Join 3,512 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


"Best spring break ever, bro."
April 19, 2012 8:51 AM   Subscribe

10 Types of Documentaries We Can Live Without
posted by IvoShandor (80 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
I Like Killing Flies is a great doc. If you only watch one "WOW, NEW YORK CITY IS AMAZING!" documentary it should be Ric Burns' New York: A documentary film.
posted by mediated self at 8:58 AM on April 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


Nailed it on the greatness of "I Like Killing Flies" and "The Parking Lot Movie" and the crapiness of "The Wild and Wonderful Whites".

"The Parking Lot Movie" and I think "I Like Killing Flies" are both available on netflix streaming for those who subscribe.
posted by Science! at 9:02 AM on April 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


I enjoyed their snark until they said "Cropsey" was good but "Trekkies 2" was "a bit too much."

Cropsey sucked.
posted by ShutterBun at 9:03 AM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I say make the doc and let the audience decide if it's for them. Thanks to the democracy of cheaper equipment and distribution opportunities I've been able to watch docs on topics I never imagined possible ten years ago. Often the craft of the film making leaves something to be desired, but the story or topic is strong enough to make me glad I watched it. A few of those examples of bad docs seem pretty interesting and I'll seek them out. So thanks for that.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 9:05 AM on April 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


So many critiques of this, but let me start with confessing that I'm not a huge fan of "top 10 lists of things that show why ___ is awful" either.

I got to #6: “THE SECRET CONSPIRACY BEHIND ______!” and then thought "if they're gonna use generalization, then why didn't they generalize on the first point: “WOW, NEW YORK CITY IS AMAZING!” I mean, couldn't they have just gone and said "WOW, ____ IS AMAZING!" and also had the opportunity to complain about documentaries about cheese, or manufacturing, or really every other thing on the list.

But then I realized that I was complaining about the way people complain. And I pretty much stopped reading after that.

/shrug
posted by Blue_Villain at 9:05 AM on April 19, 2012


6. “THE SECRET CONSPIRACY BEHIND ______!”

You can have these documentaries when you pry them from my cold, dead hands. Although we can certainly get rid of the ones that use Dan Brown novels for the basis of the conspiracies they explore.
posted by griphus at 9:05 AM on April 19, 2012


Cropsey was way more interesting than it had any right to be.

On preview: (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
posted by Elementary Penguin at 9:05 AM on April 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Parking Lot Movie is one of the few documentaries that has actually put me to sleep. Ugh.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:06 AM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Most of them seem reasonable, but #3 (“HEY! LOOK AT THIS CRAZY SUBCULTURE!”) can be so good.
posted by postcommunism at 9:07 AM on April 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


I could live without lists of things that people hate, painstakingly categorized into genuses of loathing.
posted by the jam at 9:07 AM on April 19, 2012 [18 favorites]


Mostly gets it right in a vaguely smug manner, but at the risk of a derail, this comment about those who were young in the 60s wants to be addressed.

It’s easy to believe from popular media that everyone was “down with the struggle.” Plenty of deeply conservative people have described themselves in my presence as “an old hippie.” I don’t have proof, but I think way more people voted for Nixon back then than will own up to it now. He got elected twice after all.

To be clear, there were some young Republican types back then. Tricia Nixon and here crowd anyone? But in general, younger people of voting age did NOT vote for Mr. Nixon either time he won. They did what younger people of voting age have pretty much always done. They just didn't vote.
posted by philip-random at 9:09 AM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, as long as we're talking about documentaries, we just watched Mark of Cain (it's not Netflix Instant!) and holy shit does "a documentary about Russian prison tattoos" undersell it.
posted by griphus at 9:09 AM on April 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


I tried to disagree with it, but it's essentially right. Especially the New York movie thing. Basically don't set movies there anymore ever fiction or non. KTHNKS
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:10 AM on April 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Full disclosure: I once drove to Point Pleasant, West Virginia, specifically to see the Mothman statue.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:10 AM on April 19, 2012


Full disclosure: I once drove to Point Pleasant, West Virginia, specifically to see the Mothman statue.

I love that statue. The Mothman museum is kind of disappointing unless you love props from The Mothman Prophecies breathlessly described ("This styrofoam chain link was once in the presence of Richard Gere!").
posted by Copronymus at 9:14 AM on April 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Also, the Parking Lot Movie is actually pretty good.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:14 AM on April 19, 2012


My wife was telling me about Parking Lot Movie. She said it was supposed to be about how parking lot attendants are sometimes, like, so deep, man. She didn't think much of the evidence presented.
posted by DU at 9:14 AM on April 19, 2012


I could live without lists of things that people hate, painstakingly categorized into genuses of loathing.

Yeah, you know, they could break it all down into phyla and classes and orders and families too just for variety's sake at least once or twice. Or maybe break it down by date encountered and intersperse it with a moving commentary on the slow breakdown of the author's soul. Or use acrostics. There should definitely be more acrostic use in this genre, and in internet grousing generally.
posted by furiousthought at 9:17 AM on April 19, 2012


“HEY! LOOK AT THIS CRAZY SUBCULTURE!”

So long as "Darkon" and "Monster Camp" are acknowledged as the be-all, end-all of the genre, I would agree we don't need any more. But I doubt they're the end, rather simply a couple of pitch-perfect examples. The author seems to thing "simply because this is now a recognized (by me) trope, we're all done with this formula."

Sounds like the same kind of person who would rail against the (seven, nine, twelve, thirty-two "basic stories" in fiction as being cliche'd)
posted by ShutterBun at 9:18 AM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


She said it was supposed to be about how parking lot attendants are sometimes, like, so deep, man. She didn't think much of the evidence presented.

I wouldn't say "so deep, man" more "intersting characters" kinda like everyone's stoner friends that are still stoners working the gate at a college town parking lot at 35.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:19 AM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Full disclosure: I once drove to Point Pleasant, West Virginia,

What kind of a world do we live in where this sort of admission is compulsory?
posted by ShutterBun at 9:21 AM on April 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


This is all Michael Moore’s fault.
I say this every single day....

Also, did they really disable right-clicking on their website? Who does that???
posted by schmod at 9:21 AM on April 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


I could do with a lot more completely narration-free docs, like Our Daily Bread or Kestrel's Eye or even that surprisingly good Mana: Beyond Belief that popped up on Netflix a couple of months ago. Is there like a list of these somewhere?
posted by theodolite at 9:22 AM on April 19, 2012


I don't know about a list but you'd probably like Into Great Silence.
posted by griphus at 9:25 AM on April 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


45365 is a great little documentary about and Ohio town that is narration free.
posted by octothorpe at 9:26 AM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


OK, the first time I loaded that page it was just a series of out-of-context photos with silly captions. I thought it was like a post-modern top 10 list or something, making the comments here very strange.
posted by muddgirl at 9:27 AM on April 19, 2012


Wow pre-emptive critiquing. I really hope that this doesn't effect too many young, aspiring documentary makers.

The only thing that makes this post worthwhile is the links to the offending films.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 9:28 AM on April 19, 2012


I exhaled in relief upon seeing the list didn't include "Profile of a Shattered and/or Reclusive Musician with a Cult Following", 'cause I can watch those endlessly, even when I don't care about the music.
posted by bendybendy at 9:34 AM on April 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Then you should totally watch Jandek on Corwood if you haven't yet.

ANYONE ELSE?
posted by griphus at 9:36 AM on April 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


postcommunism: "Most of them seem reasonable, but #3 (“HEY! LOOK AT THIS CRAZY SUBCULTURE!”) can be so good."

If you liked that, you should check out Chasing Ghosts. Featuring most of the guys in that Time photo of video game champs.
posted by symbioid at 9:37 AM on April 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


we just watched Mark of Cain

I can't recommend Alix Lambert's book Crime enough.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 9:37 AM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


10 TYPES OF LISTS WE CAN LIVE WITHOUT
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 9:37 AM on April 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


Then you should totally watch Jandek on Corwood if you haven't yet.

The funny thing about that movie is that it was rendered obsolete almost instantly, because it's all these guys talking in hushed tones about how Nobody's Ever Seen Jandek and how mysterious the guy is, and then right after it came out he started doing live appearances all over the place.
posted by theodolite at 9:40 AM on April 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


If you haven't seen Dark Days you should. It's about homeless people living in NYC subway tunnels.
posted by Splunge at 9:46 AM on April 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


Well, yeah, but I honestly think there's still a sincere air of mystery around the dude. I've seen him play twice now and while I haven't had the pleasure of being backstage, he really did come off as the sort of dude who showed up five minutes before the show was to start, and left out the backdoor after the last song.

PS: If you're ever going to see Jandek live, go somewhere with comfy seats and ventilation. He cleared half the room during the show I saw last march, and these people knew exactly what they were going to see (albeit he only played the piano and some young woman did the singing.)
posted by griphus at 9:57 AM on April 19, 2012


"Look at this crazy subculture" movies are good IFF they make you feel empathy for a group you didn't expect to feel empathy for. Jesus Camp is a great example, but I'm convinced that a significant number of the people who talk about Jesus Camp have never seen it.
posted by roll truck roll at 9:59 AM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't know much about Jandek and I've never seen the movie, but isn't part of his schtick that you don't know whether the guy playing the concerts actually is Jandek? Doesn't he call himself "the representative from Jandek" or something?
posted by roll truck roll at 10:01 AM on April 19, 2012


I tried to disagree with it, but it's essentially right. Especially the New York movie thing. Basically don't set movies there anymore ever fiction or non. KTHNKS

I'll go even further. HEY ALL OF HOLLYWOOD, How about we stop setting movies in Southern California too. Palm trees and tax many people's suspension of disbelief. #bitter(ly cold) Canadian
posted by Popular Ethics at 10:01 AM on April 19, 2012


He didn't discuss length, but it's important. Heavy Metal Parking Lot would not work as anything but a short. But it was an excellent short.

I hadn't really thought about it,but I do prefer documentaries (except Ken Burns types) without narration, if only because I tend to interpret what's happening differently than the filmmakers, at times. And also because it lets the subjects speak for themselves.
posted by emjaybee at 10:05 AM on April 19, 2012


"A representative from Corwood Industries" is the usual tagline, but I've never actually seen him billed as anything except Jandek. During the last show one of the musicians referred to him in the third person as "Sterling" (I wasn't eavesdropping, I was just near the stage, thank you.) It's also been the same guy playing all the live shows, and that guy is the same guy as on the covers of the albums. So it's safe to say that Jandek is Sterling Smith, and that Sterling Smith has been playing the shows billed Jandek.
posted by griphus at 10:06 AM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, I just GIS'd him and there's a bunch of pictures of him hanging out and having beers with people but I maintain that his aura of mystery remains.
posted by griphus at 10:07 AM on April 19, 2012


Palm trees and ^beaches^ tax many people's suspension of disbelief. Sigh.
posted by Popular Ethics at 10:08 AM on April 19, 2012


Beautiful Losers was like a cross between #1 and #3:

"The greatest cultural accomplishments in history have never been the result of the brainstorms of marketing men, corporate focus groups, or any homogenized methods; they have always happened organically. Then Pepsi hires them."
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:10 AM on April 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've noticed that most of what passes for writing about culture online consists of making a list of What Sucks and backing it up with a paragraph or so of 'outrageous' invective. Nothing intrinsically wrong with that, but after awhile you get the urge to throttle the author and ask 'Well, what the fuck is good enough for you then?'

I suspect that the ubiquity of this approach stems from utter terror of being caught enjoying an uncool thing.
posted by jonmc at 10:23 AM on April 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


I have one type of documentary I avoid: the ones in which the filmmaker includes himself in the film or (worse) is actually the focus of the film. Yes, including Michael Moore. One of the worst offenders is on the lunked list: 10 mph, the one where the guys ride a Segway across the country for no goddamn good reason.
posted by Bookhouse at 10:23 AM on April 19, 2012


> I suspect that the ubiquity of this approach stems from utter terror of being caught enjoying an uncool thing.

That, plus the fact that if you want to be heard over the din of the internet it helps to be the one shouting the loudest.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:35 AM on April 19, 2012


Hey, he liked the movie I cut! (Cropsey) But ShutterBun didn't like it. So sorry, I'll send you back the $0.02 you paid Netflix to see it.
posted by fungible at 10:35 AM on April 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


I say make the doc and let the audience decide if it's for them

#3 (“HEY! LOOK AT THIS CRAZY SUBCULTURE!”) can be so good.


I don't disagree with either of those statements (and I really liked The King of Kong), but the combination of the two led to me renting something from Netflix about 8-Track subculture. And the five minutes I gave it seared a burning rage into my mind. So delicate, so precious, so twee . . . it made me want to murder all of them, especially the film maker who apparently used a sundial for pacing the film.

And I had a working 8-track player up until about 2000.
posted by yerfatma at 10:41 AM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I liked Cropsey quite a bit, actually.

But, then, a lot of that has to do with the WTF Geraldo Rivera Used To Be Good At Stuff. The rest is largely your classic “Wow, [Staten Island] is amazing!”
posted by Sys Rq at 10:49 AM on April 19, 2012


Unless you are doing a polemic, then you can't really know your story in advance. So you have naive optimism of the infinite possibilities of where the doc could go. Then, by the time you have actually explored the subject enough for it to start taking shape, the willful blindness can start to kick in that you have not sunk this much time in a subject that is trite, annoying and dull.
posted by RobotHero at 10:56 AM on April 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


And, really, there is one kind of "documentary" that can just fuck right off: The clones of VH1 talking head snarkfests (which are bad enough themselves) that don't even have any snark and are basically just people you've never heard of taking turns reading a random celebrity's Wikipedia entry. Might as well just broadcast a test card.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:01 AM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't see the appeal of The Parking Lot Movie. You work at a parking lot. So fucking what?
posted by broken wheelchair at 11:12 AM on April 19, 2012


broken wheelchair: I have not seen The Parking Lot Movie, but there is sometimes value to documentaries on things that at first glance seem inconsequential.
posted by RobotHero at 11:17 AM on April 19, 2012


Of course, many times it is inconsequential on the second and third glances, as well, you never know.
posted by RobotHero at 11:19 AM on April 19, 2012


Have I told you guys about my idea for a documentary? I'm going to follow around a diverse group of documentarians as they raise funding and shoot and edit and shop their documentaries around the festival circuit. There's the 24-year-old, Barnard drop-out trustafarian documenting the daily travails of the Bushwick fixie bicycle messenger community (One Gear, No Limits), the vegan Stargate Atlantis fan traveling the country in a camper van, attending Stargate conventions to further her campaign to gain acceptance for veganism within SGA fandom (What Would Sheppard Eat?), and the earnest husband and wife team of former newspaper journalists who are following an East St. Louis high school's struggle to save their after-school documentary film-making program (Lenses of Hope).

Of course, in the third act, the focus will shift to reveal that I, too, have been been experiencing the same ups and downs putting together this documentary (yes, the very one you're watching!) as my subjects have been. I'm calling it Untitled Documentary Project and the tagline is "When you gaze into your navel, the navel also gazes into you".
posted by mhum at 11:33 AM on April 19, 2012 [21 favorites]


I disagree vehemently & wholeheartedly with with the premise that all these documentary types should stop being made or we can do without any more. And the snobby attitude really irks me.

Stating that these movies fall into categories and pointing that out in a snotty way is one thing. Fine. Stating they need to stop making them is another thing all together. Should all artists stop painting landscapes in case one turns out bad? What about Sci-Fi writers, should they stop writing because it's just so done or their story follows some trope? The author themselves pointed out good documentaries in most of those categories. If we stopped making ALL of them, those might not have gotten made.

Good grief, yes some documentaries are going to be terrible or follow some trope, but let the watching public use critical thinking skills to filter out what's good and bad or too biased. If someone has a story to tell, I say tell it. There are gems out there. There are gems even in the most troped-out story.

I don't mind the "New York is Amazing" or "Ethnic Kid overcomes" or.. any of them, really. I love documentaries. I watch them to expose myself to people, places, cultures, slices of life, or problems & struggles (both big and small) from another perspective or flavor other than my own. I watch to learn, to think, to empathize and to connect to the world that is so much larger than myself.

Yes, some are terrible or terrible or silly or anything of those things. But there's some of that in every art form, isn't there?

So no, don't stop making any of categories. Personally, I think we can always use more.
posted by trixare4kids at 11:48 AM on April 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Have I told you guys about my idea for a documentary? I'm going to follow around a diverse group of documentarians as they raise funding and shoot and edit and shop their documentaries around the festival circuit.

Fishmonger out of Water
posted by roll truck roll at 12:02 PM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


By the time you have actually explored the subject enough for it to start taking shape, the willful blindness can start to kick in that you have not sunk this much time in a subject that is trite, annoying and dull.

Great point. Even with the new technology, skeleton crews, and cheaper editing, it's an amazing amount of time and effort to make documentaries. That's the main reason I've never tried it, after working on many: How many subjects are so fantastic that I'm willing to dedicate the next three to six years of my life doing it?

Also: pretty much every director I've ever worked with didn't want narration in their film. But sometimes the story can get so complex, and the subject can be so unwilling to relate what's happening to them, that it's pretty much the only way out.

Also also: He forgot the one overdone type of documentary that is actually ideal for those making it: The Sports Doc. (See Murderball, Spellbound, Word Wars, Hoop Dreams... even Waiting for Superman or Super Size Me can fall in this category) Always have your movie end with some kind of contest or event - that way you have a natural climax you're working up to - and you know when you can actually stop shooting! Sooo much easier.
posted by fungible at 12:06 PM on April 19, 2012


"Your favorite documentary sucks," would have been more concise and exactly as meaningful.

Why is everybody so concerned with proselytizing about the stuff they like? If enjoying it for yourself isn't enough satisfaction for you, maybe you should find better art or something.
posted by TheRedArmy at 12:06 PM on April 19, 2012


Not everything is great. But for each of these genres that we apparently can now do without, there are great examples. I mean, this sort of list could be made about any documentary ever made.

WHAT WE DON'T NEED

Any more documentaries about how strange the world is, and how unexpected its people are.

What the filmmakers think they're saying: Look at the wondrous variety of the human experience.

What the filmmakers are actually saying: Look at these weirdos.

Of course, it was done with some finesse in Nanook of the North, and Grass, and Inuuvunga: I Am Inuk, I Am Alive, and ...

Documentaries are good. There should be more and better. Instead of saying "Don't make these sorts of documentaries anymore," say "if you are to make them, here are some potential pitfalls."

New York is awesome. Ordinary people can have wonderful things to say. There are conspiracies that need to be exposed. Let's encourage this, and offer up criticism that will help people to do it better, instead of not at all.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:07 PM on April 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


While we're on the topic... American Zombie is a fun mockumentary about the problems zombies face trying to fit in to LA culture. The movie even has the accidental viewer embedded as a documentarian who is deeply disappointed in the mostly unsordid realities of zombie life..er, existence.

(Not livingist.)
posted by IAmBroom at 12:11 PM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


"The Ride" is nothing if not a "NEW YORK CITY IS AWESOME!" documentary, and it's really, really good.

I have one type of documentary I avoid: the ones in which the filmmaker includes himself in the film or (worse) is actually the focus of the film.

So not a Ross McElwee fan then, huh? Chacun à son goût, I guess. I love his films, but I get why people find them insufferable.

And as far as the "inner-city kids do remarkable thing" genre, I'll point out a good one (well, one I enjoyed, at least) -- "O.T." is about a high-school production of "Our Town" at a school in Compton, California. They have no budget, no stage, no lights, no nothing. The kids don't even really like the play. They can't use the gym, because the basketball coach won't let them. But the show goes on, the kids do THEIR version of "Our Town", and Lessons Are Learned. Which all sounds very trite and formulaic and it kind of is, but the film focuses on the kids and their families and I was just flat-out charmed by them.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:28 PM on April 19, 2012


the problems zombies face trying to fit in to LA culture

I imagine they might find it to be a bit of a "food desert".

I don't see the appeal of The Parking Lot Movie. You work at a parking lot. So fucking what?

Ah, see, that's why you've got to see the movie!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:40 PM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


trixare4kids: "I don't mind the "New York is Amazing" or "Ethnic Kid overcomes" or.. any of them, really. I love documentaries. I watch them to expose myself to people, places, cultures, slices of life, or problems & struggles (both big and small) from another perspective or flavor other than my own. I watch to learn, to think, to empathize and to connect to the world that is so much larger than myself.

Yes, some are terrible or terrible or silly or anything of those things. But there's some of that in every art form, isn't there?

So no, don't stop making any of categories. Personally, I think we can always use more
"

I dunno. My roommate's a documentarian, and I'll show him this article when I get home tonight to see what he thinks about it.

However, I have a pretty good idea of what his reaction's going to be: He'll agree with the article, but perhaps not the premise of the overly-broad categories. Most of the categories listed are full of uninspired and contrived films that got made because they were easy, or more cynically, because they were easy to fund.

Following from the mantra of "99% of everything is crap," when you lower the bar to entry for a certain medium or genre, that can quickly turn into "99.999% of everything is crap," especially when the creators are inspired by little more than fame and fortune. The only real way to achieve any sort of critical or commercial success in a 'safe' and well-trodden genre is to push the boundaries, or spend a crap-ton of money (Hi, James Cameron!)

They're like the Thomas Kinkade of documentaries: An unsettling pastiche of familiar themes and motifs that sell well with the American public, but lack artistic merit on their own.

Or they're just mean-spirited, which is a different discussion entirely. Documentarians who don't show any sympathy, empathy toward their subjects can go to hell. And, yes. This even holds true for the political stuff. Especially for the political stuff.

That doesn't mean that there aren't great films in any of these categories, but usually it seems to be limited to a small handful, followed by hundreds of copycats that fail to capture the essence of what made the original concept great.
posted by schmod at 12:45 PM on April 19, 2012


I would like to add: Any documentary that includes any re-enactment of historical events or modern interviews of historical characters.
The idea that you can make a subject more approachable by "showing the action" is directly inverse to the realities of "working on a shoestring budget".
posted by doctor_negative at 1:31 PM on April 19, 2012


I saw a rough screener copy of Cropsey back in 2007 and thought it was fantastic. I was glad to see it mentioned here (as I never knew it had become a thing.)

The thing is, documentaries are very hard to do well and very easy to get away with doing artlessly. They have a tendency to fall into a very basic rhythm and tone that I think we can all picture right now, and that tone is not particularly engaging. Now add to this the fact that every film student (I'm an old film grad myself. I sympathize.) can grab a DV cam and shoot their hearts out on whatever a 22-year-old thinks is the most profound or original subject (and they will not, for the most part, have watched as many docs as they think they have) and you get a worse and worse ratio of trash-to-treasure.

So yeah, telling those kids how to avoid the most frustrating cliches? Mentioning exceptions to the cliches which turned out very well? Pushing filmmakers to avoid doing more of the same?

I can get behind all of that.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:47 PM on April 19, 2012


I don't see the appeal of The Parking Lot Movie. You work at a parking lot. So fucking what?

I mocked my husband when he was watching it. After ten minutes, I was sucked in. It's truly... you just have to see it.

Watching the parking lot attendant tell a screaming woman in a $30,000 Lexus that she must have a very sad life if she was trying to cheat him out of $2 - amazing.
posted by sonika at 2:36 PM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


As a classic MeFi contrarian, I'm going to go ahead and say that reading that list was more amusing than actually watching a documentary.
posted by Apocryphon at 2:46 PM on April 19, 2012


“Despite the fact that the vast majority of environmental damage is caused by post industrial waste and can only be reversed by concerted effort on the part of governments and industry, saving the biosphere is your personal responsibility.”

Yay! We're all off the hook! It's exclusively the province of our masters!
posted by Zed at 4:37 PM on April 19, 2012


"The Ride" is nothing if not a "NEW YORK CITY IS AWESOME!" documentary, and it's really, really good.

I've never seen or heard of "The Ride" but I've seen "The Cruise" and it is one of the most amazing films I've ever seen. It's like one man's love letter to NYC and I don't have any strong feelings about NYC in particular.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 5:00 PM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


That Ashtanga NY movie was horrible, painfully, painfully horrible.

I really wanted the Dr Bronner movie to be better than it was. Barring that, it should have been half as long.

Tiny nitpicking: "Ramtha, the ageless celestial entity that speaks through some lady in Oregon" -- alas, that would be some lady in Washington. (Yelm, which is not far from where I live. As far as I can tell, there's quite a bit of tension between the Ramtha & non-Ramtha people. Plus the compound -- or at least what I've always assumed was the compound -- looks, well, compound-like. It says everything to me that JZ Knight claims Ramtha first spoke to her in a trailer home in Tacoma.
posted by epersonae at 5:03 PM on April 19, 2012


I've seen great and shitty docs in all these categories. My question is, what's left to make docs about, outside of this list?

*Turning to look straight into the camera*

What's left... INDEED?!
posted by Rykey at 5:08 PM on April 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Another plug for Parking Lot Movie, I loved it. Here's the trailer.

Actually, you know what, here's the entire film.
posted by Corduroy at 5:49 PM on April 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Metafilter: I bet people would pay money to watch these fuck-ups!
posted by jason's_planet at 6:25 PM on April 19, 2012


Oops. You're right, Justice. It was called "The Cruise". Of course. Cuz that's, like, dude's thing: "the cruise". Brain fart on my part. Thanks for correcting.

Fantastic documentary.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:06 PM on April 19, 2012


THE REAL STORY behind THE MOTHMAN. If that sounds awesome to you, you should watch it. You will get exactly what you expect.

It does sound awesome, but I'm not sure what to expect!
posted by Metro Gnome at 8:44 PM on April 19, 2012


That's kinda funny I sorta knew what you were talking about, BitterOldPunk.

Yep, the movie is that good!

It's on my "top 10 list of movies" that I would take with me if I were marooned on an asteroid.

Thank you for the reminder...I think it's time I took it out again for my 17th viewing.

I think I heard Levitch was giving tours in SF a few years ago...I wonder if he's still doing that now?

He's a hard guy to track down.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 2:14 AM on April 20, 2012


There's also a short movie called "Live from Shiva's Dance Floor" that's based on Speed's walking tour of Manhattan. It's as good as you would expect.

His website looks like it was last updated over a year ago, but it says he does walking tours in New York and Kansas City.
posted by roll truck roll at 8:25 AM on April 20, 2012


I watched The Parking Lot Movie last night and was all: "this is gonna suck, haha, stupid parking lot attendants". Then I just got sucked in, it wasn't until about 20 minutes into it but after that I couldn't look away. I really enjoyed it.
posted by IvoShandor at 1:45 PM on April 20, 2012


I'm way too intrigued not to watch it now.

Here's hoping the entire internet isn't pulling my leg and that it's actually as boring as it sounds.
posted by ShutterBun at 7:33 PM on April 20, 2012


« Older Described as a circus parade passing through a cem...  |  Your Logical Fallacy Is...... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments