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Documentary Tanked Matinee: Where the Movies Come to Drink! Fri, 21 Jul 2017 12:35:05 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb DEAR MR. WATTERSON (2013) DEAR MR. WATTERSON (2013)

The Buzz:

        A documentary that examines the popularity of Calvin & Hobbes, through interviews with various comic artists, archivists, and fans.


Life of the Party:'s one of the more decent documentaries I've seen in terms of how it's put together. There's nothing technically wrong with it, and hell! It's Calvin & Hobbes! It's a nice trip down memory lane that made me break out one of my old books and start to re-read it.


Potential Hangovers:

        I think my main complaint with Dear Mr. Watterson is that I really learned nothing new. If you have even a passing knowledge of the comic and Bill Watterson's quirks, then you pretty much already know everything there is to talk about in this film. If you were hoping to learn something new and exciting, then you'll be sadly disappointed.


The Vibe: Lazy Afternoon

The shortness of this review should clue you in to exactly what you're in for. There's nothing technically wrong, and it is enjoyable, just...pointless? So pour out a nice sipping drink and waste some time away taking a trip back to your childhood.



+ It's Calvin & Hobbes!

+ Decently done documentary

- Really no purpose is served besides fan-service

- Honestly feel like more could have been done with this

]]> (Enuncia) Documentary Fri, 11 Jul 2014 12:00:00 +0000


     Among serious (read: crazy) mountain climbers, Everest is easy mode. The locals call it “the mountain that is slightly taller than the other mountains.” It’s tough, but the base-to-summit climb is way easier to take in stages than most of the “Eight Thousanders (mountaineer lingo for the 14 peaks that reach 8,000 meters above sea level), and all of the camps along the way are better equipped and better established. And even though more people have died climbing Everest than any other mountain, it is not the most dangerous. However, the second tallest peak in the world, K2, has killed one person for every four who has made it to the summit. And in 2008, it killed eleven people in one day. This awesome documentary chronicles the incident how it went down as best as the survivors could determine after the whole ordeal was over with a mixture of original footage, high-budget re-enactments, and interviews with the survivors. It makes for a hauntingly gripping documentary, and damn good viewing.



     This is a very well-made film. Honestly at times it’s tough to tell the difference between the filming that was shot at the time and the re-enactments, making for a truly claustrophobic, daunting film. There is real humanity in the retellings, and the whole thing is arranged deftly. Additionally, you don’t need to know a thing about climbing insanely tall mountains to be engrossed here. They explain all about how humans slowly wither and literally go insane above 8,000 meters (aptly, but uncreatively named “The Death Zone”), and this movie really makes you start feeling as taxed as the hapless adventurers. Even though you know how the movie ends from the very beginning, the film feels more like The Thing than Vertical Limit. Watching a crew of damned men and women adds real gravity (pardon the pun) to what could otherwise feel like a dry, clinical experience. You’ll feel each death. Man, this really is the life of the party.



     This isn’t a happy film. There isn’t a good ending. You can read all about the mechanics of how boned these guys were from the start on Wikipedia (spoiler alert: very, very). So I don’t really recommend putting this on at a raving party, because you’ll miss out on the drama of a pretty technical hobby that most of us don’t have much exposure to. It doesn’t work very well as a movie for large parties, and even though it’s a really gripping documentary, the stark, blanched landscape does pretty much to opposite of providing colorful humanity. It’s dreary in the best way. But not good for your occasion if you aren’t looking for that. Beautiful, sweeping vistas are not here.


THE ATMOSPHERE: Guy’s Night, Deep Thoughts, Solo Experience

     If you’re in the mood for a movie about the strongest, most ambitious men and women possible trying to conquer one of the world’s toughest challenges (and reaping horrible results from said endeavor), this is the documentary for you. The way it’s filmed uniquely makes the viewer feel just as trapped, isolated, and hopeless as the doomed multinational climbing team. This makes for good, hardassed survival viewing if your group is in a raring-to-go mood. But you may want to follow up with something a bit more lighthearted. Alternatively, if you are in a desperation mood, watch it with a quiet, focused group, or by yourself for extra points. It really is a fantastic representation of a horrible tragedy, and it needs more attention. So check it out!



Once per talking head interview

Twice each time they say “bottleneck”

Thrice each time they say “serac”

(ONE BY ONE THEY FALL MODE) Take a shot for each on-screen death

]]> (JHBoman) Documentary Thu, 13 Mar 2014 20:28:49 +0000


     This documentary chronicles the rise and works of Drew Stuzan, and industry giant that you've probably never heard of (I certainly hadn't), but who you definitely are familiar with. If you've seen any movie posters ever, you've probably seen his masterpieces. He's an amazing artist who did (among a vast number of others) the art for every Star Wars film, Back to the Future, Big Trouble in Little China, any Harry Potter movie, the Muppets movies, and you know what, so many more, I'm going to go ahead and stop here. He's so ubiquitous that you probably can name several more just from knowing a couple that he did.



     If you're interested in the film industry at all (and you are), this film is a no-brainer. The guy is immensely talented, and the entire runtime, you will be shocked at how widespread his work has gotten. Hell, he even composed an Alice Cooper album cover. On top of that, the guy is just endlessly likeable, and the documentary is loaded with interviews from Hollywood giants from start to finish talking about how crucial he is to their films. It really is great to learn about a staple of film like this guy, especially if you find documentaries about contemporary artists intriguing. As a moving portfolio, this flick really does Stuzan's work justice, and rarely is a documentary so uplifting without being syrupy.



     This isn't really a party movie. Though informative, well constructed, and fascinating from start to finish, it's not what I'd call triumphant in the Bill and Ted definition of the word. It's the type of gem you'd want to put on when everyone is focused on the screen. Which, frankly, isn't a down side at all.


THE ATMOSPHERE: Cocktail Party, Casual Gathering, Family Night

     Considering how great of a documentary this is, it really works well for any occasion where people want to pay attention. As such, it would be an awesome film to put on while you're serving classy drinks. You can pretend you're curating or something. Incidentally, being that it's about all sorts of movies over the past several decades and is completely devoid of anything anyone could remotely consider objectionable, it'd be a great family night movie as well, assuming your kids are cool with watching documentaries. But whatever, they don't pay the bills anyway, so it's not like they have a right to complain. Either way, check it out! I bet you'll be as impressed as I was.



Once when you recognize a piece of artwork that you've seen before

Twice when you recognize someone giving an interview about Drew

(Industry Titan Mode) Take a shot for each series Stuzan drew multiple entries for

]]> (JHBoman) Documentary Thu, 27 Feb 2014 22:36:52 +0000

The Buzz:

        This documentary takes a look at the controversial website WikiLeaks, it's founder Julian Assange, and the events that brought them to the world's center stage. Featuring archive footage of Assange and interviews with his co-workers and those he interacted with, this film follows the history of the site, and reveals the details behind it's most controversial leak from the actions of Chelsea (Bradley) Manning.


Life of the Party:

        I primarily watched We Steal Secrets due to the fact that my driving desire to stay out of politics in all forms meant that I was largely ignorant of these events when they took place. And coming from that standpoint (and I'm sure as someone who may (think they) know everything there is to know about this), it's a fascinating documentary. It does a very good job of peeling back the politics to reveal a reasonably unbiased (as far as I know anyway) account of history. Though I will say you might find that statement bullshit for the first half of the film, but keep watching and you'll see what I mean. I for one found it interesting how the mood and tone of the film shifts with that of the subjects, which makes the experience that much more encapsulating.

        No matter which side of the argument you fall on, We Steal Secrets is well worth your time if you have even a passing interest in WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, or the massive leak of U.S. secrets.


This guy went from unknown, to most hated (by some) man in America, and is now largely forgotten

Potential Hangovers:

        There's really nothing to put here, besides that those who are too cemented in their beliefs (aka people who believe the phrase “well that's my opinion” summons a magical force field against being proven wrong with facts) will not be entertained. But then again I have no time for those kind of people, so I don't really care if they watch it or not.


The Vibe: Lazy Afternoon, Solo Experience, Deep Thoughts

        We Steal Secrets, like most documentaries in my opinion, is really best served as a solo endeavor, either as a time killer or if you're looking to actually learn something from the time you waste on Netflix. Fans of the other site-favorite documentary The Pirate Bay; Away from Keyboard will almost certainly enjoy We Steal Secrets (and even notice some familiar faces/events). And much like that film, and unlike most things we review here, it's quite inappropriate as a “drinking film,” since I recommend you actually pay attention to what's going on and think critically.



+ Very well executed documentary

+ Remarkably fair in its presentation

]]> (Enuncia) Documentary Wed, 15 Jan 2014 12:00:00 +0000


     A Danish documentarian (Mads Brugger) goes on a trip to North Korea with two Danish comedians (Jacob Nossell and Simon Jul) who were adopted from South Korea as children. The reason they told DPRK officials for the trip was as a small theatre/comedy group intending cultural exchange. The real reason is to try to get an inside look at North Korea. Although the subject seems to be a pretty lighthearted endeavor, the film pretty quickly becomes dark as hell and genuinely unsettling. Jacob has spastic paralysis and is physically disabled to an extent; DPRK is rumored to have an official policy of killing the disabled so as not to reflect poorly on their hermetic, tightly controlled image. So what it ends up being is a deeply creepy 90 minutes of equal parts fetishizing over and loathing of Jacob and a disconcerting painting of how truly fucked up of a nation North Korea is with regards to the disabled as they parade him around the country for wantonly transparent propaganda purposes.


     Our general terminology for the different sections of our review format really just doesn’t fit with this movie, so I’ve altered it to be a bit more respectful of the material. I should stress that although this is one of my favorite documentaries I’ve seen recently, it’s not a fun movie. It’s eye-opening, and if you’re as fascinated by the most totalitarian regime on Earth as I am, you really need to see this documentary. It gives insight into the weird minds of a generations-brainwashed people who, throughout the runtime, respond to Jacob’s disability in bizarre, unpredictable ways. Interactions this (for lack of a better word) real almost never escape North Korea in footage. The result ends up being so surreal that it made me dumbstruck at points. Even though this movie is about comedy (at least on the surface), very few things in this movie are intentionally funny. However, the handlers assigned to the group behave in such an alien fashion devoid of normal reasoning that occasionally the utter weirdness is funny in its own regard. This does not change how dire of a picture this film paints of the plight of the North Koreans. The crescendo of this documentary is jaw-dropping. I will not even sort of describe it, because it needs to be seen with no expectations to be believed.


     It’s a soul-crushing film. My heart breaks for everyone in this film. Not a bit of the tension is lost on Jacob, who regularly keeps voicing his discontent in Danish so that the handlers can’t understand him. The picture definitely does not paint the country in a good light, so it is very likely that every North Korean responsible for handling these three guys is dead now. Really, if you have a group of people who want to know more about Best Korea, they’ll already know what to expect, and may not have seen this. Besides that, I can’t really imagine any other demographic of people who’d want to drink to this movie. Make no mistake, this is definitely a movie you’ll want to drink to if this review appeals to you so far, but it’s not for happy reasons.

RECOMMENDED VIEWING: Deep Thoughts, Solo Experience

     The Red Chapel is dark, yet illuminating. If you want to learn more about the worst place on the planet, you really will want to see this film. Could a documentary about comedians be the saddest, most existentially exhausting film you’ve seen in recent memory? Potentially. But it’s worth seeing. Not enough people know about DPRK, and even if you are well-versed in the geopolitical situation in the area, this may be a completely different perspective on it. Watch it; don’t put it on at a party. Sorry if I don’t really have any jokes to make about it.


The whole movie. Don’t stop.

]]> (JHBoman) Documentary Mon, 23 Dec 2013 20:36:05 +0000

     If I asked you to name an African movie, you'd probably be hard-pressed to come up with anything that wasn't either The Lion King, District 13, or that 30-second trailer for Ghanaian Terminator vs. Predator. Though most people in the West aren't aware of it, the African country of Nigeria (with some help from Ghana) actually has an extremely prolific film industry - it ranks third in the world behind only India (Bollywood) and the US (Hollywood), and has come to be affectionately known as “Nollywood.” Nollywood Babylon gives us a brief tour of the country, explains how its unique style of filmmaking came to be almost by accident, and follows along with several directors and producers of today, providing a fascinating look at the unique culture of West Africa interpreted through a familiar art form.

 Life of the Party (Positives):

     Enumerating the strengths of a documentary is difficult, since often the best parts are the interesting facts you learn. Just telling you those facts here would kindof defeat the purpose, but here's some basic ideas to get you interested: Nigeria, like much of Africa, is a poor country, and so a film industry simply wasn't possible until the arrival of VHS in the early '90s. In the twenty-some years since, however, home-grown movies have exploded in popularity to such a degree that filmmaking is actually the second-largest industry in the entire country – that's right, more Nigerians are employed making movies than almost any other single field. Generally, these movies are shot, edited, and produced using consumer electronics and off-the-rack editing software, then pressed into DVDs and sold in local shops and on street corners. Basically, for anybody who loves the practice of low-budget filmmaking in general, this movie is the ultimate depiction of that sub-industry. The film also goes into detail about Nigerian culture, common themes and storytelling techniques, how it led to a predominance of guerrilla-style filmmaking, why the entire industry skips theatrical releases and goes straight-to-video, and various other fun details.

MINOR SPOILERS: One reason why the entire industry skips theatrical releases and goes straight-to-video.


     Fortunately, since the official language of Nigeria is English (did you know that? I didn't know that), all the interviews and the movies themselves are completely understandable (with subtitles just to account for thick accents). The result is that we can enjoy all the film clips just as much as the local audiences do, if not more so, because many of them look so darn goofy. Although most Nigerian movies are inexpensive romantic dramas or comedies, quite a few of them involve fantasy elements, complete with incredibly cheesy special effects. Unlike Western fantasy movies, however, African fantasy is much more grounded in religions and traditional superstitions that people actually believe in, from Christianity to Voodoo. Organized religion has a strong connection to the film industry as well, with some large evangelical organizations doubling as film studios to help spread their philosophical message through movies. The fact that the movie begins with acclaimed Nigerian director Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen (yes, that's his real name) leading the cast and crew in prayer, literally asking Jesus to bless their cameras, microphones, and lighting rigs, was a simple demonstration of how art and spirituality are inextricably linked.

     Lancelot, by the way, is an extremely prolific filmmaker, having produced and directed more than 150 low-budget films since 1999, which makes him basically the Roger Corman of Nigeria... and, dammit, I'm spouting trivia again. Just watch the movie, it's full of interesting stuff!

The standard Nigerian film crew: director, cameraman, two boom operators,

and one guy who's just there to be on lookout for roving hyenas.


Potential Hangovers (Negatives):

     I honestly can't think of any major weaknesses to this movie, it's cleanly produced, features some entertaining personalities, and covers interesting material that flies under the general public consciousness. If anything, I wish there were a little more of it, as at only 75 minutes long, I feel like they could have added another segment or two to get really in-depth.


The Vibe – Solo Experience, Casual Gathering

     Like many documentaries, you should put this on when you want to actually learn something new, so checking it out alone or with some friends that are also interested in Africa or filmmaking as an industry would be best. The film does have a pretty groovy Afro-beat soundtrack, but just because it sounds like a party doesn't mean it's necessarily well-suited for one. Even with subtitles, being too distracted might cause you to miss the interesting anecdotes and Ed Wood-style special effects (the witch-burning scene is especially hilarious).


+ Interesting and emotionally-evocative stories about a country most people know little about

+ Loosely follows a low-budget film production from start to finish

+ Entertaining just from the sheer volume of quirky foreign movie clips on display

- Kinda short and could have provided more

]]> (Alex Lane) Documentary Fri, 20 Dec 2013 03:03:36 +0000

The Buzz:


     A documentary looking at the work and influence of the grandfather of stop-motion animation – Ray Harryhausen. With interviews from many acclaimed directors of modern films discussing how their pictures could have never existed if it weren't for this incredibly talented man.



Life of the Party:


     The real treat of this film is seeing so much of Harryhausen's work in one single place. In this documentary we get to see behind the scenes footage of most of his films as well as see exactly how he pulled off some of the movie magic he pioneered. This really showcases how much of a one-man talent he really was. He drew all his own storyboards, creature concept artwork, designed the riggings for the creatures that would allow them to move (though they were largely manufactured by his father in the early years, based on Ray's designs) and he sculpted and painted the latex molds that would eventually bring the creatures to life. He also developed his own editing tricks, camera tricks, and animated each frame by hand himself. While never the writer or the director of any of his films, it is important to understand that so much of Harryhausen went into each picture he was a part of that they are ALL referred to as HIS pictures as opposed to any other person involved with it's production.


     Though I have always been a fan of his work; I've never stopped to consider how modern filming techniques, how things are animated, and even so far current special effects including CGI came about due to Ray Harryhausen. And then when you realize that this is all because of one man who worked tirelessly and passionately... not a team of people... One man. This documentary really upgraded the level of reverence I had for this great master of cinema.



Come on get on the floor... everybody walk the dinosaur...


Potential Hangovers:


     This film didn't look as deeply into the films themselves as much as I would have liked. There's definitely lots of neat tidbits of data about each of his movies, but I feel like they could have delved in a bit more. Instead you get too much of other directors and special effects artists kissing Ray's ass. While it is, as I said above, nice to here how he influenced modern films, I really felt like that could have been it's own portion towards the end of the documentary and taken up maybe 20 minutes of run time instead of being a constant throughout. Most anyone who's seen Clash of the Titans or 7th Voyage of Sinbad know how awesome Harryhausen is in terms of the end results we saw on screen. What most people have always wondered is... how did he get to that point? What was the process? And the bits of the documentary that focus on that were much much to short and shallow.



Luckily the cyclops' depth perception was WAY off...


The Vibe: Solo Experience


While I'm sure that there are groups of cinemaphiles like us here at Tanked Matinee that would sit down in a casual group and watch something about Ray Harryhausen, I have no misplaced delusions that such a group is common place. More than likely you want to sit down and pay homage to this great man, or maybe just learn more about him since many people now a days don't know who the hell he is! And if you have time to kill and want to do that... this is a good watch. I enjoyed it and I think any fan of classic films will also. That being said, it's not going to liven up a room or even be the best documentary you've ever seen. It's in all ways mediocre in those respects, but because it's subject matter is so mind blowingly awesome... it's a must watch.



Drinking Games:


- Every time James Cameron doesn't know what he's talking about.

- Every time fat Peter Jackson is on screen instead of skinny Peter Jackson

- Every time John Landis mentions one of his own films.

- Every time Star Wars or Lord of the Rings is mentioned or seen on screen.

HARDCORE MODE: Drink every time a Harryhausen creature is on screen.

]]> (Biggs) Documentary Sun, 17 Nov 2013 19:15:05 +0000

     For much of the 20th century, fitness was still a fairly small industry, and bodybuilding was an extremely niche pursuit, with bodybuilding contests viewed as something like a carnival freak show by the average person. Then, in 1977, the documentary Pumping Iron changed all that, by introducing a pair of charismatic bodybuilding rivals named Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno to the general public, launching acting careers for both of them and instantly making weight-lifting cool. In other words, this is the film that gave us Conan the Barbarian and The Incredible Hulk, as well as being directly responsible for the popularity of the fitness and physical conditioning hobbies to this day. In addition to its role in history, it also provides a fun look back at life in 1970s America, and depicts the intense psychological drama pervading elite-level competition. Plus, a whole lot of retro beefcake, if you're into that sort of thing.


Seriously, in his prime, Arnold's pecs were like a truck bearing down on you


Life of the Party (Positives):

     For a movie about huge guys doing deadlifts, Pumping Iron is a surprisingly lightweight documentary (hurr hurr). Narration is rare, and the formal interview segments are few and far between – most of the movie's time is spent just silently following the characters through their training days and showing what the backstage of competition is like. Although the original concept of the movie was to follow the training of actor Bud Cort, a bodybuilding novice, that plan eventually fell through, shifting most of the focus to Cort's trainer, Arnold Schwarzenegger (five-time Mr. Olympia at that point), and several other amateur and professional competitors as they prepare for a world title competition. Hence, the movie is less about gritty details of training and the bodybuilding lifestyle, and more about the drama of competition and where these athletes get their dedication from. Several of the athletes share stories about their motivations, and the psychological techniques they use to train harder and ensure a victory on the show stage.

     Since the movie focuses more on the mental and social aspects of the sport, even someone with no interest in picking up heavy things and putting them back down again can enjoy the interplay of the characters. The rivalry between Ferrigno and Schwarzenegger is played up quite a bit, and their training montages are shot specifically to show their differences in background. Ferrigno, the reserved, blue-collar underdog, works out in a cramped, dingy weightroom with his middle-aged father, while Schwarzenegger, the dominating world champion, lifts in a shiny Venice Beach gym and poses for magazine photoshoots with half-naked women. It's like a Rocky movie more than anything, though I won't spoil whether Rocky or Ivan Drago ends up winning - despite the movie coming out two years after it was shot, they do their best to maintain dramatic tension and I'd hate to ruin it now.


 The '70s, when not even the gyms were safe from the scourges of ugly carpet and tacky wood paneling.


Potential Hangovers (Negatives):

     What's most emphasized in the story of Pumping Iron is the variety of personalities that get involved in the sport, from the completely benign to the totally ruthless. If you're a big Arnold Schwarzenegger fan, you'll want to see this movie, though you might be slightly put off by how psychotically competitive he seems to be, to a degree that seems almost unsportsmanlike. He regularly talks about trying to psyche out his opponents to gain an advantage on stage, stories of pranks he’s pulled on unsuspecting peers, and even shares an anecdote about skipping his father's funeral because it didn't fit his training schedule. Despite being the main character, Arnold is in many ways the monolithic villain of the movie, which is an unusual filmmaking choice that can make viewers a little uncomfortable – thanks to his personality, he remains so damn likeable despite his rampant douchebaggery. Other leading bodybuilders seem the same way, and it's odd that you're supposed to be sharing in the pride and joy of guys who come off like a bunch of egotistical bullies. They’re not bad people outside of competition, but when it comes to winning, they’re deadly serious and will seize any advantage they can.

     At the same time, I will spoil one thing about this movie for you: a lot of the big dramatic moments were at least semi-staged. The making-of documentary that's included on most DVDs of Pumping Iron goes into detail about how Schwarzenegger partnered with the director to portray himself as more of a villain, just to help the movie's plot, and how some scenes were actually shot out of order to attribute motivations for certain actions that weren't actually there at the time. Is this cheating? Kindof. It makes for a more interesting viewing experience, certainly, though it's more of a stretch to call it a true documentary when you find out how many dramatic shenanigans were involved.


The Atmosphere – Solo Experience, Lazy Afternoon (Ironically):

     At the end of the day, even if some elements were essentially faked, Pumping Iron is still a straightforward depiction of the dedication and insanely hard work that it takes to chisel a perfectly Herculean form, and in that way, it's inspirational. If it had been a movie just about training, all the characters would be perfectly admirable, it’s just the competitive element that brings out everyone's dark side. This movie is beloved by serious athletic types for the inspiration factor, and is an interesting documentary even just as a snapshot of '70s culture, right down to the funky theme song. You've seen Lou Ferrigno posing and lifting plenty of times, but have you seen a long shot of Lou Ferrigno lovingly feathering his hair? Seriously, man, this movie is SEVENTIES. Despite its charm, this isn’t the kind of movie for parties, unless it's a background for a veeeery particular theme night, but as an interesting niche documentary, it's an entertaining production about a little-understood topic. Just go into it armed with the knowledge that all the dramatics were definitely on the juice.

+ Intriguing exploration of the psychological drama of elite-level sports.

+ Young before-they-were-stars delivering quotable lines and getting into amusing situations (like one scene where Arnold does a demo at a prison and gets constantly hit on).

+/- Absolute acres of dude on display. There’s loads of flesh, like, all the time.

- Story structure makes it hard to root for the guys when they’re all being dicks to each other.

- Some elements being staged makes this not a “clean” documentary.


Drinking Game Suggestions:

~ Drink whenever Arnold flashes the “goofy Arnold smile”

~ Drink whenever someone says the word big, huge, or any other synonym for largeness

~ Drink whenever someone checks himself out in a mirror

~ NO PAIN NO GAIN MODE: Whenever someone starts doing reps, chug for the duration of those reps

]]> (Alex Lane) Documentary Fri, 08 Nov 2013 16:51:04 +0000

The Buzz

     This new 2011 health documentary by Lee Fulkerson is more like a biography of two prominent food scientists, Dr. T Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn.  It follows their childhoods on farms up to their most acclaimed research. Using excerpts from their research, the doc explains how the REAL culprit of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke is meat and dairy. Personal testimonies are used heavily to supplement their research.  

Life of the Party

     “Forks” does a fairly decent job of making nutritionists enjoyable, and includes some interesting tidbits on the history of food science. It uses reputable doctors and sources and doesn’t compound on itself too much, which makes coming in and out of the storyline pretty easy. The visuals and charts are simple to understand from a distance or in a crowd of noisy people.
Potential Hangovers

     You would think that a documentary about food would be fantastic for a group of food lovers; no one can turn down an episode or two of Man Vs. Food.  This indie film is NOT one of those kind of documentaries, unfortunately. Advocating an all-vegan diet is not only is it a massive buzzkill for meat-themed parties (I’m preparing for sausage fest early this year), but incredibly wrong. The scientists themselves admit that they have taken a plummet in fame slightly less embarrassing than Linus Pauling’s Vitamin C fetish, and that they are now ostracized from their scientific community. They even had the evil American Dietetic Association claiming that meat and dairy are needed in moderation (heresy!). The studies presented, in short, were used as evidence for unrelated patterns. They claim that impoverished nations have less cancer because of their diet (not adjusting for average lifespan).  They claim that vegan diets can cure diabetes, a chronic disease that can only be managed. They even lied about how much protein is in a potato: 3.6%, not 8%!

The Vibe

     Do you and your friends love long infomercials for Acia berry products? This movie is for you! A vegan diet will cure all your problems, from cancer to diabetes to all types of cardiovascular problems: the biggest killers in America.  Here are a few currently-less-respected doctors in lab coats and a lot of emotional personal testimonies. BUT WAIT, THAT’S NOT ALL! Did you like "Expelled?" Not only can a vegan diet cure your health problems, but the scientific community is so bought out by big business names that they are actively working to prevent you from eating it. America has a disease, and big business is the cause. BUT WAIT, THERE IS STILL MORE! Did you like Sicko?" The American diet is far less superior than its starving nation neighbors. Kenya and post-Nazi Europe, for instance, hardly ever got cancer on account of the scarcity of meat. Fancy that! This is absolutely not suitable for any sized viewing or any amount of alcohol [But since that's not what we do around here, I'm going to classify this movie as Cocktail Party, that you may chortle exhuberantly at this movie's wantonly gleeful inadequacies and inaccuracies. Bully! - Editor].

Plus and minuses:
+ “3D graphics”
- Abdication of moderation and portion size in favor of veganism
+ Friendly interviews
- Conspiracy theories
+ Gets people to think about food choices and food science
- One big plug for Whole Foods
+ Includes actual statistics
- Has no idea what "correlation" and "causation" mean

Drink when

One of the two primary doctors is onscreen

When someone notices their facts are wrong

(Hard Mode) When food is onscreen

]]> (MebStars) Documentary Fri, 20 Sep 2013 14:23:09 +0000

The Buzz

    A young, enthusiastic filmmaker documents several years of interactions with Jack Rebney, the unwitting viral sensation from the legenday video of the angriest Winnebago salesman in the world. If you don't immediately know what video I'm talking about, I recommend watching it now. It's short, uproarious, and (frankly) you should have already seen it by now, considering you're on the internet and this thing even got forwarded around by grandparents. Either way, Rebney is a former furious newscaster turned furious RV salesman whose life was ruined by that not-meant-to-be-seen-by-literally-everyone-in-the-world video. Ben Steinbauer, the filmographer, attempts to get him to embrace his role in a video seen by millions. The result is an excellent, soulful documentary about an incredibly weird, genuine, angry character.


The Life of the Party 

     This movie is seriously a Pixar movie. The cameraman/director/kid from UP hounds the ever-living shit out of a haggard, world-weary, miserable old bastard who just wants everyone to get the fuck off of his lawn. The guy drags Rebney all over the place trying to get him to confront the video that literally drove him to live in a cabin in the woods. By the end, lessons are learned, feels are had, cussing happens a whole goddamned lot. And considering Jack Rebney used to be a telejournalist until he literally got mad as hell and wasn't going to take it anymore, the dialog and delivery is utterly fantastic, and I don't say that lightly. He's like the white, near-senile Samuel L Jackson. By the way, you've noticed I've said literally a bunch of times, it's because this guy is literally a cartoon character (oh man, I bet you just twitched reading that). Combine all this with simple yet competent camera work, sound design, and lighting, and you get a frequently hilarious soulful look into one of most geniune individuals I've ever seen  in a documentary.


Potential Hangovers 

Despite how bombastic Rebney is, he's really a subtle character. The whole change he undergoes during the entire movie would absolutely be lost if everyone was just watching casually. This is the type of movie that very pleasantly engrosses. You want to know more and see what happens next, and it's paced very well. All of this means that this sort of movie really won't work in a party environment. Sure, his individual cuss lines are really funny and punctuated, making for easy, casual absorbtion, but the over-arching plot is the best part. Oh, and if you're a fan of Dick Cheney, you won't like this movie. But I have like a hundred follow-up questions if you like Dick Cheney. Goddammit, I'm going to turn into Jack Rebney someday.


The Vibe: Cocktail Party, Date Night, Deep Thoughts

     This movie is a very fun movie to watch. It is constantly uplifting, and I never say that as a good thing about movies. But by the end, it'll put you in a good mood and give you an interesting and very entertaining perspective on an unforgettable character. This makes it great for environments where the environment is quiet and stimulated towards discussion of the art. It's most certainly a conversationalist's movie and the guy is endlessly quotable. You know, if you talk like we do. Give it a shot, and when you watch it the second time through, play the brutal drinking game below to it; that's like New Game+!


+ Hilarious character interaction

+ Great premise

+ Swearing that Scotland would applaud

+ Engrossing plot

-  Not good for loud parties



When they play a clip from the original viral video

When they cut to a talking head interview segment

HARD: When Jack says any of George Carlin's seven words you can't say on TV.

]]> (JHBoman) Documentary Wed, 04 Sep 2013 22:04:13 +0000