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David Poland

By David Poland

BYOB Thursday

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29 Responses to “BYOB Thursday”

  1. Geoff says:

    Has any one seen the new Scorcese trailer? Looks interesting, I’ll be there.
    Since this BYOB, thought I would throw something out there….the end of the decade is coming up and I’m sure we’ll soon be seeing lots of lists of the best of the ’00’s.
    When I have trouble falling asleep, I sometimes do Top Five lists with movies in my head (yes, I’m a big fan of High Fidelity) and the other night, I was doing a Top Five Documentaries of the decade and damn if isn’t tough list. This was a REALLY strong decade for notable feature documentaries and I never even got to see the Al Gore or Penguin ones.
    Here is my Top Five (not in any particular order) of the best docs of the decade:
    – Touching the Void
    – Murderball
    – Grizzly Man
    – Super Size Me (yes, I know Spurlock has kind of become a joke, but really this film accomplished EXACTLY what it wanted to achieve and was very entertaining)
    – Man on Wire
    It’s really quite tough, because I had trouble throwing out Fog of War, Capturing the Friedmans, and King of Kong. And even though it doesn’t really hold up on further viewings, I did find seeing Farenheit 9/11 with an opening night audience of Chicago liberals to be quite a cathartic experience.
    What are your choices?

  2. chris says:

    Elsewhere, someone mentioned an actor as having the oddest career trajectory in Hollywood, but I’d like to suggest Jim Caviezel, instead. Has any other actor ever been in a huge hit (“Passion of the Christ”) and a medium hit (“Frequency”) and done less with it?

  3. 555 says:

    I would put Standard Operating Procedure on the Best Doc list, Errol Morris is a master storyteller. And I would like to see Zoo at least in the race for best docs of the ’00s.

  4. LYT says:

    I think part of Caviezel’s success issue is that he’s a conservative Catholic and won’t take parts that go against his values. Good for him that he has principles; but bad for a superstar career in big action movies or whatever.

  5. Aris P says:

    Caviezel was in a Malick film as well, of all things.
    Grizzly Man and Man on Wire are not only the best docs of the decade, but IMO should be on a best films of the decade list, period.

  6. Nicol D says:

    Will he not take roles that go against his values or is he not offered roles because of his values?
    That is a valid question.
    By the way, I just watched Outlander which is actually a fun ride, Highlander by way of Predator flick. He is also very good in it.
    I am also looking forward to him being in The Prisoner with Ian McKellan. This seems like a step in the right direction.
    If there ever is a Superman reboot and they go the Iron Man over 40 route I would love to see Caviezel get the role. He lobbied for Superman Returns and would be a perfect man of steel.

  7. jeffmcm says:

    Nicol, almost certainly both, to answer your totally-not-leading-at-all question.

  8. doug r says:

    Up is an allegory about Pixar-specifically Pete Docter. After making the stories inspired by his late buddy Joe Ranft, Carl misses his old storytelling companion and is a little bit lost- and has to take off on his own.
    The kid is us the audience, taken along for the fantastic ride. We’ve got some competence, but we’re still dorky. Carl’s also got to fight an old hero with some really cool ideas whose ideas can’t be released until the old hero gets out of the way.

  9. chris says:

    Yes to “Friedmans.” I love me some “The Heart of the Game,” too.

  10. jeffmcm says:

    Weren’t we just doing ‘top 10 horror movies of the decade’ last week?
    Here’s my top 10 documentaries for this decade, with the proviso that I’ve missed quite a few:

  11. Bowling for Columbine, One Day in September, Spellbound, Not Quite Hollywood, Up the Yangtze, Deliver Us From Evil, When the Levees Broke and Taxi to the Dark Side would make my list, but I freely admit to not seeing anywhere near enough docos (I’m trying to rectify that) and that I miss even the big ones (still haven’t got around to Grizzly Man).

  12. hcat says:

    I would put Winged Migration, Man on Wire, Heart of the Game and Grizzly Man in my list, but my top doc of the decade would have to be 51 Birch Street.

  13. chris says:

    Oh, and “Twist of Fate.” And “Deliver Us From Evil.” Man, it’s been a good decade for documentaries.

  14. hcat says:

    And while I am tired of remakes and sequels, I would love to see a fictional adaptation of Man on Wire. Perhaps Fincher directing Depp?

  15. Hopscotch says:

    I likie the Best Doc’s picks of the last decade idea.
    THE FOG OF WAR – has to be the top. That’s one of the best documentaries period.
    the rest in no particular order:
    Respected and liked Man on Wire, but not as much as the ones above.
    Have not seen Touching the Void, heard it’s amazing.

  16. Hopscotch says:

    Gunner Palace is another one I liked, respected.
    No End in Sight is clear cut, subtle and hits the subject head on. Great film.
    Why We Fight is solid.
    An Inconvenient Truth has its moments.
    Enron: Smartest Guys in the Room. Good not great.
    The one about the Fox News Channel was boring and pretty shoddy. The Bush’s Brain was too.
    It wasn’t for theatrical release but the Frontline documentary on Lee Attwater. Awesome. Political junkie snuff film if you will.

  17. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    I think some Hotbloggers need to expand their viewing horizons. From the looks of things here, most don’t watch foreign docs or attend any film festivals. Those mentioned are all populist docs, that hogged all the press and in my opinion not close to the best of the decade. However if you’re doing THE BEST KNOWN DOCS of the last decade then yes these lists look correct. Sometimes the heavy waft of apple pie, fuck ma daughter, good ol USA is a bit much round these parts. I’m not going to mention any titles because it appears that most here don’t like subtitles or stories that aren’t REAL AMERICAN. Anyone who mentions that staged piece of shit SUPERASS ME as one of the best docs needs to hit puberty and realise the difference between reality tv and documentaries that tackle worthy subjects. Eating junk food makes you gain weight. Oh thank fuck someone spent 90m telling me that.

  18. The Big Perm says:

    Then why not some to see?
    I just got Netflix which has been nice because I’ve been getting a lot of docs. Usually they’re not something I’d rent, because I rent movies fairly rarely and if I go to the video store once a month, a doc is not something I’m going to get.

  19. christian says:

    OVERNIGHT comes to mind as one of the best docs, ragged tho it be. Has Lex seen this?

  20. jeffmcm says:

    JBD, I think if you’re going to go on a rant like that, you might as well give us some of the titles you think are being underseen or unmentioned. Otherwise you’re just whistling dixie, so to speak.
    I don’t go to a lot of festivals, but when I see documentaries at them, they tend to be mediocre at best.

  21. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Jeff where else do you expect to find good docs if not festivals? Sure there are always mediocre ones but these days I prefer a mediocre doc over a mediocre feature. Even in poorly made docs there’s something to learn, you can’t say that from useless features. Don’t wait til the populist ones get a big release. Here’s a few I think are excellent from the last 8 years or so.
    The Gleaners and I, South: Shackleton & the Endurance, Bus 174, Little Dieter Needs to Fly, Calle 54, East Side Story

  22. I’ve seen a few of them, JBD and they weren’t wildly better than any of the ones I listed. And the ones I haven’t seen but that I have heard of I want to see… but I also want to see a lot of other movies. Sometimes it’s just hard to see every single movie that gets a one cinema release and a bare DVD release (and being from Australia a lot of them have not been released period).

  23. Geoff says:

    Well, thanks, JBD….there’s always one out there. Any music discussion or movie discussion, there’s always one who has to proclaim how THEY have seen it all, seen the best, and how the rest of us only watch or listen to the stuff that’s just darn “mainstream.” Give it a rest, will you?
    Some of us don’t have the time to attend all of the festivals that you do or continously seek out only the “foreign” docs. My wife and I each work about 60 hours a week (and I love my job) and have two young children – I love movies and try to seek them out any chance I can. And I feel very fortunate to live right outside a very cosmopolitan city where I feel it’s a privelege to be able to see a movie like Man on Wire in an actual movie theater right around the time it’s getting released in cities like New York and L.A.
    And I’m not going to apologize for really digging Super Size Me – it’s a fun and entertaining doc. We all have our suspect pleasures – are you going to tell me that every film you love is by Ken Loach???? Highly doubt it. You wanna be Jack Black in High Fidelity….go to town.

  24. jeffmcm says:

    “where else do you expect to find good docs if not festivals?”
    Arthouse theaters and DVD, where every title you mentioned wound up. I saw half of those movies and wouldn’t rank any of them in a top ten, with the exception of Little Dieter Needs to Fly, which would definitely place in my Top Ten Docs list…for the 1990s. I’ll also replace Spellbound with Waltz with Bashir (gimme a break, it was late).
    In honor of Herzog, though, I’ll knock Murderball out of my list and replace it with Encounters at the End of the World.

  25. leahnz says:

    ‘waltz with bashir’ had a profound effect on me, very unexpected

  26. Oddvark says:

    I wish I could be more original, but from the limited scope of documentaries released in the ’00s that I have seen, my favorites were:

    Capturing the Friedmans
    Control Room
    Deliver Us From Evil
    The Fog of War
    Man on Wire
    Sound and Fury
    A State of Mind (my non-mainstream pick)
    Step Into Liquid (do surf movies count?)
    Touching the Void

    Some others that have not been mentioned that I enjoyed seeing include: Darkon, Dig!, Dogtown and Z-Boys, Flag Wars, Kurt Cobain: About a Son, OT: Our Town, Our Daily Bread, Rock School, Up For Grabs, War/Dance, and Young @ Heart.

    And if you want to see a good doc in theaters now, check out Pressure Cooker.

  27. hcat says:

    If you liked Step Into Liquid I would also suggest Riding Giants. Fantastic doc about the history of surfing.

  28. Bob Violence says:

    Other unmentioned faves:
    S-21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine
    West of the Tracks
    Domestic Violence
    Los Angeles Plays Itself
    The Century of the Self

Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon