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Category Archives: Documentary

Norway: Unsurprisingly Troll-Infested

Trolls: Less Hairy, More Attractive Than Your Ex-Boyfriend. (You Know Who I'm Talkin' 'Bout)

Drop whatever stupid thing you’re doing: surgically removing a ganglion cyst, breast-feeding your infant, piloting a trans-atlantic flight, whatever. Watching TrollHunter (dir. Andre Ovredal) is infinitely cooler, and therefore more worthwhile, than any other possible activity. Believe me. I have a blog, ergo; my opinion matters.

This beautiful little number out of Norway, the sunshine country, has exactly the right combination of mockumentary wit and oh-my-god-they’re-gonna-get-eaten-RUUUUUNNNNN!!!!. You will be gasping for air from a smooth Columbian-brew blend of alternating (and sometimes simultaneous) laughter and terror. You will remember the night you watched this movie as being better than all of your major life events, which will seem to you afterwards sickeningly devoid of troll mayhem. Example: Troll Hunter, a.k.a. “Hans”, calmly eats breakfast and shows the amazed camera crew his very ordinary, beaurocratic paperwork that he has to fill out for the government after every troll extermination. Ha ha ha it’s like real life, but there’s trolls, you guys.

People get eaten, goats get eaten, trolls get eaten probably, and American audiences learn a critical international lesson: “Trooooooolllllllllllll!!!!!!!!” is the same in Norwegian as it is in English. (Who knew?) The trolls look like gigantic nightmare versions of Sweetums (from the Muppets). The actors look like pale, blonde versions of people (from the live-action parts of the Muppets, and also from real life). There’s a scrappy documentary crew who thinks there’s a bear-poaching problem (but it’s NOT! IT’S TROLLLLLLLLSSSSSS!), a crotchety loner dude who’s mean at first but then turns out to be a hero (duh), and more slime than you could shake a troll at. The movie even does the courtesy of offering a semi-reasonable pseudo-scientific explanation of why trolls blow up or turn to stone in the sunlight.

See it, or forever be mis-informed about the state of trolls in Norway. That would just be irresponsible. As a citizen of the world, it is your duty to stay informed.

 

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Dan of Green Gables

A Champion With a Tear-Duct of Gold

If you’re like me and have attended a public university in Iowa, or if you’re unlike me and know stuff about sports, then you have heard of Dan Gable, the wrestler/coach/beefydude extraordinaire. Yes, well, apparently he was awesome and amazing and beat everyone at everything ever except this one time that haunts him to this very day. Duh. Ok. So there was a documentarian/Gablehead who followed Gable around and documented him and made his documentations into a documentary which I watched at the Landlocked Film Festival. It was called “Freestyle: The Victories of Dan Gable” (dir. Kevin Kelley).

It’s true that as a “somewhat” bookish, flimsily built lady who knows less than your average household domesticated canine about wrestling, or indeed about sports in general, I *may* not have been the target demographic for this film (see use of the word “indeed”), but you know, my Hawkeyes inspire the drunken blood-lust in me that froths the whole city into a soupy piranha tank in heat on certain Fall Saturdays. I mean, I’m a nerd, not a corpse. My point is that I love men savagely injuring one another in front of large cheering crowds. The more vicious the better. Like, give them maces or bear-traps, please.

So I have this to say about the documentary: wrestling needs to allow people to hit and/or kick and/or bite and/or stab because apparently it is more boringer than my old U of Iowa gen ed class,  “The History and Calculus of Etiquette”, which was taught by Dr. Penny Cilin, PhD, who was literally mold.

Speaking of mold, The. Pace. Was. So. So. So. Slow. I actually grew a beard. The film outlined your standard Wikipedia facts about Coach Gable and I guess ran out of time to cram in any interesting information. Even though the filmmaker had followed his idol around like the unshakable awareness of our own mortality that dogs every adult into a terrified paralysis on a daily basis (or is that just me?), he captured exactly zippo of his supposed passion for this sports legend, nada of Gable’s intimate personal feelings, and found zero common thread to shape his narrative except the very lame “victories” thing.

By the way, I KNOW that Gable HAS intimate personal feelings because he was there at the screening and read a tear-jerking letter from his late mother to the audience, fighting off his swells of heaving emotion with every breath. Even super-jocks have feelings…possibly even super-feelings. These gentle giants have athletic hearts that allow a greater capacity for weeping. The guy is waaaaaay compelling, dude! So, NO EXCUSE! THIS MOVIE SHOULD HAVE BEEN INTERESTING! Shame on you, heartless director! What happened? I’ll tell you: you got too caught up in the riches and glamour of the independent documentary game and lost sight of your roots, lost touch with your soul! Shaaaaaaaaaaame!

Also, Go Hawks!

 

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The “Boob” in Boob Tube

It's Not Degrading If She's A Hero!...No, Wait. She's Not A Hero If It's Degrading. That One.

I yell at TV. I don’t like to, but it compells me like the power of Christ compells demons at an exorcism. It’s just that TV is mean to ladies. TV makes pictures that look like ladies do stupid things like wash cars in their bikinis to sell hamburgers, be married to a 2 when they’re at least a 7, and fight crime in their underwear and heels. Ladies can’t get old  on TV. Ladies rarely get good jobs on TV. Ladies on TV are mostly just strippers or housewives or failing, messy, single girls who can’t land a man and whine about it all the time. That’s why TV makes me yell at it.

People roll their eyes at me a lot.

Miss Representation (dir. Jennifer Siebel Newsom), which showed at the Landlocked Film Festival, was a wonderful scented bubble-bath of validation for this angry girl’s angry heart. It was all like “Yeah, women ARE being portrayed unfairly, and are being underrepresented and misrepresented! You were totally right all along, and people should ALL be yelling at TV!” …only it did it in a rational, methodical, and very sleek, entertaining way. I nearly swooned.

There are some sappy parts where the director/narrator sits poetically under a sunlit tree, gazes up at the sky with a weary expression and wonders “what kind of world will my unborn baby girl child inhert etc, etc.?” (women, am I right?) but most of this film is incredibly snappy and smart. It’s as entertaining as a Michael Moore documentary, but without that sick “I just ate a whole large tub of cheese-blasted popcorn” feeling afterwards.

You want haunting statistics? You got ’em. You want frustrated eloquent teens? You got that too. Rachel Maddow, Condaleeza Rice, Geena Davis, Katie Couric, and tons of other famous and intelligent female humans? Yes, ma’am. How about a little hope at the bottom of the box? Yuuuuup!

Please, everyone, see this movie. I beg of you.

 

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