Monday, November 18, 2013

What's Up? Docs.

Whenever I've had my fill of something stylistically dense or complicated, like Henry James or Jungle Jim, I like to relax, supply myself with cheese doodles and NyQuil, put my brain on cruise-control, and fire up a streaming documentary on the television machine. Here's a few random titles, some of which I've actually watched:

Salinger. Everyone's favorite overrated, reclusive, and creepy author. Have to say I've never been impressed with anything he's written. Perhaps I should re-read Catcher In the Rye, but I'm afraid it may make me want to assassinate someone. Again.

Ray Harryhausen: Special Effect Titan. Loving tribute to the master of stop-motion animation. Nothing new here, but essential viewing for anyone interested in film history.

Cool drawing by Ray Harryhausen

Kingdom of Shadows. More documented film history goodness, this one covering the beginnings of the horror movie. A must-see for Rod Steiger's jaw-droppingly wacky rendition of Bret Wood's pretentious narration.

Tar Creek. Absolutely shameful story of the human and ecological destruction caused by Oklahoma mining.                                                          

Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why is Everyone Talkin' About Him?) Rise and fall of Harry Nillson, generally considered one of rock music's greatest voices. Granted, a very short list. Years after his death, many are still moved by their memories of Nillson: singer, songwriter, damaged child, poor husband, lousy father, and extraordinary party dude.

Not so many fond memories of Lew Wasserman in The Last Mogul: The Life and Times of Lew Wasserman. Except for Suzanne Pleshette, no one was moved to tears recalling the spectacular demise of this Hollywood powerhouse. Some may have been just a wee bit gleeful. However, since he was from Cleveland, I'm obligated to like the unrivaled ruthlessness and prickiness of the guy.

Me and my Arrow

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