Documentaries I Watched While I Was Sick

The truth of the matter is that I would have spent all awake time while I was ill watching Mad Men if only I hadn’t run out of DVDs. I was so desperate for more that I many, many times contemplated begging someone to please, please bring me more, but I showed some restraint and delved into documentaries instead. The results were mixed.

Exit Through the Gift Shop

This was the first movie I watched once I regained enough consciousness to follow something linear. It’s been popping up on all kinds of best of the year lists, even ones that are not documentary-focused, so I’ve been looking forward to seeing it. I don’t know if it’s the movie or if it was my illness, but I totally fell asleep for about twenty minutes of the film and I don’t even care to go back and rewatch it. This from a girl who watches and reads all the credits, even on films she does not like. If you don’t know anything about Exit Through the Gift Shop, it focuses on graffiti artists and winds up playing around with point-of-view. My general feeling is that the artists and that world was much more interesting than what the film ultimately wound up being about. I guess there’s a whole debate about the authenticity of the film, too. I started reading about it but felt myself slipping back into a stupor. Yawn.


This film about the fiscal health of the United States was probably more than I should have been watching when I was in poor health myself. It kind of just snowballed in with a lot of other negative things that have been circulating around the library world lately and made me feel like I won’t be able to be a librarian until I retire, which is a really freaking upsetting thought. Now that I am stronger, I can recognize that while the film makes some valid and interesting points, it also had a really alarmist tone and was a lot more about screaming about problems than talking about solutions, which, you know, fine. This describes at least a quarter of the documentaries I watch–it’s a subgenre: Documentaries that Carry On Like Teenagers. That said, the people the filmmakers focus on are just the kind of interesting oddballs I enjoy hearing more about, so in that respect, I did enjoy the film. Once I stopped crying.

Afghan Star

This is the movie to run out and watch. I don’t know why it hasn’t gotten more attention. It’s about an American Idol-type show a network started in Afghanistan after the ban on television and singing was lifted. The film follows four contestants on the show–two men and two women–and also interviews the show’s creators and some fans. The film is just flat-out entertaining, well-shot and well-paced. I felt like on a deeper level, it used music, something very universal, to talk about how different Afghanistan is from the United States. I mean, hearing people talk about before the Taliban and after the Taliban, hearing someone say that he felt a woman should be killed for dancing on stage, watching a teenager climb on her roof and pull in an extension cord from outside to watch a television show… these experiences are so different from anything I know. It really kind of blew my mind. We need more stories like this, or maybe *I* just need more stories like this.


  1. Posted December 27, 2010 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    I think there should be more categories for things with names like “Documentaries the Carry on Like Teenagers.”

  2. adrienne
    Posted December 27, 2010 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    I am glad you mentioned this, Jeffrey. First I am glad because I was starting to get depressed that no one was commenting on my coinage. Second I am glad because it reminded me that now that I have WordPress, I can add “Documentaries that Carry On Like Teenagers” as a tag, which I have done.

  3. momster
    Posted December 28, 2010 at 12:37 am | Permalink

    I also laughed when I read that:-)And,I’m still checking out your beautiful new blog!

  4. Posted December 29, 2010 at 1:39 am | Permalink

    Banksy was the most interesting thing about Exit Through the Gift Shop and most likely because his identity was hidden. I loved hearing the accent through the voice distortion. I did not fall asleep but I kept thinking of other things that were more interesting…like what gifts to get Max’s teachers or items to add to the grocery list.

    I LOVE the new blog, Lucas saw it tonight and said in his droll excited undertone “Adrienne changed her blog?!” He also grinned the whole time he looked at it.

  5. adrienne
    Posted December 29, 2010 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Thanks! I really like the new blog, too. WordPress is a lot easier to work with.

  6. momster
    Posted December 29, 2010 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the reviews too.I’ve been thinking of watching Exit Through the Gift Shop–I think I’ll let it pass;-)

One Trackback

  1. […] guess I’ve been too busy watching Best Pictures. As I mentioned previously, I am not a fan of Exit Through the Gift Shop. I did get to see Restrepo earlier this week, and it is everything a good documentary should be. […]

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