Required Reading: Essential Documentaries and Funny Superheroes

By  · Published on September 4th, 2014


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

There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

“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.

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Movie stuff at VanityFair, Thrillist, IndieWire, Film School Rejects, and The Broken Projector [email protected] | Writing short stories at Adventitious.