Documentaries offer you something very few fictional films can. You walk away from them smarter than you were when you showed up. That is how documentaries work. They often find a single subject, and focus their energy on informing those who don’t seem to know enough about it. While it is oft misunderstood that horror films are my favorite, they are a close second, but documentaries take the cake for me. If you went through my Netflix account right now, you would see that I have given five-star ratings to documentaries far more than any genre of film on there. Mainly because I often walk away from documentaries slightly changed. I will now share with you some documentaries that may make you feel the same way, and you can watch any of them right now. Presenting: five documentaries you NEED to watch on Netflix, right now, as of November 13, 2013.
For the next few weeks, right up until Halloween, I am only going to focus on horror. Horror films, horror books, horror games and my horrifying life. No cute lists about puppies who sound they are saying I RUV ROO! No rambling articles about how people misunderstood this French film, or that Spanish film. No news stories (unless something REALLY epic happens) and no rambling about sex or drugs. Well, I will still probably bring both of those things up, because I am a sicko, but honestly, tie the baby down, fireproof the dog, double lock all the doors and pray to your non-existent God, because this is the TWO WEEKS OF TERROR and HORROR at RemyCarreiro.com.
*Insert evil laugh here for affect.
If you don’t look for it, you won’t notice it, and if you don’t know how to spot it, you will stay blind to it your whole life. I know millions of minds far brighter than mine have mined this issue a great deal deeper than I am about to, but just because it has been spoken of before and more eloquently, does not deny me the right to still speak of it. What IT is, is the dehumanization and stereotyping of the female gender in modern film. Though it has gone on since the very inception of the moving picture, you live in a society that wants to trick you into believing you have evolved past it. They want to wave a few actresses in your face, and say “see, SHE transcended it, so IT mustn’t exist any longer”, but we all need to know better. We all need to be media literate enough to be able to notice this as a problem, identify it, and stop allowing it. Though my voice is small, it was nurtured by my Mother and Sister’s voice, and they instilled a wisdom in me that I can only hope I can share with you. The ability to see the media’s war against woman, and the strength to want to stand up in opposition to it. Knowledge is always the first step.
What defines a guilty pleasure is a movie you KNOW is kind of bad (or atleast most people consider it bad), and you KNOW, deep down, you shouldn’t like, yet every time it is on, you feel the need to sit and watch it in its entirety. You know what I am talking about? You are skimming the channels on a lazy Sunday, and you come across one of these films, and even though you KNOW you should turn it off, you just cannot bring yourself to do it. As much as I normally pride myself on recommending good movies to you, this post is not about recommendation. No, rather, this post is about me revealing that as I am human as anyone else, and from time to time, I have really liked some less-than-stellar films. But that, to me, is the beauty of film. It is an ever-changing, ever-evolving medium, and just because something is bad or has some flaws, doesn’t mean you can’t like it. Hell, you’re here, which means you like me, and I am ALL flaws. Holy shit, it just hit me, I am the “guilty Pleasure” of websites. Wow, that is profound.
I love that moment when you finally get old enough that you can look back at your younger self and just laugh at him or her. You laugh at your clothing. You laugh at your music tastes. You laugh at your abilities. You laugh at everything, and I think you especially laugh at the shit that used to scare you. What we once found utterly scarring becomes something we can scoff at with confidence. But if you remember your mindset in those moments when you experienced certain scenes that messed you up, they truly terrified you in the purest sense. On a scope and level which film really cannot reproduce now. Now, we are all jaded and we understand how effects work and that monsters aren’t real, but back when we were kids, and these movie moments happened, as much as they scared us, we never knew that one day, as much as we find the ability to laugh at ourselves for the stupid shit that used to scare us, we also take a moment to mourn that nothing in modern film can quite replicate those childhood moments of pure terror at what’s on-screen. And as much as some of you may laugh at me for these, these are six scenes that, for whatever reason, totally scarred my tender, young mind. Please take to the comments and let me know what movie moments fucked you all up as a kid.
Dads are kinda badass, but often only when they need to be. If they could, they would chill and drink beer and watch TV all the time, but as soon as you fuck with their family, some primal shit kicks in. And nowhere is this trait exemplified quite like Hollywood. Think about it, how many times in real life has one of your friend’s Dads had to pretty much kill an entire third world Country just to ensure the safety of his child? Probably none, unless your life is way more exciting (and slightly more traumatizing) than mine. But if Hollywood is accurate, and we ALL know it is, all your Dads are just one bad day away from becoming a murderous yet heroic savage, willing to do whatever it takes to make sure his family, and maybe as a cool side plot, all the world, is safe. Here are five cinematic Dads who kick so much ass, their shoes stink of it.
Well, it’s not technically divorce, but rather, emancipation. And as you will see from a few of these examples, it is not always because their parents are shitty or the kids trying to protect their money. In some cases, becoming your own legal guardian loosens up the child labor laws associated with kids working, which means the actor or actress are then free to take any roles they want, regardless of how much time is expected or location. But, in some other cases, it is because these kids have shitty parents, and outside of killing them, this was their best option. Safe to say if I was my own guardian, I would already be dead, three times over. These five seemed to fare much better than that. For the most part. But not really, though.
Did you know Spring is the time when suicide rates are at their highest? Most people like to think it would be February (that great, gray beast), or maybe the middle of Summer, but no. And it is actually LOWEST around Christmas, despite whatever may cause you to think otherwise. And because I am insane and equate spring with death and not birth, I thought this would be an awesome time to talk about cinematic suicides that had an impact on me. I also knew this was the necessary next step in my series of alliteration articles, which is now two entries deep. Also, I wanted to take the time to say I am not in any way glamorizing suicide here. Quite the opposite, really. Sometimes, even in the case of cinema, we can see just how deeply these moments affect those around us, and maybe that will be enough to deter some people who oft (justifiably) feel trapped in a world of sadness. I also wanted to write this list to show how delicately suicide is handled, even in cinema. It is taboo and it is heart breaking, but in the same breath, it is all around us, and these moments, sadly and astutely, remind us of that.
While I do talk about horror movies quite a bit here, and here, and here, one thing you will rarely hear me talking about anywhere are things that actually scare me. Not because I am one who doesn’t get scared, but because I believe speaking about certain things, like fears, give them energy. I believe that if you project something enough, you can manifest it. I know that sounds like something out of a bad B movie, but think about someone like Natalie Wood, and how she had feared boats her whole life and made that quite clear, and drown (in a fucked up way I will talk about in-depth in an article down the road) the first time she took a boat. Or Ritchie Valens, who refused to fly because he thought he would die, and one night he won (lost?) a coin toss, took a plane ride, and died. I know to be extreme examples, but still, one has to wonder if their lives would have played out differently had they not publicly aired those fears. But talking about fictional characters from films who scare the shit out of me? Now that is a place I can go, willingly. Some of these may seem like strange or obscure choices, and some cliché, but remembers, our fears are wildly unique to each one of us, and these five freaks seemed to feed into mine, and still sometimes haunt my nightmares as a result.
Life is not kind. It just isn’t. For the best of us, it is a ten-round fight. A drag out brawl, where none are left alive. The best of us learn this young, and the unluckiest of us don’t learn it until we are old and force-fed some tragedy we have no way of coping with. While some people like to watch films that reflect a cartoon society of happy endings and perfect romances, most of us live in the real world. Where life is work. And love is work. And family is work. And the best artists know how to represent that human struggle honestly. The best artists shine a light on the shadowed parts of the world where we oft refuse to look, willingly. They shine a light on those corners, and they magnify them, and they grab our eyes and MAKE US look at them. The best artists know this. The Bosch’s and Shakespeare’s of the world. And the BEST artists are not confined to a canvas when trying to reflect that misery back at us. Here, for your consideration, are five directors who make incomprehensibly sad films, yet undeniably powerful and honest films as well. And just a word of advice, these are NOT the best directors to watch if you are depressed, just saying.