Do the Queue

by Rachel on September 24, 2010

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!

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Blair September 24, 2010 at 8:33 am

After reading this post I have to come out of the lurker woodwork and let you know that I think you are fantastic. I’m in the very early stages of blogging, and I can only hope that I write as confident and as witty as you one day.
Your netflix queue looks eerily similar to mine. I’m going to have to watch “Every Little Step” to satisfy my inner theater geek. Have you seen “Stagedoor” and “Show Business: The Road to Broadway”? They are great theater documentaries as well.


2 Rachel September 24, 2010 at 8:35 am

Well, HELLO! Nice to “meet” you and I appreciate you ending your term as a lurker and also the wonderful compliment!

I haven’t seen these other docs but I will definitely check them out. Theater geeks 4-eva…


3 Blair @ Mindful of Me September 24, 2010 at 8:35 am

I accidentally linked the wrong blog to my comment. Oops. This is my blog.


4 Rachel September 24, 2010 at 8:38 am

Cool, I will def be checking it out!!


5 Secondhand Smash September 24, 2010 at 8:44 am

We also liked This Film Is Not Yet Rated. Definitely check out those suggestions I left on your Facebook page… good stuff. :)


6 Carolyn @ lovinlosing September 24, 2010 at 8:58 am

I’m going to have to check out some of those. Thank for the reviews!


7 Manon September 24, 2010 at 9:04 am

Hmmmm…..looks like this girl needs to get back together with Netflix! Great reviews!


8 Diane September 24, 2010 at 9:30 am

I know someone already recommended “Pageant” to you, but I just have to say again how fantastic it is! I LOVE documentaries and documentary-style reality shows. I can’t wait to watch the burlesque one, since I just went to my first burlesque show last weekend!


9 Erin September 24, 2010 at 11:06 am

This Film is Not Yet Rated is amazing! We watched it for a gender and women’s studies class and it made for fantastic discussion. It brought up so many great points like the one you made about the gender inequality in sex scenes on films. Great choice!


10 kate September 24, 2010 at 12:20 pm

can i recommend everything by corra films, it’s the documentary film company i used to work for. i like the recommendations on your list, i’ll have to bookmark it.


11 Janna September 24, 2010 at 12:25 pm

Amazing amazing list. I really need to get Netflix!

I am such a theater geek so I know I would love Every Little Step!

And amazing review of The Film is Not Yet Rated, I really want to see that now!


12 Loren September 24, 2010 at 12:59 pm

You should check out “American Teen”. It’s kind of Breakfast Club-esque in the sense that they follow around 4 high school seniors(jock, outcast, popular, etc) in this small town in Indiana.


13 erin m. @wellinla September 24, 2010 at 1:29 pm

Your reviews and the recommendations in comments have piqued my interest! Netflix has way better indie/non-mainstream selections. We linked Netflix to our TV and life hasn’t been the same!


14 tish September 24, 2010 at 1:49 pm

dude! we so need to be friends on that netflix friend thing so that i can steal from you at random. good suggestions ladies! i’m a fan of spellbound. i love worshipping my nerddom.


15 Aj September 24, 2010 at 2:08 pm

Thanks for the recommendations! We love Netflix streaming. Now to add these to our growing list of “to-watch”

I don’t know if it’s available through Netflix (we rented it in the bad old days) but Young at Heart is wonderful and just heartwarming. Gender Rebel (definitely streaming) is amazing! As is the series Transgeneration (also streaming).


16 Elizabeth September 24, 2010 at 9:48 pm

I definitely want to see This Film Is Not Yet Rated. Sounds great and good to see you getting so passionate about a film because I know it must be good then.


17 Lexi September 25, 2010 at 7:42 am

I’m obsessed with Netflix instant. We watch it on my bf’s Wii, PS3, my Ipod Touch, & his Iphone, oh and did I mention we watch it on our laptops…I said obsessed.

I have watched a ton of the documentaries, but “This Film Is Not Yet Rated” & “Jesus Camp” stuck out to me. I had no idea such things were going on. I also recommend “September Issue”.

Keep recommending movies!


18 Aby @ always.aby September 25, 2010 at 4:50 pm

LOVE my Netflix! I’m definitely going to have to add This Film is Not Yet Rated – it sounds like the kind of thing I would enjoy. Have you ever watched any of Penn & Teller’s Bullshit series? Some of their episodes are great, and look at different issues in a similar way.


19 Nicci September 27, 2010 at 9:15 am

I’ve seen all these and they are good. I don’t know what I’d do without Netflix Instant on the xbox!!


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