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Archive for the ‘Documentary’ Category

Streetwise and American Heart

Wednesday, May 14th, 2003

both directed by Martin Bell

Well this is an incredible, classic documentary and a pretty good narrative type companion piece, and both were filmed in Seattle and now that I saw them I wonder why in fuck’s name I took so long getting to them. The real winner of the two is STREETWISE, academy award nominated documentary about runaway kids on the streets of Seattle in 1984. The story behind this is that the photographer Mary Ellen Mark (web site) was doing a photo essay for LIFE magazine. At the time Seattle was considered one of the country’s “most livable cities” (imagine that) so she thought it would be the perfect place to photograph homeless kids. If it can happen in seattle then shit, it can happen anywhere. Well the photo essay turned out good so she decided to get her husband Martin Bell to direct a documentary about the same kids she took pictures of. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

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Wednesday, January 1st, 2003

Well I’ve been on a documentary kick the last couple weeks and I been meaning to see this one since it first came out, for reasons that do not need to be explained. If you’re stupid, well I’ll just explain it to you then, it’s because this documentary is about people who Write for the world wide web type medium. You know what I mean? Do I have to spell it out for you?

What I’m getting at here is that I also Write for that same medium. If you have not seen my web sight, it is the one you are reading right now. Check it out.

This movie focuses on the web when it was first becoming a phenomenon, and in particular it focuses on the web journal type web sight. Although at times my sight can be PRETTY fucking personal, I have never quite understood that type of web sight. Because everybody likes to Write all about themselves, yeah, but who the fuck wants to read it? At least I talk about Vin Diesel and shit, to reel them in. I don’t think I’ve ever sat down and read somebody’s random musings of the day. Not to be harsh but I really don’t give two and a half fucks about your relationships, even if you do Write in all lower case. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Hated: G.G. Allin and the Murder Junkies

Wednesday, January 1st, 2003

Supposedly this is the highest grossing student film of all time. It’s only about 50 minutes long and it’s a documentary about one of the shittiest and most unlikable rockstars who ever lived. But it’s great entertainment. The film was directed by Todd Phillips, who went on to do a controversial HBO documentary called Frat House and then the teen comedy Road Trip. In that one there was some dude who put a mouse in his mouth and that was supposed to be the ultimate grossout. Well obviously the individuals who said that haven’t heard of Hated.

You see when I said GG Allin was the shittiest rock star who ever lived I meant that literally. One of this dude’s trademarks was that he would take a shit on stage and then wipe it all over his face and ass and throw it into the audience and etc. Or one time he takes a banana and sticks it up his ass and then mushes it up and throws it out there. Basically, he is like the most mentally illest motherfuckers you ever come across in the correctional system, but with a microphone. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Bowling for Columbine

Saturday, October 12th, 2002

This is a tricky review to write because what I really want isn’t for you to give two shits what I think about how well this movie is made or how entertaining it is or whatever. What I want is for everybody just to go out and see this movie, bring as many friends as they can, then go for food and discuss it. Then go to the vernanda group on yahoo and discuss it with me. You can have your own personal oprah book club with this picture. It’s an interactive movie, it requires feedback. Because it asks a simple, very timely question – why in the hell is there so much violence in america? – and then it leaves it to you to answer it.

Now that’s not what some of the reviews will tell you. But I mean come on, you don’t trust those other assholes do you? Opinions about Michael Moore are like assholes, only assholes have them (or whatever mark twain said, I can’t remember). Alot of people expect Mr. Moore to be preaching to the converted or telling you what to think or something. They expect it so much that they sit there and watch this movie that doesn’t even come close to doing that, and then they leave and describe some non-existent movie that is not the same one ol’ Vern saw. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer

Tuesday, October 1st, 2002

You know, there are alot of really spectacular documentary type pictures out there and it seems like a common feature to almost all of them is a really strange cast of characters that you couldn’t make up. Pictures like AMERICAN MOVIE, AMERICAN PIMP, GREY GARDENS, CRUMB, SALESMAN, DERBY, BIGGIE AND TUPAC, PARADISE LOST, WRESTLING WITH SHADOWS, BROTHER’S KEEPER, BEYOND THE MAT… these are full of these people that are too real to be in a fictional movie and yet somehow more interesting and bizarre than most of the people I ever end up hanging out with. Not that I’d want to hang out with that maniac with the lopsided head in PARADISE LOST, or Jake “The Snake” Roberts. The american movie dude seems kinds of cool, though.

But I mean how do they know it’s gonna happen that way? What if they zero in on a topic that in itself is fascinating but then it turns out all the people involved are pretty regular and don’t have anything funny to say about it? How is it that guys like the Maysles and this Nick Broomfield can have such high batting averages in this department? (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Outlaw Vern Reports On BIGGIE & TUPAC From SIFF!!

Monday, June 3rd, 2002

SPOILER ALERT !!

Hey, everyone. “Moriarty” here with some Rumblings From The Lab.

Vern is one of my very favorite Internet writers about anything, much less movies. A reformed outlaw who channelled his energy into writing about films after his last stint inside, he’s been a constant presence on the web for the last few years, and he’s got a voice all his own. Here he is with a look at the new documentary from the always controversial Nick Broomfield:

Dearest Harry and Moriarty,

It has been a while since I’ve had my works printed on your page there (ain’t it cool news) but this time I got somethin that I think will move your heart. I know how much Tupac and Biggie Smalls mean to you young people today so I’m sure both of you are very anxious to see BIGGIE AND TUPAC, the new documentary about them from Nick Broomfield (who directed the Heidi Fleiss picture and maybe more in this vein, KURT AND COURTNEY). Because Tupac means to a young man like Harry or Moriarty the same thing Bob Dylan or Johnny Cash meant to their dads, only with more tattoos and brighter colored suits. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Dogtown and Z-Boys

Saturday, April 27th, 2002

Okay so you’re familiar with skateboards, right? Well what this documentary is about is a specific team/subculture of the skateboarders, in the ’70s, in a wasteland of a beach resort in california. The team starts up around the Zephyr surf shop, a shop apparently known for its unique shaped boards and handpainted graphics inspired by hispanic gang grafitti around the neighborhood. The shop plucks up young street kids who know how to surf. During the off hours, when the waves aren’t good for surfing, they practice on their skateboards, going up concrete embankments, putting their fingers on the ground the way their favorite surfer did on the waves. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Pumping Iron

Tuesday, January 1st, 2002

I couldn’t tell you what made me decide to rent this one. I’m not a Schwarzenegger fan, I don’t like looking at gigantic veiny muscles, and I’m not really interested in finding out why some people are. And yet, for some reason, I bring this one home and watch it. And it’s pretty fuckin good.

First off I gotta warn you, there is some horrible fuckin music in this movie. It starts right at the opening and it’s hard not to turn it off. Once you get past it, you basically see a story about a bunch of blond oafs lifting giant metal things, grunting, sweating, making ridiculous faces, not knowing what else to do with their lives. A young Arnold Schwarzenegger turns out to be the star of this professional bodybuilding world, sort of the Michael Jordan who everybody talks about, hopes to meet, doesn’t think they can ever beat. They interview him and he talks about how he is really an artist, making a sculpture, only instead of clay he’s using his body. You know, like Michael Jackson or that french gal in the upcoming cronenberg picture. Or that guy that pounds nails through his dick. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

A Perfect Candidate

Tuesday, January 1st, 2002

How’s this for a horror story: this is a documentary about the time Oliver North ran for senator. It follows him on the campaign trail, with full access to the men operating his campaign. You see inside his bus, on the podium, and backstage. You see his opponents, particularly the democrat Chuck Robb. You see a journalist from the Washington Post who seems sort of shocked by the support for North, but seems to eventually be charmed by it. And you see his supporters.

So in a way this movie is like a way scarier version of TREKKIES. It’s one thing to fantasize about a gangbang with Chewbacca but it’s quite another to want Oliver North in a position of power again. The sad thing is that these are not just a few isolated freaks, there are hundreds of them in Virginia. Old ladies who defend the confederate flag, and complain that blacks see racism in everything. Middle age guys who sing right wing anthems in the style of Talking Heads. Young people who chant “Ollie! Ollie! Ollie!” instead of “Ali!” like they’re supposed to. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Derby

Tuesday, January 1st, 2002

If you manage to find a video of this obscure 1971 documentary, you might think it’s gonna be a behind-the-scenes look at roller derby. Which is a phoney sport they used to have, kind of like pro wrestling, Harlem Globetrotters, American Gladiators or Olympic ice skating. What the sport was, I think, was people rolling around in a rink with rounded walls, then they knock each other over and start getting mad at each other and that type of shit.

What you really get though is a little slice o’ american culture, focusing on this one particular dude who decides to quit his job at the factory to pursue roller derby. He goes back stage to talk to one of the pros (you’re not sure if the filmatists set this meeting up or not) and then tells his wife he’s gonna do it, he’s gonna go to a school and train and give it a shot. And she says okay, if that’s what you want to do. She’s real supportive. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.