the creation of this church that was started in 1886 and is still not complete today. In history, you remember reading words like, “It took 200 years to build _____.” That kind of creation is being built in Barcelona, Spain right now and most of us are unaware.

When I had seen pictures of this church before I had been a bit repulsed by it to be honest. I’m not a fan of ridiculously ornate structures in general and I would say Gaudi wasn’t my favorite architect. After watching the documentary though I came to respect him and his vision more and appreciate this huge undertaking that these people are trying to finish.

My favorite part of the documentary is about the facades. Gaudi died suddenly when he was hit by a tram. He is buried on the site. He hadn’t completed designs for all the facades. The Nativity Facade was Gaudi but the Passion and the Glory are designed by other people. Do you think they should have been designed in Gaudi’s style or if Gaudi was a modernist should they be as modern as they can? Is it the master or his vision that you trying to preserve, protect, and be faithful to? That is the central question I came away with.

If you enjoy history, questions of artistic creation, architecture, beautiful choir music, or travel I think you would enjoy this film.

Available on Netflix 1hr. 30 min.