As I said a couple weeks ago, I’ve happily welcomed Netflix back into my life. I asked for suggestions for good documentaries and got a ton — so here’s a little round-up of what I’ve watched so far!
“Every Little Step.” (At Libby’s suggestion.) This follows the hopeful actors who auditioned for the recent Broadway revival of “A Chorus Line.” It totally brought out my inner theater geek…and made me happy that I left that world for the considerably less competitive world of writing. This was a fun one to watch!
“Bigger, Faster, Stronger.” (Thanks, Jessica!) I really liked this one. It’s all about steroid use in America and it was just so informative. I must say, after watching it, it really changed the view I have on steroids. While I still think they are inappropriate in national sports and should be banned from use by kids under 18, there’s really no compelling evidence to make them illegal across the board. When you compare them to a legal drug like alcohol, there’s just really no argument. I don’t think they are particularly safe or healthy, but if a grown-ass man wants to use them to help him in a gym rat lifting contest, then there’s really no legal reason he shouldn’t be able to. This documentary really raised some great discussions though, like what constitutes cheating in sports, and really, why Americans are so fixated on being the best. Very, very good.
“A Wink and a Smile.” (Recommended by Bridget!) This was so good! I loved every second of it! It’s about the burlesque scene in Seattle and follows a class of amateurs as they learn about burlesque and prepare for their big performance. It was just so empowering to watch them. I loved the fifty-something mom who just basically said it was time to do something for her and had a total blast. Each woman had her own reasons for being there and her own fears to overcome. It was so moving to watch them talk about their relationships with their bodies and their sexuality. I felt so empowered after watching it. There were also scenes of pros giving performances and a good history on burlesque. I feel like every woman who needs to feel sexier should watch this or even give a burlesque class a try. The film was funny, sexy, informative, inspiring, and just so good. Definitely a must-watch!
“This Film is Not Yet Rated.” (Suggested by Netflix!) I LOVED this documentary. It basically calls bullshit on the MPAA ratings system. I learned the history of the MPAA’s system and how it’s super secretive, not at all regulated, and incredibly arbitrary. So, why do ratings even matter? Well, because a higher rating can cost a film millions of dollars, and an NC-17 rating can keep a great piece of work from being widely distributed. The whole system is messed up.
I was really disturbed to learn what sort of scenes garner higher ratings in our country. Sex rates higher than violence, and homosexual sex rates higher than straight sex. The thing I found must frustrating is how female pleasure quite often gets an NC-17 rating, while male pleasure doesn’t. For example, there’s a scene from one of those “Not Another Teen Scary Movies” (who can tell the difference?!) when a teenage boy is having sex with a girl and finishes and shoots her to the ceiling with his come and pins her up there for like 30 seconds; it’s like some kind of a geyser or something, and it’s just disgusting. Then there’s a scene from “The Cooler” in which William H. Macy’s character goes down on Maria Bello’s character — two adults whose characters are in love, played by two very respected actors — and there is a shot of her pubic hair…and that shot led to an NC-17 rating. There’s also a scene in “Boys Don’t Cry,” where the shot of Chloe Sevingny’s O-face was deemed too long and got it an NC-17 rating. And “But I’m a Cheerleader” was rated NC-17 because of a scene when a female character is touching herself over her clothes…but in “American Pie,” Jason Biggs f-ed his dessert and it was only rated R.
Not cool, Hollywood. NOT COOL.
In the film, the director sets out to “out” the secret members of the MPAA ratings board. And, with the help of a PI, he does. Even though board members are supposed to be “average parents” with “kids between the ages of 5 and 17,” most were actually parents of kids in their twenties.
I can’t even get into all the details of what’s wrong with the MPAA ratings board here, and how impossible it is to appeal if you do get a rating you believe is unfair, but you should seriously watch the film. I think it got me more passionate than any documentary in recent memory. I mean, really? In 2010, artists are seriously still subjected to this kind of sensorship?
It was really frustrating to watch, but the tone of the film is pretty light and snarky. And it was made in conjunction with Netflix…oh, because Blockbuster would never distribute such filth.
Kinda made me love Netflix even more!