Thursday, January 5

Docu-Days Part III

Don't worry if you're not particularly interested in fashion, this documentary is great for anyone.  Bill Cunningham, U.S. soldier turned hat maker turned fashion photographer for The New York Times, is such a fascinating and loveable personality to watch onscreen. 

For decades, Cunningham has been obsessively chronicling fashion trends in his columns "On the Street" and "Evening Hours".  This documentary follows the Schwinn-riding octogenarian for 2 years as he adds more photographs to his enormous body of work.  While he photographs the fashion elite and works for one of the most prestigious publications in the world, he has such an unassuming nature.  He's seen throughout the film in his signature blue workman's jacket (which are sold folded in a plastic bag) and we also see that his 12-hour workdays are often fueled by only a egg-and-sausage sandwich from a hole in the wall diner.

Bill Cunningham has such a kind soul and enthusiasm for his work that you can't help but enjoy watching his life unfold for a couple hours.

P.S. I thought the most beautiful and poignant part of the film was when Cunningham discusses the lowest point in his photography career and his decision to leave Women's Wear Daily.  You can see how even years later, he is still so emotionally connected to the subjects he photographs.  Gotta love a man who sticks to his convictions.

King of Kong: Fistful of Quarters

King of Kong follows the two best Donkey Kong players in America, Billy Mitchell and Steve Wiebe.  Yes, this documentary focuses on Donkey Kong, a game that has a fraction of the cultural significance it once had in the '80s. 

Mitchell, the boastful and self-obsessed world record holder, has developed a cult-like following for his ability to master games like Donkey Kong, Pac Man, and Centipede.  Even in 2005, his fans are unbelievably loyal to him, one even going so far as to say, "Everything about him is perfect." 

When Steve Wiebe, a laid off Boeing engineer, submits a tape of himself beating Mitchell's world record, all hell breaks loose.  Mitchell and his comrades launch a full-scale investigation and challenge Wiebe to a head-to-head Donkey Kong duel. I never thought I would find myself so invested in a game of Donkey Kong, but to this day, I still can't hear "Billy Mitchell" without shuddering. 

Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey

I instantly fell in love with the idea behind Being Elmo because, like many kids born in the late '80s, I was a huuuuuge Elmo fan.  As in I still have my Elmo stuffed animal to this day and I once dug through a pile of garbage when my great grandmother accidentally tossed my beloved pal in the trash. 

Being Elmo follows Kevin Clash, the voice and spirit behind the adored Sesame Street character.  I love that the film takes a serious look at Clash's obsession with his craft and doesn't play up the sappiness that you might expect with this subject matter.  You'll fall in love with Kevin's commitment to his character and his ability to give happiness to such a wide variety of individuals.  Plus, you get a sneak peek into the Muppet studio and learn the "Jim Henson stitch"!

1 comment:

  1. They are showing Being Elmo at IU this weekend!


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