The second great documentary I watched last week (following the Clive Davis one) was the Spielberg documentary that aired on HBO. It’s a really fantastic look at the man’s career, and makes you appreciate even more what he was able to achieve through his life’s work (so far). Unlike the Clive Davis one, I didn’t really learn anything new here, but I quite enjoyed the look back at the films I grew up watching, with interesting comments coming from his collaborators. Well worth watching.
I’d of course heard of Clive Davis, and knew he was an important figure in the music industry, but I didn’t really know much more than that. Watching this new documentary that was produced for Apple Music, I found myself really enjoying finding out how big an impact he had on the industry, and the journey he had (from lawyer to head of a record label), and the artists that he pretty much guided to success. Doesn’t matter if most of the artists featured aren’t really what I’m into musically, I just found this documentary quite fascinating. Well worth watching.
After taking a break during the summer, Toco Toco is back with a new monthly schedule, and the first episode of this new season covers illustrator and manga creator Hisashi Eguchi.
This is it, the film that gave us Arnold Schwarzenegger. As famous/infamous as this documentary is, I’d never seen it, and so didn’t really know much of what to expect (other than the famous scene where you see Arnie smoking a joint after he wins the title). I did enjoy this, although you have to take it more as a “slice of life/day in the life” kind of presentation on the topic, instead of something that really tries to examine and explain a particular topic. There’s barely any narration, and so it’s just mostly light interviews with all of the people involved, and the dialogue bits that happen as the cameras follow these dudes in their quest to, well, pump iron like no man has pumped iron before. But it was pretty entertaining, and yes, Arnie shines through, and it’s fun to see the machiavellian tendencies he reveals (“I can just tell him to do the wrong thing”).
One of my favorite filmmakers, Anne Ferrero (Toco Toco TV, Branching Paths), is part of yet another beautifully produced series of video shorts/documentaries about Japanese culture. Called New Territories, it “aims at shedding more light on Japan’s art scene through the eyes of its local players, including artists, galleries, curators, writers, and more.” The first episode covers the Misako & Rosen gallery.
After watching the Beatles documentary, I decided to make it a double bill and follow it up with this Oasis one. To be honest, I don’t have a huge amount of love for the band — I liked them fine back in the day, and still think “Supersonic” is a great track, but I was never really obsessed with them (and I liked Blur more anyway). But this is a fun documentary to watch, bringing you back to that era, and seeing the struggles up close (because of the volatile relationship between the brothers). Pretty amazing how big they got, so fast, and that it didn’t last.
This is a documentary about the The Beatles directed by Ron Howard, and I ended up quite enjoying it. It starts off with material that makes it seem like this is just going to be yet another look at the Beatlemania that we pretty much all know about, but the fact that it focuses on just the years that they toured globally (63-65) was interesting, and there was stuff that came out of it that I didn’t know.
The season 3 finale of Toco Toco TV is a great one, covering video game/media creator Tetsuya Mizuguchi — and it’s fun seeing my buddy Mark MacDonald show up a few times. I also like how the series has updated the audio cues and typography it uses, it’s a welcomed change. I’m sad though that it’s the season finale — who knows when the next season will start — but at least they tease a summer special at the end of the episode. Let me also mention that the previous episode was quite interesting too, featuring musician Ei Wada.
I’m a huge fan of the Noclip series of documentaries about video games, and the latest one is a 3-part series (part one, part two, part three) covering the rather interesting journey of Final Fantasy XIV, from flop to rebirth. I played the game when it relaunched as A Realm Reborn in 2013, and quite enjoyed it — I stopped playing after a couple of months because I was having issues paying for the subscription (using a US account, but playing in Japan). Having watched the documentary, I now sorta want to play again.
After I was done watching the new GLOW series on Netflix, I saw that they also had a documentary on the actual GLOW of the 80s, and so I watched it today. Definitely worth a watch, whether you’ve watched the new Netflix series or not. Strangely, even though I quite liked pro wrestling back in the 80s (as most kids did), I never saw or really heard of GLOW, and so it was a huge treat to be introduced to all of this fantastic backstory. It’s fun to see what they decided to take from the real thing as inspiration for the Netflix series (even that fun GLOW rap was real), although I do wish we could have had interviews with the director and host (they declined to be interviewed for the documentary, which suggests that there are things they didn’t want to reveal). But still, really enjoyed this, and I think it’s a shame that all these ladies haven’t been celebrated more in the pro wrestling world since (although it was fun to learn that the WWE’s Ivory was originally part of GLOW).