Required Reading: Essential Documentaries and Funny Superheroes

Man with a Movie Camera


The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere.

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The 100 Most Necessary Documentaries to Stream on Netflix This September” — Chris Campbell at Nonfics has something to keep you busy and surrounded by real life.

Movie Guide Memories” — Leonard Maltin reflects on an institution that he’ll be closing soon.

In those days before videocassettes and DVDs, I tried to develop contacts at each of the studios who understood my need for detailed information—not merely what was printed in the press handouts. I developed a network of contacts, sometimes a publicist, other times a person in the print traffic department. One time I asked a man at United Artists how he determined the running time of the titles in their library and he said, “Uh…we use your book.” It was flattering—but not useful.”

Is TV’s golden age ‘too big to fail’?” — Chris Osterndorg at The Week overwhelms with a look at all the prestige shows on tap from cable to the internet.

Werner Herzog’s No-Bullshit Advice to Aspiring Filmmakers and Creative Entrepreneurs” — Maria Popova at Brain Pickings collects and contextualizes some tips from a former welder.

“Roll up your sleeves and work as a bouncer in a sex club or a warden in a lunatic asylum or a machine operator in a slaughterhouse. Drive a taxi for six months and you’ll have enough money to make a film. Walk on foot, learn languages and a craft or trade that has nothing to do with cinema. Filmmaking — like great literature — must have experience of life at its foundation. Read Conrad or Hemingway and you can tell how much real life is in those books. A lot of what you see in my films isn’t invention; it’s very much life itself, my own life. If you have an image in your head, hold on to it because — as remote as it might seem — at some point you might be able to use it in a film. I have always sought to transform my own experiences and fantasies into cinema.”

Hollywood’s Female Superheroes Lack One Weapon: Humor” — Zoe Chevat at Bitch Magazine points out that strong lady heroes aren’t allowed to make us laugh. There’s a counterargument here for dry wit from Black Widow and others, but it’s still extremely rare for female superheroes to play the cut-up.

A veteran of writing about movies for nearly a decade, Scott Beggs has been the Managing Editor of Film School Rejects since 2009. Despite speculation, he is not actually Walter Mathau's grandson. See? He can't even spell his name right.

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