Tag: Documentary


Imperfect was watched early as a screener. It is being released theatrically on February 16th, 2024.

When you strive for perfection, you will very hard to achieve what is likely unachievable. Perfection is hard, perfection is usually impossible. But what if you strive for imperfection, and accept it in all of its glory?

In Denver, Colorado is the Phamaly Theatre Company, which has this statement on their main website. “A creative home for theatre artists with disabilities.” That’s right! A professional theater company that employees at all levels, actors and actresses that also happen to have disabilities. Because let’s face. Equality and Equity in the world is far from happening right now. But some people are working on it, like the people behind the Phamaly Theatre Company.

Now sure, there are people like Ali Stoker, who have made it into Broadway to play roles in her wheel chair, that were not written to be played by someone in a wheelchair. But for the vast majority of parts and places out there, someone with a disability will likely only be considered if the part has it written in for that character. And that sort of sucks.

So in this documentary, one of the directors, Regan Linton, who uses a wheelchair, is an actress herself on the stage. But in this documentary, she takes on the role of a director, and is putting on the musical Chicago. And so we the viewer get to see the behind the scene footage of auditions, blocking, practice, and some of the final scenes and shots of their finalized and award nominated work.

More importantly, we get to see triumph in the faces of people who are often told they can’t do things.

Don’t mess with a person with a cane. Especially if they can sing well.

Honestly, when I first saw this documentary was giving out screeners for review, I thought that I was going to see the actual staged version of Chicago with the theater company. In reality, that is just the last 10 minutes or so, just snippets from it. But that is still okay! A documentary on the planning and start to finish process was also interesting in its own right.

For example, in the audition scenes, I wonder in projects like this, what is most important? Diversity? People who can hit the notes correctly? How do you decide? It must be a hard thing to think about, and I know I wouldn’t have a great answer.

Honestly, the documentary had me crying happy tears by the end. It is just so great to see people excelling at tasks, and doing it well, and hits a bit better when you know the potential increased struggles to get to that point. If I could have more, I would have wanted more of the actual show, as I mentioned. But what I got was still a unique view and useful.

Now, this documentary is just highlighting what one theater group has been doing, and doing successfully for years. It can be good for awareness, and I hope there are other groups out there doing the same thing. It is a good look of the behind the scenes, and can be downright inspiring, but really, it is just people exploring their passions. And we can all use a bit more of that in our lives.

3 out of 4.


SPOOKTACULAR! was watched as part of Fantastic Fest 2023!

In for a scare? Enter if you dare….

To the first ever Halloween themed Theme Park! Not just a haunted house, but a whole place with rides, events, songs, shows, booths, merchandise, actors, the whole shebang.

This one started in New Jersey, and for whatever reason, Hay Rides were super popular. So they decided to make a hay ride. But you know, maybe have it themed with a nice vampire, Frankenstein’s monster, all of that. They bought some farm land, made a track, had a few helpers, and it worked! And got immediately, super popular. Overnight success! Cars lined up the highway, people turned away because not enough space. Shit. A victim to their own success.

And with that, they got expansion. More buildings, more things to do for the residents of the area. They got celebrities, like Alice Cooper, Linda Blair, and more to come for autographs. And for some reason, a really big amount of time focused on Tiny Tim?

Either way, the rise of a business model, and eventually the fall of that business model. Of which has been replicated many times since then as well.

“Maybe if we take off their clothes people will assume they were just horny?”

SPOOKTACULAR! is an interesting documentary. Because it certainly is about a place and concept I had never heard of before, but one that seemed to touch a lot of people around the country, at a certain age. For example, they showcase John Krasinski telling a story about it on a late night show once.

While this place is a staple in the history of haunted theme parks I guess, or places that were more than just haunted houses. The documentary itself is one that is pretty much a standard fare. It has interviews from a lot of the people involved in its initial success, some celebrities who went there and just a retelling of what helped and what lead to their shutdown. Again, It didn’t seem to have that much material either, because of how much time was devoted to them securing Tiny Tim to play at their park, and getting his wedding there. It also gave us Bill Maher acting like an asshole, which I am used to at this point.

The rating reflects that at least the topic is a bit of an interesting reason for a documentary, whereas the actual documentary itself could have used a bit more polish and work.

2 out of 4.

Stephen Curry: Underrated

This film was watched as a part of the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF).

Alright, this one is a big shocker for even me. I barely know who Stephen Curry is. In all honesty, I get him confused with Blake Griffin all the time. I don’t know anything about either of them besides them being NBA players. My brain just put them in the same Venn Diagram circle. In fact, when I started to talk about Stephen Curry to someone else, they were like “Who? Oh, Steph Curry”. Oh he goes by Steph? That isn’t my fault, the documentary calls him Stephen! Stephen Curry: Underrated!

It isn’t that I think the NBA is bad. I certainly would put it up as higher than MLB. I just don’t like it as much as NFL and NHL. All of my basketball love has really come from watching College Basketball games, and March Madness, not the professional level.

So what do I know about Stephen? I heard he is good at 3-point shots. And, right before I watched this documentary, he got 50 points in a Game 7 Playoff Series. A pretty big deal. A coincidence for the timing of this documentary.

But at the same time, I was wondering…why is he getting a documentary? Is he retiring? Is he done? He has still so much more NBA to play, I assume. And a documentary on a basketball player partially through his career feels very awkward. Hell, does Lebron James have a documentary about his life and career yet? Weird choices all around.

“Stephen! Stephen! Have you peaked? Is that why you are making this doc?”

This documentary was made at a specific time in his career. When he made the 3 point single season record. All the way back in 2015-16. That was big news at the time! And honestly, only part of the news for this documentary. It was used to give context to the great NBA star, who achieved great things. But it turns out, this is meant to be a documentary focusing a lot more on his younger and college career. Like, a huge primary part of this documentary.

Oh hey, that is the stuff I care about? Nice.

We learn that Stephen was shorter than most, his dad had to reteach him how to shoot in High School to get more serious, and eventually, getting drafted by Davidson College and absolutely causing a scene.

Now here is where it gets personal. I started caring about College Basketball as senior in HS, which happened to be his first year in College. So hearing about his first trip to the March Madness tournament was a little bit interesting, as I could contextualize it in my own life. But my first year in college, at UNC, I saw every game they played, a lot in person. So that means I likely saw Stephen Curry play on the TV, before he was NBA superstar famous, and that just feels a bit odd, and fun. Hearing how they did in that year’s tournament, I know for a fact he helped mess up my March Madness bracket. He made me lose money!

Honestly that is hilarious.

Besides the fact that it became personal. This was a very moving documentary, about someone who lacked the statue for a typical NBA player, and succeeded despite everything. Even with his career still going, it feels like a good enough time to tell his story. Because hey, if people are going to be in the top 5% of the league, they likely will do a lot of things that might need highlights to fit into a single documentary. I cried, I laughed, I got nostalgic, and I had fun learning about Steph Curry, the basketball player.

3 out of 4.

Chasing Chasing Amy

Chasing Amy is one of my favorite movies. Still is. It used to be my favorite at some point in my life. I think it was the first movie I ever declared as my favorite, being a question I would often avoid and ignore. But I realized if I watch a lot of movies, and like them, people are going to be coming at me with that question, so I better figure out an answer, and for some number of years, it was Chasing Amy.

I know some people have said Chasing Amy didn’t age well, or was always bad, and things like that. But I didn’t understand it. When I look back and reflect on Chasing Amy, I see a movie that was ahead of its time. On one view, one can say its about a guy making a lesbian turn straight, and being a complete dumbass at the same time. In another view, it is a film about someone with a fluid sexuality that is hard to define with labels, and despite one cis white hetero males dumb opinions, she is just trying to live the best life she knows how.

Sure enough, I was pretty excited to get to watch a documentary about how Chasing Amy affects someone’s life. In Chasing Chasing Amy, director Sav Rodgers, credits the film with saving his life as a kid in this Ted talk. Because (as you can see in the link), for Sav, this is the first time they ever saw a movie where there were Queer characters who had personalities and intelligence and not just the butt of a joke in some other movie. They watched it hundreds of times. And it helped them feel acceptance in the world, with themselves, and get them through high school and on.

So why not make a documentary about how it has changed his life? In more ways than one. And, also, the controversies behind it, how it got made, and is it a bad film now?

Quick Stop?! That isn’t in Chasing Amy! Shenanigans! 
So where does Chasing Amy story come from? Thankfully, Kevin Smith is a storyteller and has told this story. But a good chunk of it comes with his relationship from Joey Lauren Adams that came after Mallrats. It is also the story of his producer Scott Mosier, and his intense friendship with a lesbian in the film industry. A mish mash of ideas, but made up of real situations and real conversations and real pain.

When it comes to Sav’s story, it is great the parallel’s of Chasing Amy and on his own life and in relationships, which the documentary goes out of its way to set up and highlight. In dealings with labels, and what it means to be in a relationship and what it means to be true to your body. It becomes a deeply personal story, and technically that is one of the main aspects of the film.

Now obviously a lot of the film is also about the making of, and impact of, Chasing Amy. Kevin Smith is in it a lot, and is an open book to Sav and to the documentary. Heck, Harvey Weinstein was talked about in this as well, given that being the promoter of the film and incidents he did during the film festivals at the time. Topics are all over the place, and yet, connected.

Despite all of this, the biggest and strongest takeaways from this documentary from Joey Lauren Adams. We had older interviews, and some with her and Kevin together, but Sav went to Adams’ house for a one-on-one to get more great shots for how Chasing Amy impacted her life and career and Sav’s.  But what we get is a really raw and emotional interview, about her life in the film, and her relationship with Smith, and it just blew me away. It really puts a lot of things in a different context. It doesn’t take away from the other context, but it adds a deeper level to it all.

And honestly, it feels like a second epilogue to Chasing Amy (the first coming from Jay and Silent Bob Reboot).

Do I better understand where the LGBT+ community can both love and hate a film? Yes.

Do I better understand where the story came from? Yes.

Do I now hate the movie and Smith? Absolutely not.

More context to me gives me a greater impact and deeper understanding of the story. I don’t know the next time I watch it, but I do know when I do, I will reflect back on all of these things, and can’t wait to see how that changes things.

3 out of 4.

Being Mary Tyler Moore

This film was watched as a part of the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF).

Who is Mary Tyler Moore? I mean that seriously. It is a name I recognize, and I know she did a lot in TV, but honestly, I know nothing about her. I didn’t know what show she was in before she was in the show with her name. I don’t know anything else she did. I know jack, about Mary.

And honestly, that is me missing out.

She was cast as the “wife” in the Dick Van Dyke Show, completely unknown woman at the time. This started a few years after I Love Lucy was going. And she wasn’t the main character, like Lucy was. But she was eventually given more personality, and given some humor for her character, and she was seen as a great, woman and sure, house wife. But her character was more than just a housewife, she had some independence. But everyone did love her.

And unfortunately, all shows must end at some point. It is what she does with her time after, that matters even more.

If I was Mary Tyler Moore, people would probably know who I was.

You see, for the next few years, it didn’t go well. But, she did eventually get to star in her own show. The Mary Tyler Moore Show. And what is wild about this show is that she wasn’t married. It wasn’t about her finding love. And it was just about her being a single woman, in the work world, and making a path for herself. Relatively unheard of for media at the time. And it was very successful and long running and led to her doing even more projects, in theater and in film. Hell, she earned 75% of an EGOT, the damn Oscar being the one just out of her reach (but she was nominated).

Mary did a whole lot, and was a strong feminist icon, without even attempting to be one. She just wanted to be as real as she could.

Mary is a hero.

And I think this is a fine, relatively standard, look at her career, and life. Including with interviews she gave in the past during this time. However, it is relatively normal and basic of a documentary. Just because she is an icon, does not immediately make it a must watch or anything. I don’t think it did much unique with the story. It was very by the books, and hey, that is fine. There isn’t anything wrong with it. It is just standard.

This is a documentary for people who want to learn more about Mary Tyler Moore and it does that job perfectly fine.

2 out of 4.


This film was watched as a part of the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). Abled had its World Premier at the festival and is currently on the virtual fest. See an interview with the director and star of Abled, here!

Without a doubt, one of the sports I do the worst at is running. Whether it is sprinting, or cross-country. I don’t have what people call endurance, and I am built like a train. [Editor’s Note: Actually, three years in a row I won the 6th grade teacher 40m sprint due to competitive nature and other lazy teachers.] So in reality, that does mean I am less interested in watching people run as well. When my oldest did cross country, I was stoked he wanted to run, but also knew how unexciting watching those meets could be.

This leads me to this documentary. Originally, I was going to skip it. How exciting could a documentary about running for the Olympics be? People go fast, less than a minute of competition. Sometimes they dance before they go? But that is the main Olympic stories I remember. However, I am glad I ended up checking out Abled, for quite a few reasons.

The first reason, is that Blake Leeper, the star of the documentary, is a delightful person, full of passion and perseverance. Now for those not sure on what this is about, Blake is a Paralympian runner, with 8 Medals to his name, over various games. He was born with no legs below his knees, and it wasn’t looking good. But he learned to walk and eventually, learned to run. And he became more passionate about his running when they developed blades so that the running is more natural. And damn, did he take to them.

This is how I look after I have to run any amount of time.

However, it turns out, that not everyone is stoked about Blake’s success.

You see, he was seen as being too fast. Blake wanted to run for the Olympics. Not the Paralympics. The “regular” Olympics. After all, Oscar Pistorius did it in 2012. (Oh fun fact, check out his Wikipedia. Things sure did go south for him after those games). And even though Oscar was allowed to compete, Blake was not. Because Blake got a really good run, under 45 seconds, in a trial run, for the first time in his life. And now, apparently, his lack of natural legs gave him an advantage, and the Olympic committee said they needed to science and research to prove that these legs did not give him an advantage overall. And they were going to make Blake prove it.

This documentary is about Blake’s fight to compete, to prove that the legs inherently did not make him faster. It goes through their trials and tests, and quite honestly, really obvious reasons to prove that they aren’t something that give him a (this is intentional) leg up on the competition. And yet, it seems no matter what they do, he gets denied. And public opinion is also divided, because as we know, people have opinions without facts and research to back it up.

But besides all of that. This is a story of a man, at a disadvantage in a sport, succeeding despite the metaphorical hurdles in his path. It is a story about an exceptional athlete, with a positive attitude, fighting for his rights to compete for his country and for his family. And it is a powerful story, and one that really questions how we label disabilities and how welcome we are to those with these struggles into society.

Abled is a great documentary of a true story, with a fight that is never finished. And it is worth time watching.

3 out of 4.

And the King Said, What a Fantastic Machine

This film was watched as a part of the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). And the King Said, What a Fantastic Machine has its Seattle Premier on Sunday, May 14 2023.

Because trailers nowadays for the most part have no chill, and decide to give away the entire story, I always try to avoid them to the best of my ability. But when you go to movies, they throw them at you before hand, quite rude. It is rare to find a trailer that is exciting without telling you a whole lot about the movie, and that is true about And The King Said, What a Fantastic Machine. So go ahead, give it a look, its fun. I am technically going to give away more of the film in here just by describing it than the official trailer.

What kind of documentary is this about? Well, clearly it is about the camera, and movies in some level.

And sure, in one way, it is telling the history from the first time an image was taken from light particles onto paper, onto moving pictures, and more. It tells of significant events in history, not just when and where they occurred. But why they occurred. What was the output.

What was the whole point of a camera? Well, a scientific tool to record what was in front of it.

But, what about what is around it? What about other angles of reality? What is the purpose of this image, or moving image, and what are they hoping to invoke into the viewer? Are you being deceived?

Yes, I know what I was doing with this screen grab. So did she.

Honestly, the tone of the trailer matches the movie perfectly. It isn’t just a long history, then silly videos. It is specific moments in time, spread throughout the film, to bring up important changes in the camera and what people did with it. Including deception. And knowing what the image taker looks like in weight of tragedy. Because someone has to be there, to click the button, or at least, some device.

Now, this documentary isn’t here to judge you. Or to declare TikTok the enemy of modern society. Or anything like that. It is just noting the events, and noting things recorded, and what people have done with the cameras, and why. The goal of the documentary is to make you aware of these things and really, to implore you to think of these things.

A little thinking about your viewing habits before just zoning out never hurt anyone.

And yes, in fact, it was very weird to watch this in a film festival, my 6th movie in 2 days in theater, with a lot more planned. A movie that is…anti consuming video content? Is it anti-consuming content? Honestly, the questions asked from the film I don’t think try to force you to go to a specific outlook. In fact, your current life situations with these objects might affect the way you take the message from the film. Are you being attacked, are you being enlightened, or are you being informed?

And I love a documentary that convey these feelings, with mostly footage already made, and pieced together in a specific way. Now, why did the directors piece it together in this way? Great, great, question.

4 out of 4.

Attack of the Doc!

See my interview with the director/producer of Attack of the Doc!, Chris Gore, here!

If you are someone around my age, and I hate to say this, male, with a big cable package growing up, you are likely familiar with Attack of the Show! It has an exclamation point, but no, it is not a musical. It started out in 2005, as a sort of replacement for the show The Screen Savers. You see, The Screen Savers was on TechTV, it was a live show, throughout the week, about technology and all of that. But then G4 bought TechTV, started to show more video game based TV show, and eventually replacing The Screen Savers time slot with Attack of the Show!

So what is the show? Good question. It was a lot of things. It was hosted at the start by Kevin Pereira and Kevin Rose. It was about movies, video games, weird stungs, fun games with celebrities, nerd culture, and more. It was about the internet and rose with internet humor, starting to show viral things to the masses, in case they missed it. Eventually, Olivia Munn joined their cast, in her real breakout role, becoming an even bigger deal and TV show. You know, because she was a woman who was good at joking around “with the guys” and giving them a taste of their own medicine.

It was barbaric and mediaeval and cutting edge in a lot of different ways. It is one of the first shows to ever incorporate twitter in any way to its broadcast. It is a show that didn’t like to ask questions or permission, but just constantly tried to get away with more and more.

It lasted about 7 years, and disappeared into a sea of Cops reruns, as G4TV like many specialty tv stations, began to show the same basic reality shows most of the day, because it gave more profit than original programming.

It also was a show that had this in it. Amazing!

So clearly, I watched some Attack of the Show. Weirdly enough, I thought I had memories of watching it in 8th grade, but that was before it came out! Instead, it wasn’t until college, in like 2007-09 or so that I remember seeing it a lot. Watching with friends, seeing the viral videos and wild and wacky shenanigans was for sure ground breaking at the time. It was like all of the best parts of the internet in one package so everyone can be included. To clarify, I mean the best parts of the internet that can be shown on television.

It is a show that can only exist in a time bubble, and nothing that can be recreated now. Afterall, they tried, even with bringing back Kevin Pereira to host in 2021. But the ratings weren’t there, the viewers didn’t care, and it was a different beast. Why couldn’t it exist anymore? Why did it have problems? Well, the documentary, Attack of the Doc!, goes into all of that and it is pretty clear why it couldn’t exist today.

The director of the documentary is Chris Gore, who was the official Film Critic of Attack of the Show!, and had his own segment called DVDuesday. A weekly segment about new releases and what should be bought or rented or skipped. So he is someone intimately familiar with the material, and had a lot of people on to tell the story of the rise and fall of the show. And the documentary was put together through funding and Kickstarter in order to be made.

Overall, I would say it is a nice history of the show. What the documentary could certainly do less with is strange rants about woke or cancel culture. And lamenting the changing of humor. That made things weird and uncomfortable for me, personally. And made it something I wouldn’t fully love to watch multiple times. But it does show a lot of the greatest hits and makes it clear why it existed, which is one fans of the love would love to go through. The extra commentary? A weird move, but hey, it was a move they wanted to make.

2 out of 4.

Judy Blume Forever

First of all, and this is my fault completely, I used to get Judy Blume confuse with Beverly Cleary. In that, I assumed Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary both wrote the Ramona books. Oh boy, what a fool of a took I was. So I would say I definitely read Judy Blume books growing up, when it turns out, I haven’t read a damn thing.

That is good in a way. Because I don’t like to read the books before I watch a movie. Now, why is there a documentary about Judy Blume coming out? Oh, because one of her books is being made into a movie! Honestly, that is a surprise it took this long. In a couple weeks we will have Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret., the movie.

Now, this documentary about Judy Blume is an interesting title. Because it sounds like it could be one of her books. And honestly, it is one of her books. She made a book titled, Forever…, and now the documentary about her life’s work living on through kids of every generation forever, becomes a pretty fitting title overall. Judy Blume Forever.

If you write a book, you become immortal. Those are the rules.

Despite knowing nothing about Judy Blume before, I sort of find myself loving her now after seeing this documentary. This lady was a trailblazer and someone who really understood what middle schoolers not just needed, but deserved. Not speaking about things doesn’t make them go away. Not speaking about how kids talk doesn’t make it go away.

The fact that her books were banned and had conservatives railing after sometime felt eerily familiar to current modern outrage going on in the school board meetings. Like, the exact same arguments. Honestly, I read quite a few books that have gone on banned lists in Texas, and most of them display teenagers and middle schoolers based on reality, not what their parents hope them to be. Middle schoolers will find out and talk about sex, and puberty, and growing up issues. High schoolers will at greater and more graphic detail, and in fact, likely have sex. And Judy Blume talked about these things in her book.

Good on her. And the similarities to the book bans during her time period and how they relate to our current ones, is talked about in this documentary as well. It is almost like the experiences she went through with are ones people can relate to even though it is decades later. Huh, maybe she is Forever?

This documentary made me excited to for the upcoming film, and hey maybe, just maybe, might read one of her books finally.

3 out of 4.

Little Richard: I Am Everything

Before I forget to fit this scene in naturally, please watch this clip from the 2009 film Black Dynamite: here. It is about Little Richard! And so is this documentary.

I have been pretty excited to watch this one as soon as I heard about it. I missed it when it came by for Make Believe Seattle, but thankfully it is also getting released in many cities around the USA, so the opportunity didn’t leave me in the dark for too long.

What is not to like and want to learn about Little Richard? A famed musician, who helped invent Rock ‘n Roll, who was known for being gay, at a time when he could be jailed just for being black.

I go into this documentary acknowledging that I am pretty dumb on this subject, so I am excited to be enlightened.

little richard
Don’t ask me to name more than 1 Little Richard song, please. 

To be fair, I didn’t know how open Little Richard was about his sexuality. Specifically, I assumed he had kept things private in that regard, because it was the 1950’s. But it wasn’t like a big secret. He talked about it in interviews, on the road, on stage, and a lot of places. He was also very fluid, he wouldn’t let sexuality stop him from having relationships with whom he wanted to pursue. I mean that in the least creepiest way of saying that.

He was a man living his life the way he wanted to live it.

One of the most exciting things I learned from this documentary were the original lyrics and purpose of the song Tutti Frutti. Which I will not spoil in this review. But obviously you can look that up without the documentary, if you really wanted to know.

There is a lot more to learn about Richard in this documentary, how he got his start, how he kept his success, and the strives he overcame. And honestly, that is about it. I don’t think it ever really went on a bigger, deeper dive on the subject. There weren’t big hidden secrets uncovered. It was just a lit on the normal level by the end. And hey, that is fine. I did learn some things. I just thought I would get a little bit more by the end as well.

2 out of 4.