Blogathon for SSA: Documentaries

Saw the Avengers last weekend. Or was it the weekend before? I forget.

Which kind of tells you something.

I was all prepared to be hugely excited about this movie. What with being a giant Joss Whedon nerd and all. But I found it a little “meh.” It was fine, it was reasonably enjoyable; but I kind of felt bludgeoned by action sequences, and not particularly carried away by the story. Maybe it’s because I haven’t seen the other superhero movies that led up to this one, and I don’t read these comics… so the story may have been tapping into deep, complex depths of backstory that I just wasn’t getting. But in fact, I can’t remember the last time I saw a feature film that really excited me. “The Ledge,” I guess.

On the other hand, I can easily remember a recent-ish documentary that really excited me. “Black Power Mix Tape.” And another: “We Were Here: The AIDS Years in San Francisco.” And in fact, over the last several years, almost all the films that I can easily call to memory are documentaries. “Super Size Me.” “Good Hair.” “Sicko.” “Stonewall Uprising.” “Freedom Riders.” “Exit Through the Gift Shop.”

I can’t decide if we’re in a golden age of documentaries, or if feature films have gotten less interesting… or if I just have a fetish for reality.

I prefer non-fiction books to novels, too. So maybe it’s the latter. Then again, I kind of think that writing is going through a golden age of non-fiction,. So maybe there’s a “golden age of reality” thing in our culture. Thoughts?

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Comments

  1. says

    “Golden Age of Reality” ! That’s a keeper.

    There’s a delightful alt theater in our town, specializing in unusual, foreign and domestic films. It is truly a gem and very special. One of the best films we’ve seen there is Man On Wire, a documentary about Philippe Petit, the tightrope walker who crossed the chasm between the World Trade Center towers. I don’t know why but I simply wept with joy when I saw it.

    Yeah, The Avengers was OK, too. Pretty good movie.

  2. David says

    Documentaries, especially the documentaries you listed, can help reaffirm your worldview more easily than fiction can. You seem to value your worldview, so it makes sense that you’d enjoy a documentary that portrayed the perspectives you hold in a positive light (regarding health care, proper eating, LGBTQ rights, Black rights, anti-consumerism). Call it a fetish for reality if you like, I suppose. But given that conservatives would point to documentaries like “Border War” and “Michael Moore Hates America” as portraying reality (and surely they do, with as much opinionating as Spurlock or Moore’s films), I’d probably call it a “fetish for my own opinions.”

    I don’t watch/read any conservative media either, so I’m certainly not saying it’s wrong to watch liberal documentaries, but I don’t think it’s accurate to say “because I enjoy reading and watching things that support my view, we are in a golden age of reality.”

  3. Brad says

    The Avengers is definitely more enjoyable if you’ve seen all the prior Marvel films; lots of building on prior characters, and tons of references and inside jokes:

    * Ironman
    * Ironman 2
    * The Incredible Hulk
    * Thor
    * Captain America: The First Avenger

    Hulk was the weakest of the films, IMO. Captain America was my favorite, until Avengers.

    If you do work up the motivation to go back and watch, make sure to fast-forward to the end of the credits, there is always a teaser-promo for one of the later films. The one at the end of Avengers was my favorite!

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