Monday, February 27, 2006

The Three Docs

Ok so over the last few days I've had some time to watch a few movies I got through Netflix. All three were documentary related. One was a movie about making a documentary. One was a documentary about a joke, and the last one was a documentary about a man and grizzly bears. So seeing how I'm feeling too dumb to actually write something I'm going to review them. Who's opinion do you trust more than mine?


Let's get started.

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

I love Wes Anderson and every movie he's ever been involved in. Ask me my favorite movies of all time and titles like Bottle Rocket and Rushmore are included every time. The Life Aquatic did not change any of this. While it's not my favorite of his films, it still made me laugh repeatedly. Bill Murray went from being funny on SNL and in movies like Ghostbusters, and Stripes in his early career, to just downright brilliant in everything he does now. Owen Wilson is great in this too. Jeff Goldblum scared me, but then again Jeff Goldblum always scares me. I wouldn't want to meet him in a dark alley somewhere. He just gives me the feeling he'd try to do things a lot worse than mugging me. Willem Dafoe is great as a German crew member fiercely loyal to Zissou. (Murray) Anyway the premise of the movie if you don't know, is Zissou's lifelong partner is killed by the Jaguar Shark. His once brilliant documentary career is fading, and he meets Owen Wilson who may or may not be his son. Wilson joins his crew as they go to find and kill the Jaguar shark that killed Zissou's best friend. In all reality the plot is background music. This movie is about the characters, and luckily they're terrific. If you haven't seen it, see it.

The Aristocrats

Ok, so I'd heard a lot about this movie. It is a documentary about an inside joke between comics for a long time. The premise simple. A guy walks into a talent agents office and tells him he has a great a
ct for him. It's a family act. Then the talent agent asks for a description, and the comic just ad libs the most disturbing, foul act he can think of with the family. There's a lot of shitting, fucking and sucking in the jokes. Then at the end the Agent asks what they're called and the punchline is "The Aristocrats!" It's a horrible joke. The only point of it is it is a great way to evaluate a comic. So over 100 comedians are interviewd and all give their take on the joke, and their favorite renditions. It's pretty funny at times. Highlights include Sarah Silverman, Bob Saget, and I like Martin Mull's alternative version of the joke. All in all though there was a lot of dead air in it for me. Some of the comics just sucked at the joke, and to be honest, you can only hear so many comics describe fathers defecating on their sons before it loses its shock value. So where as I didn't hate it, I didn't love it either. This is one of those movies where you don't mind seeing it, but you aren't really missing anything if you don't.

The Grizzly Man

Without question this is the funniest documentary that I have EVER seen. Only problem
is that it's not intended to be funny at all. The unintentional humor is off the charts though. There were times when I was watching it that I swore it had to be fake. Like a Daily Show sketch or something. I was waiting for Will Ferrell to pop out of a bear costume at any moment.

It never happened though.

The documentary is about Timothy Treadwell. A guy from Malibu who for 13 years spent his summers in Alaska among grizzly bears. When I say among grizzly bears, I don't mean like 300 yards away either. I mean petting them on the nose, and yes, even punching one in the face at one point. Somehow the bear ran away. Which made me wonder "What happens when the grizzly bears see this movie? That bear is going to be torn a new one. He got beat up by some insane blonde guy. That's like being a high school junior, and going to pick up your little brother in kindergarten, and promptly getting your ass kicked by the kindergarten bully. It's not good for y
our rep."

I think a lot of stupid things though. I found that this happens a lot while watching this movie. The truth is Treadwell is certifiably insane. I don't mean goofy or eccentric either. I mean fuckin nuts. Of course living alone in Alaska among bears probably does that to a guy. Treadwell looks nothing like you'd expect either. I was expecting some bearded mountain man. Instead I got a surfer guy from Malibu with a lisp.

The humor never stops either. At least not for me. Whether its the morticians eyes lighting up as if he's performing a musical when describing the body parts of Treadwell and his girlfriend (Treadwell would have visitors occassionally for obvious reasons. That being he might be able to pet the bears, but couldn't have sex with them. His girlfriend picked a bad time to visit.) Oh did I forget to mention he dies? Well he does, but it doesn't spoil anything. In fact it's the point of the movie. He and his girlfriend get eaten alive one night. There is no footage, but there is audio. The audio is not in the film though for obvious reasons. As I was saying though the mortician LOVES talking about this tape. You half expect him to break into a song and dance. Then there is Treadwells ex girlfriend recieving his wristwatch from the mortician.

"It still works. We found it on his arm."

"It's all we have left of him!"
says his ex bursting into tears.

His ex was also his partner in The Grizzly People. A foundation consisting of the two of them. Bet ya can't guess what they did.

There are tons of other hilarious parts of this documentary, but I don't want to spoil the whole thing. There was the part though when one of the bears p
ooped, and well...Treadwell loved it. He loved everything. You'll find that out when you see it.

"That's her poop!!" he says as he touches it "It just came out of her. I can feel its warmth. It's her gift to me, it came out of her. It's her life."

Not making that up either. (Though it may be off by a word or two. But the gist is there.)

Without directly ordering you to do anything, you HAVE to see this movie. There are only two ways you can feel after it, so it's win win.

  1. You will either enjoy the documentary for what it is.
  2. You will laugh your ass off
You can't lose. Rent it. Buy it. Just see the damn movie. It's my lock of the week!!!

Keepin It Real Since 1980,


steeler247 said...

Too damn funny! The Treadwell documentary was hilarious. I mean the guy got eaten by a freaking grizzly with his girlfriend! What a date! His high-pitched voice can't even be duplicated if you tried.

I felt sorry for him for like 2 seconds...but the grizzly did what a grizzly does! They eat!

I hate to see/hear that wildlife are killed for doing what wild animals do. Its the dumb people like Treadwell who infringe on their habitats.

nh Treadwell. gg Grizzly.

Kent Hrbek said...

life aquatic today for hrbek