Archive for the ‘Documentary’ Category

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…)

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…)

Outlaw Vern Reports On BIGGIE & TUPAC From SIFF!!

Monday, June 3rd, 2002


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…)

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…)

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…)

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…)


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 Gets SCRATCHed At SIFF!!

Saturday, June 16th, 2001

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

It has come to my attention that some of you are less than thrilled with the stylings of Vern, one of our infrequent contributors. That’s a damn shame. I think Vern rules. I would print Vern reviews if he was just talking about what he had for lunch. I am pleased as fuck (see, I can say it, too) to print this review of a film I adore, SCRATCH, which I reviewed before Sundance, and I also wrote about the SCRATCH live event at Sundance, one of the highlights of my year so far. We’ve also had glowing responses from John Robie, Monki, and others as the film has played at various festivals like South By Southwest and the current Seattle Film Festival. That’s where Vern saw it. Check out what Vern’s got to say, and if ya don’t like it, then as the great Kurtwood Smith once said in the also-great ROBOCOP, “Bitches… leave!”

So everybody keeps telling me Vern, you’re in Seattle. You gotta go see this movie called CHOPPER. It’s about this Australian ex-con maniac. It’s right up your alley Vern, come on bud watch it. And I REALLY want to see this movie. So somehow I end up missing it and seeing a documentary about moving records back and forth on a turntable to make weird freaky type noises that the kids do now. Which they call scratchin.

SCRATCH is a good one though, boys. The movie starts out with a basic background on the rapping music, breakdancing and etc. Then it moves into today’s “deejays” who are the folks who just… I don’t even know what these fellas are doing. But it’s two records and they just… whicka whick scratchety fresh, is basically the noise they make. Hard to explain. (read the rest of this shit…)

Wadd: The Life & Times of John C. Holmes

Friday, January 12th, 2001

If you don’t know who John Holmes is, he was a dude who had a 13″ long dick. That’s about it. He was one of the first porn superstars, then he was involved in some murders and died of AIDS. This is his story.

WADD is pretty much a standard documentary, lots of talking head interviews, still photos, archival footage. It uses the old format of starting with clips of comments you will hear later in the movie, and wrapping up with each interviewee saying a couple final words about Holmes. The IMDB says that the director did a couple other documentaries, one about the Civil War and one about WWII. This is basically the same thing, only the archival footage generally shows Mr. Holme’s gigantic dick going into various mouths, vaginas, etc. The documentary is put out by a porn company called VCA, and the vhs even comes in a big porn sized box, so they didn’t have to be shy about actually showing what the dude did in his movies. (read the rest of this shit…)

Pimps Up, Ho’s Down

Wednesday, December 27th, 2000

Ever since I first saw American Pimp I have been meaning to see this competing “pimpumentary” which came out the same year and was covered in the same articles. Someone even told me it was way better because the pimps are crazier and flashier. But now that I’ve finally seen it I gotta say, I disagree. This is the poor man’s American Pimp. The made-for-tv American Pimp. This is the Carnosaur to American Pimp‘s Jurassic Park. If American Pimp is The Beatles, Pimps Up is a Monkees cover band. When they’re older and less inspired, and thinking of breaking up.

The filmatics in this one simply is not as good. American Pimp was finely sculpted in such a way as to explain the pimp culture, how they are viewed in society, what is important to them, how their job works, etc. Pimps Up doesn’t explain shit. It’s just a bunch of interviews, some of them very entertaining, but thrown together pretty much at random. Since I saw it on dvd it is the director’s cut, which I think just means they added in about 30 minutes of extra ass shaking. Alot of it takes place at strip clubs or at pimp conventions where they just have strippers shaking their asses alot. Which, sorry fellas, but it gets old. There are other documentaries which cover that territory better, many of them from companies like Vivid or Hustler. (read the rest of this shit…)