The number of movies being released each year has grown exponentially over the past 30 years. According to the MPAA over 600 films were released theatrically in 2011. Compare that to 135 films in 1980 (when I was a kid). There is simply no way for the average Joe to see, or even be aware of every great movie that comes out. To help curve this a bit, I would like to mention 3 documentaries that may have flown under your movie watching radar recently. These 3 docs are true storytelling gems that each highlight a different AllAmerican subject. While most everyone is aware of these icons, I would guess the majority of the population likely don’t know the deeply interesting history of each. I could expound on the why & what that makes each of them special but the best review I can offer, is in my opinion the best review any film can receive, which is…frankly they’re just a hell of alot of fun to watch. Here goes…
Special When Lit
Aside from being surprisingly enlightening about the origins of Pinball, what I most enjoy about this film is it’s sincerity. You’re connected to the history, the people and the story in a real way. As a kid, pinball often played 2nd fiddle to video games for me, but I do remember seeing all those old machines sitting at the back wall of my local arcade, mostly played by the old timers. After watching this doc I felt an unexpected sense of nostalgia and connected’ness to this uniquely American icon.
Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel
Roger Corman has written, directed or produced over 400+ films in his career, and every one of them made money! That’s unheard of in Hollywood, especially considering he’s been at it for over 60 years. Most of us have heard of his short list of big hits like ‘Death Race’, the original ‘Piranha’ or ‘Pit and the Pendulum’ but it’s the hundreds of others that leave any aspiring artist impressed. The word that kept popping in my head while watching this film was RESPECT. Love him, hate him, love his films, hate his films…you’ve gotta respect Roger Corman. He’s an artistic hustler and a genuine Holllywood Rebel. Seeing his story unfold in this highly entertaining doc will leave you inspired to ‘DO’ more and talk less.
Empire of Dreams: The Story of Star Wars
About 8 years ago the original Star Wars trilogy was released on DVD (Episodes IV, V & VI). It included a ‘bonus disc’ with over 8 hours of extras. While I’m certain every hardcore Star Wars fan found this almost 2.5 hour documentary on that bonus disc, it may have escaped the average watcher. Believe it or not, even if your not a big fan of Star Wars this film is an utterly fascinating look into American pop culture, politics and the Entertainment business, pre and post Star Wars phenomenon.