I wasn't feeling great earlier this week, so I called out of work, snuggled into bed, and between naps watched a slew of documentaries on Netflix. Here's a rundown in case you're looking for some doc-u-tv.
Stephen Fry in America
Out of everything I watched, this was definitely my favorite. Too often, I forget just how many cool things are available to us, how diverse we are, and the amazing range of landscapes that are available to us in the United States. For some reason, I am now obsessed with visiting Montana. The mountains, the lakes, and just vast expanses of quiet land are my idea of a heaven. However, if I had to bundle up every day because its freezing cold, couldn’t get great internet access, and didn’t have a Starbucks on every corner, I’m not sure how long I could take it. Oregon and Seattle also looked absolutely amazing. I love the idea of mountains and rocky, chilly shorelines. Anyway, Fry successfully renewed my interest in the US and it was just a fun series to watch.
When You're Strange
This was an interesting look at The Doors. The movie is all real footage of the band and overdubbed with commentary by Johnny Depp (even his voice is swoony). I thought that Jim Morrison came across as both grandiose and completely insecure. It seemed like he wanted to get away and have a different life, yet he was so drawn into the limelight that he couldn’t let go. It obviously had a sad ending and it left me with a lot of lingering questions. I would love to be able to sit down and have a chat with Ray Manzarek.
Kurt & Courtney
Speaking of sad endings, this movie was just depressing (and the fact that it started with that horrible photo of him dead on the floor in the greenhouse gave me nightmares). I don’t know what I believe about all of the conspiracy theories, but I didn’t feel like the film did anything to make me teeter one way or the other. It just felt horrible listening to all of the sordid details. I really want to find a doc that says something more about the person that Cobain was and less about the aftermath.
Black White + Gray: A Portrait of Sam Wagstaff + Robert Mapplethorpe
Earlier this year, I read Just Kids , which is Patti Smith's autobiography about her time in NYC with Robert Mapplethorpe. This movie covers the time period after that and is mostly about Mapplethorpe’s benefactor and lover Sam Wagstaff. He was an immensely interesting person and has been credited for the acceptance of photography as an art form. His immense photography collection was used throughout the film. It is true that what someone collects tells you a great deal about the person. It was also interesting to see how he was able to constantly reinvented himself.