Category Archives: documentary

the most moneygrubbing guys in the room

Last night I watched the documentary Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room for the second time actually. I revisited it not because I loved it that much, but more because I wasn’t paying full attention when I watched it the first time. This film is what I call a nice “dish-washing movie”- something I put on while doing some mundane task around the house, such as dish-washing, to make said task less boring (last night I put it on while I was shrink-wrapping my bedroom windows to seal out unpleasant wintry drafts). A dish-washing movie, whose classification is of course subjective, essentially does not require full attention and might actually bore the viewer if given full attention. So for what’s it’s worth, I definitely enjoyed this movie the second time around. It gives an insider’s view on the rise and fall of one of the world’s most humongous energy companies, detailing the strange macho corporate culture, the ultimately deranged mind of CEO Jeffrey Skilling, the subsequent suicide of a top executive following Enron’s crash and the overall delusions of grandeur that caused the company’s demise. The film essentially serves as a case study of the frightening effects of corporate greed while making it interesting by analyzing the increasingly more insane minds of the big boys at the top. I appreciated it because I never really understood what the whole Enron thing was all about, besides that all their employees got royally screwed. The movie lays out the whole scandal in layperson’s terms and has sort of a E! True Hollywood Story feel (in a good way) that makes you feel like you’re getting let in on the deep dark secrets (well, you are). I’d recommend it to people who are interested in taking down The Man, investigating the potential malevolence of capitalism or just understanding a piece of contemporary United States history that represents that charming cultural tendency of dependence on fantasies of imaginary wealth. That being said, if you’re not interested in the aforementioned topics, you might find it to be a little ho-hum. But it definitely made my shrink-wrapping process more interesting.

Have any of you seen it? Any thoughts?


the wild whites of west virginny

I’m putting up Josh’s review as a post so it can be viewed more widely. I think it’s pretty spot on. I just watched this movie, thanks to Josh’s suggestion (yay! my blog is achieving its purpose!) since I am using most devices in my path to put off studying for the blasted GRE, which I’m taking on Tuesday. Anyway, here’s what Josh said:

I just watched a documentary called The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virgina last night. It was really fantastic. The crew spent a year with this crazy family, the Whites, in Boone county, WV. They’re drug addicts, violent, scheming, smart, loving. The film does a really good job of balancing voyeuristic spectacle and lionizing the family as folk heroes. You see their quality as well as their flaws. It also does a pretty decent job of addressing the social constructs that play into creating four generations of criminal, drug-addicted crazies.

extra, extra, read all about it

post your debut reviews here (as a comment). i will be splitting them up into categories by genre soon.


these are my top 10. what are yours?

In my humble opinion, these movies (in no particular order) are the brightest of the Netflix Instant gems- that I have found so far!

1. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?: Edward Albee’s irreverence coupled with Elizabeth Taylor’s alcoholic rage may not sound like a pleasant way to spend over 2 hours watching black and white BUT TRUST ME- YOU’LL LOVE IT. The acting, the lighting, the writing, the directing, blah, blah, blah- I could go on. A must must must see.

2. The Lady Eve: If you like movies from the 1940s, then you’ve probably seen it. If you don’t, well maybe you’ll start liking movies from the 1940s by watching this one. A comedy that keeps the viewer interested mostly because Barbara Stanwyck is so sexy and gets so sassy.

3. Easy Street: Small scale documentary made in 2006 depicting the lives of several homeless folks in St. Petersburg, Florida. Provides an honest interpretation of the realities of homelessness- including the roles that addiction and mental illness play.

4. Sin Nombre: This is a emotionally intense and aesthetically beautiful thriller that pieces together the story of several characters trying to make it from Central America to the good ol’ U.S. of A. In Spanish with English subtitles. Definitely was a tearjerker for me- more because it is such a vivid reminder of how heartbreaking the tales of immigration often are.

5. Fargo: I don’t think I’m qualified to write a review on this movie. Dad, can you help me out?

6. The Messenger: Woody Harrelson and Ben Foster LAY IT DOWN in this unforgettable movie about two current-day U.S. soldiers whose job is to notify families of killed soldiers. Definitely not a date night movie, but don’t let that stop you. Emotionally sophisticated, poignant, thought-provoking. Oh yeah, and Steve Buscemi’s cameo doesn’t hurt.

7. Tarnation: Another one that definitely shouldn’t be put on the “date night” list- unless you like your dates really disturbing. Tarnation is a documentary filmed over the course of almost 20 years, made up of a mixture of home videos, voicemail messages, early short films and snapshots–all depicting the life of filmmaker Jonathan and his oh so schizophrenic mother. The music is really great as well. Overall very powerful, although the pacing is a little strange. But I give him credit- he made it on a budget of $218.32, editing the entire thing on iMovie on his Mac. And now you can rent it at Blockbuster. Or watch it on Netflix Instant as the case may be.

8. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: Hmm, if my audience is who I think it is, you’ve probably seen this. Now you get to watch it again on Instant.

9. Amelie: If you all haven’t figured it out yet, that tiny little icon next to the site address for this blog is actually an image of Amelie’s head from the part of the movie where she is at the movie theater glued to the screen. ANYWAY, the film Amelie is such an aesthetic experience so my words probably won’t do much good. So go have a look-see.

10. Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic: Not for the easily offended, for those who don’t appreciate/understand satire, or for those who think offensive satire perpetuates societal ills. Sarah jam packs her absurd stand-up comedy/spontaneous musical numbers with the most taboo of topics- and looks cute while doing it! AND IT’S HYSTERICAL. I think she’s a genius.

What are your Top 10 Netflix Instant finds?