Spent the weekend with, among other things, some documentaries, including The Queen of Versailles, which a friend calls: Schadenfreude: the movie. It starts off like one of those annoying reality TV shows where you look at people who are rich in a really gross way and all braggy about their gold-plated toilets, etc. Then it takes a turn for the worse. Either way…beh. People kind of loved this, but me not so much. But watch it on YouTube and decide for yourself.
I also took a peek at Invisible War, an earnest and straightforward expose of the ugly and high incidence of rape in the military, made uglier by the cover-ups. It’s a great example of a doc that started a congressional hearing, but is not in itself art; it’s excellent investigative reporting. This would have been astonishing as a short, like one of those 60 Minutes segments from the 70s that made you go, holy shit. I wish it were one third the length. Of course, one always feels like a complete dick criticizing a movie that both addresses a thorny issue and spurs people in power to do something about it. But I do believe that a critic has an obligation to go beyond bitching and whining “I don’t like it” and actually say, hey, this was good, but it could maybe be more effective, or at least, a conversation can be had agreeing on whether something could be more effective or not. And sometimes a poem is more effective than an essay. I mean, just look at this trailer; it starts off gangbusters, but then it gets diffused by too many people saying the same thing. Once again, judge for yourself as you can watch this one on YouTube.
Now I LOVED Beauty Is Embarrassing: The Wayne White Story. One of the original Pee-wee’s Playhouse puppeteers leaps from his current tongue in cheek art to his philosophy to his resume to his marriage to his kids and back again. Wayne be nimble, Wayne be awesome. Get it.