Watched a couple of movies this week, all of which were extremely entertaining. Two were documentaries, while one was a regular feature film. Rating scale is out of five keystones, five being a goddamn masterpiece.
The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia
This movie was absolutely insane. This documentary crew basically spent a year following around the White family of Boone County, West Virginia. They're apparently the most notorious family of hicks around, striking fear into their community. This movie showed the constant use of alcohol, ganj, an ungodly amount of pills, toothless women flashing the camera, one of the most hideous women I've ever seen discussing how she used to be the hottest stripper in town, child protective services, the funniest Taco Bell drive-thru scene ever, and more. People gratuitously use the term "inbred" when jokingly describing hicks of all sorts, but the term truly fits the bill with the White family. Johnny Knoxville was one of the producers, and Hank Williams III got some screen time. This one's available on Netflix Watch Instantly, so definitely recommended for a rainy day where you have nothing else to do.
This one was really good as well, but inconsistent. Narrated by Forest Whitaker, this documentary sheds light upon the Los Angeles gang life, including the social conditions that led to their formation. The problem I had here was that there were too many lulls in between interesting segments, which in a documentary, almost always results in accidental naptime. My favorite parts were the segments on South L.A. in the 50's and 60's, where they interviewed three friends who were growing up back then. The interesting part was that they were of the last generation of kids to grow up prior to the introduction of this gang culture. These three guys shared amazing quotes regarding what led up to the Watts Riots, the differences between generations, and finally, what led up to this war between Crips and Bloods. A big theme here was the de-humanization of the black male in L.A. from the 50's onwards, and how these guys were all just ticking time-bombs, liable to explode at any moment, and that moment ended up being the Watts riots (after seeing one too many guys going to jail for driving while black), and later, the Rodney King riots. If society tells you your life is worth nothing, and you subconsciously begin to believe it, then how is killing others a big deal? I don't value my own life, so why should I value the lives of others? Probably only recommended if you're interested in gangs/criminology, otherwise, I could see some being bored. Also available to Watch Instantly on Netflix.
This was the one feature film I watched this week (also watched parts of Welcome to the Riley's
and The Spook Who Sat By the Door
but was interrupted during both). Starring Robert Duvall, Bill Murray, and Sissy Spacek, this one's about an old southern hermit in the 30's who after hearing of the death of an acquaintance, decides to throw a funeral party for himself prior to actually dying. Feared by both children and adults, Duvall plays the hermit, Murray the funeral director in charge of organizing the funeral, and Spacek the ex-flame from simpler times. Amazing performances by everyone, especially Duvall. This one keeps you guessing for a while, and has no qualms about leaving the audience clueless for most of the movie. Definitely recommended for people who can actually sit through a 1:40 movie without needing everything to be spoonfed. But I guess since a lot of people can't even make it through an hour of Treme nowadays, this one probably would only appeal to a small category of people.
Might put a music, sports, or current events post up next...