Walter Mencken 11 a.m., Nov. 27
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King of Documentaries
I went and saw the Hunter S. Thompson documentary last night.
It was a bit disappointing. I always thought Thompson was a bit overrated as a "gonzo" journalist. But when I saw commercials for the movie, it looked great. It was one of those movies where the commercial looks a lot better.
It was slow, and just not as exciting as I thought it would be. It seemed like something that should've shown on regular TV. Which, if you think about it...most documentaries have that feel.
I saw "Bigger, Faster, Stronger," a few weeks ago. That was the documentary on steroids. I loved it. It's about a kid that grew up being fat, became a weight lifter and steroid user. He stops taking them, but his brother, a championship weightlifter and high school football coach, doesn't. His other brother, who dreams of becoming a professional wreslter, also dabbles in them.
He has a Christian mother, who is very naive. And, aside from the steroid aspects of the film, he is on a quest to meet Arnold. And when he finally does, it's one of the funniest things you'll ever see in a movie. It's the kind of great documentary that Michael Moore used to be able to make before he became insane.
My girlfriend hasn't stopped talking about "King of Kong -- A Fistful of Quarters," since we saw that a year ago. She even bought the DVD. That was a great documentary on the video game record holders, and the lengths the go to to break and keep, records. And yes, they're as geeky as you'd imagine. Go rent this movie.
I thought about seeing that new movie by Herzog, something about "To the End of the Earth"...where he follows a bunch of guys around Antartica. I liked his movie "Grizzly Man," well enough. And all the write-ups say it's a good film.
But it's always hit and miss with documentaries.
I feel like if you spend $11 on a movie, it should have movie stars, not a narration. Sure, when I see something like "Super Size Me," or "Spellbound," it's well worth the price of admission. But so often, they're disappointing.
I remember Siskel & Ebert not only raving about "Hoop Dreams" being the best documentary they had ever seen. They named it the best movie of the year when it came out. Well, it is interesting. And took a long time to make (following two youth basketball players with lots of potential, for 10 years)...But I think every documentary I mentioned in this blog, is better.
I'm going to L.A. this weekend, and while I'm there I'm thinking about checking out the documentary Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys did. It's about basketball, and is being compared to "Hoop Dreams." It's only playing in Los Angeles and New York, which could be a bad sign.