Friday, February 26, 2010

DOCUMENTARIES

This is from tumblr, but spent more than 30 seconds writing it so I am putting it here too ok!

nerd documentaries (that I have seen [in kind of order from favorite to awful]):

  • Wordplay - CROSSWORD PUZZLES/tournaments. This is really rad and it has Cake and They Might Be Giants songs in it also Jon Stewart and Tyler Hinman the really young crossword genius kid wears a Trogdor shirt at the tournament and Will Shortz is a neat man and all the people the documentary crew follows are cool except for one of them who is a really kind of pathetic woman who reminds me a lot of my old English teacher. Also Merl Reagle. And Bill Clinton makes a cameo, and I find his hands really attractive? In a non-weird way.

  • Gigantic: A Tale of Two Johns - THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS! I don't think this is an actually good documentary from a layperson standpoint but for super fans of the band it is kind of heaven. Otherwise, I feel like it just comes off as creepy and pretentious and I don't like to see Sarah Vowell speak, or Syd Straw. There're a lot of full and partial live songs in the documentary itself and also a ridiculous amount of bonus features which is great. And the documentary's commentary track is wonderful but I wish Sarah Vowell would really just shut up!

  • Helvetica - HELVETICA. I love typefaces and Helvetica is a good one in my opinion. Some of the people they interview have very interesting and insightful things to say and some equate Helvetica to George Bush or something. But the designers who aren't wackos are pretty fascinating and made me think a lot about the purpose of typography and how Helvetica became the kind of paragon or zenith- zeitgeist!!!!! of stuff and the complete 180 design and type made around that time (think the frills and curls of 50's ads, the Coca-Cola logo, example, whatever-- to the American Airlines logo which was designed in Helvetica in 1967 and is still the exact same today and is as sleek and modern as ever).

  • Spellbound - SCRIPPS NATIONAL SPELLING BEE. Does this sound like a musical robot? I love following spelling bees, but I never participated in any other than the basic school-type level; I purposefully misspelled words because I hate attention and those kind of things make me so nervous and awful awful awful. But in 8th grade my friend Sarah won the local and regional things and went to Washington DC and I saw her on ESPN and she spelled facade right and a bunch of other words but missed basenji, a kind of dog that doesn't bark, she spelled it basengee, but she placed 30-somethingth, and it was very exciting. Nerdy kids make me very happy, though some of the ones the crew follows, and a lot of spelling bee kids in general, are unsettlingly dedicated and so socially screwed up it's kind of sad and then there's Harry Altman.


  • The awful ones:


  • The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters - COMPETITIVE DONKEY KONG PLAYING... I just thought this was pathetic. It all seemed so sad and desperate. There are a lot of disputed facts surrounding the whole competition and the documentary lies about/omits important details. You've got a good bad guy in Billy Mitchell though, creepy long haired guy who sells his own brand of hot sauce and is a big jerk to everyone. And his challenger, opponent, down on his luck honest man father husband good guy kind of rookie Steve Wiebe. I don't know, his story was so sad and pathetic and pitiful, it was weird to watch and depressing. He doesn't get a higher score than Billy Mitchell during the tournament and WOE WOE WOE. Then he beats it in his garage by himself later. All star in everyone's hearts true champion real hero fair fighter. Blehgh.

  • Word Wars - SCRABBLE. This documentary is gross. Most of the people are gross and weird and creepy. There's a black guy who swears all the time but also talks to kids in a classroom about words or something. There's this weird wiry/wired guy who takes a million vitamin supplements and who wears really old shirts that are so torn up they're basically rags, and he's very negative. There is an old unsettling bald guy who talks about his chi and does yoga or whatever the heck it is and balance and forces and energies. There is a bald, frail, fragile, rodent-esque man who has acid reflux who spits up stomach bile into a cloth all the time and hacks and makes a lot of bad noises. It felt like he could throw up or die at any moment. Those were all the people the documentary followed, and they were all too creepy and flawed to root for. I forgot who won the tournament.
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