Tuesday, 13 May 2014

What I'm watching #5:

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Apologies in advance, because I have been watching a LOT of documentaries recently.  Who better to kick off with than the modern day king of documentary, Louis Theroux?  Man, I love him.  I love him so much that I even shut down Netflix and dusted off my actual television set to watch his most recent BBC series, Louis Theroux's LA Stories.  It's a brief but brilliant trio of documentaries set in LA exploring (as Louis does so well) the human side to some pretty messed up stuff that goes on in this world.  Stray dogs, terminal illness, sex offenders: all the bases are covered.  I'm being flippant, but I appreciate now more than ever that the man is a brilliant journalist, and I spent the majority of these three episodes on the verge of tears.  Powerful, controversial and thought provoking stuff that everyone should watch if they can.

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I'm not too proud to admit that when I stumbled upon The Queen of Versailles in Netflix's documentary section (a weird and wonderful place) I was expecting something along the lines of the Real Housewives... series.  You know - that particular brand of questionable yet addictive 'reality' TV that makes your brain dribble out of your ears.  What I had actually discovered was a compelling and brutally honest (not to mention award winning) documentary, made by Lauren Greenfield in 2012.  It follows the story of the mind bogglingly rich Siegel family and their plan to build the largest and most expensive family home in America (modelled on the Palace of Versailles, hence the title).  Everything goes a bit wrong when the economy begins to suffer and the Seigels start running out of money.

The Queen of Versailles really stood out for me because Greenfield doesn't portray David Siegel and his wife Jackie as billionaire Bond villains, the way I think a lot of filmmakers would.  She captures their good qualities as well as their flaws, and makes the viewer realise that the Siegels are human and (very occasionally) are even capable of being humble. Over the course of the documentary, you can see the physical and mental strain all that money puts on a person, a family and a marriage.  You may even end up glad you aren't a billionaire.  Maybe...

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Okay, okay, this is the last documentary, I promise.  Now, I'm sure this isn't normal behaviour, but I find learning about serial killers and other scary things absolutely fascinating, despite being a huge scaredy cat.  So (again, on Netflix) I found Cropsey and decided it sounded like my kind of thing.  Joshua Zeman and Barbara Brancaccio went back to their hometown of Staten Island in 2009 to investigate the urban legend of 'Cropsey' (the name given to the local 'boogeyman' when they were growing up) and whether there was any truth to the stories.  Thankfully, I didn't find this documentary all that scary (apart from the bit where the filmmakers decided to go for a walk in an abandoned asylum at night... why?!) but it was certainly captivating and, at times, quite sad.  I have a sneaking suspicion that the writers of American Horror Story: Asylum may have taken some inspiration from this documentary and its story, so if you're a fan this might be for you!

Source: here

Craig and I seriously only just started watching Suits on Sunday, and we've already finished the first season.  I'd heard a lot of good things about this show so (after finishing The Office US yet again) we thought we'd give it a try.  To be honest, the first episode didn't sell it to me.  The writing seemed kind of cheesy and the acting wooden, but somehow it managed to redeem itself, and now I am totally hooked.

Suits follows the story of the brilliant but misguided Mike Ross, who (through a strange series of events) is employed at a top Manhattan law firm by a pretentious (but actually quite cool and successful) lawyer called Harvey Specter.  It isn't a laugh a minute affair, but if you give this show a chance it will reward you with engaging plot lines and the occasional genuine guffaw.  (Mike does have a seriously unrealistic number of love interests though, I'm just saying...)

What have you been watching lately?

1 comment:

  1. I watched all of those documentaries too. If you get super bored I recommend Trekkies, Trekkies 2 and the Firefly one, all fun and mindless.