|4/1/2021 4:33:00 PM|
Let’s Get Real
This past year, when we haven’t been able to escape our homes much, who hasn’t enjoyed escaping via streaming? Whether it’s to the bawdy boudoirs of Bridgerton or the sophisticated 60s of The Queen’s Gambit, I’m in. However, I also enjoy a well-told true story, and there are many available on cable and streaming services right now.
Crip Camp – This 2020 Netflix original documentary is nominated for an Oscar and it is one of the best things I’ve seen this year. Crip Camp was Camp Jened, a New York summer camp established for young people with severe physical disabilities in the late 1960s. Counselors and campers are shown in original footage and in current interviews. The documentary contrasts the joy and freedom experienced by these young adults, where they say, for the first time, they feel accepted and “normal.” Outside of camp it’s another story as the teenagers face discrimination, bullying and limited opportunities. Crip Camp is poignant, emotional and enlightening, but also humorous and at times, a bit raunchy. I cannot recommend Crip Camp enough.
Tina – Don’t have HBO? Watch for a free preview, or try the service out for a month just to watch this riveting documentary on Tina Turner, one of the most phenomenal entertainers of our time. If you’ve seen the 1993 movie What’s Love Got to Do With It? you know Tina had a difficult life and that Ike Turner was not a good guy. There’s surprisingly little trash talk about Ike in this documentary, but it is no Tina pity party. That means more time is devoted to concert footage of Turner singing and dancing in her super cool costumes. Watching Tina, I was inspired by how often and almost effortlessly, and out of necessity, the superstar reinvented herself. It’s a fascinating and empowering journey.
The Last Blockbuster – If you are of a certain age (and aren’t we all?), you had a Blockbuster card in your wallet. You might remember that Tuesday was new release day and that feeling when you scored that hot DVD, or going further back, VHS. Want to revisit those days? You need to go to Bend, OR, home of the last of the 9,000-plus Blockbuster Video stores. The Last Blockbuster looks at why this particular store seems to be thriving, while also shedding light on the why and how of the company’s demise. What I really enjoyed was meeting the smart and upbeat owner who never gave up on Bend or Blockbuster. And yes, it’s ironic that you can watch this documentary on Netflix, one of the major factors in Blockbuster’s failure.
Allen v. Farrow – This four-part docuseries on HBO might be too real, especially if you’re a fan of Woody Allen movies like I am — I mean, was. The legendary director was never found guilty in court of child abuse, but after watching this it’s not difficult to come to your own conclusion. Allen declined to be interviewed for this series, but he’s not the focus. Allen v. Farrow is the story of Dylan Farrow, who accused her famous father of abuse and is still recovering. Her strength and conviction carry the often disturbing story.
Long Shot – (Netflix) If you know Amanda, you know that I am not a fan of murder shows. I find murder documentaries, and there are many of them, even more disturbing because these are real victims and real murderers. Long Shot is basically a non-murder documentary about the arrest of Juan Catalan, a young father in Los Angeles, for a murder he insists he did not commit. With the help of a sharp defense attorney, he tries to prove his innocence. It’s like a great episode of Law and Order, except twistier and at 40 minutes, shorter.
Made You Look: A True Story of Fake Art – (Netflix) It’s almost impossible to feel an ounce of empathy for any of the privileged characters involved in this compelling tale of art forgery, shady dealers and duped collectors. All the people involved in this modern-day $80 million forgery scheme are, either slimy, dumb or entitled. Made You Look isn’t relevant to 99% of us and there’s no positive message. People don’t even pay for their crimes. I found it a fascinating look into a world I’ll never know.
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