Hey gang. As some of you know, and some of you may have picked up on, I've been laid up with a cast from ankle surgery working on two months now. That's given me a lot of time on my hands to do a bunch of nothing, but most of what I have done is watch a truckload of movies. In fact, I have watched easily 30 movies and completed the entire "Wire" series as well as the first 3 seasons of "Parks and Recreation". Due to the off season, I thought I would drop some arts knowledge your way about 3 film biographies or documentaries I have watched. They are "Senna", "With Great Power", and "Being Elmo."
Senna is a documentary about Brazillian Formula One racer Ayrton Senna. The movie scores am 8.6 on IMDB and 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. I guess those two scores alone would put you with good chances of enjoying it. However, like any film it has to be taken in context. There are subtitles (most, well, all of Formula One is non American), and it is about racing. However, you will quickly find racing is a back drop to Aryton himself, who finds himself as barely a young adult racing in the fastest sport in the world and the most political. He cares, almost in an Ayn Rand sense, only about racing, and counter to Ms Rand, he has a strong, vocal believe in G*d. The politics allude him and quickly punish him. Senna quickly becomes a 3 time world champion. One highlight of the film and Senna's legend was when he was spun out with only a few laps remaining, having to reorient his car and reenter the race, and he won. Then politics kick in after that race and becomes part of a theme in the movie. Fellow competitor and antagonist French racer Alain Prost actually quit that race thinking he had the world title in hand after their collision. I won't ruin the ending for you, even if you know the story, but the film ever so gently quiets down and puts you in the seat with Senna, and lets the photography tell the story for you at the end. Truly well done.
With Great Power is a documentary or film biography about Stan Lee. If you like comics, history or any of the recent mega Marvel films, this is definitively for you and family safe. Stan Lee is now 88!!!! years old and is the super stud of all time. He is still a dedicated family man, doting husband and proud father. Stan is, after creating all of your favorite super heros, still living a kid's dream seeing his creative writings come to life on the big screen. Spiderman, The Avengers, the Fantastic Four, X Men, The Hulk all belong to Stan and his illustrator, and seeing them go from a closet office to the biggest movie EVER was quite the journey. What prompted me to write about this film was the fact that when Stan and the narrator talked about the connections to history, times and places in America of the character's back stories, I felt so utterly dumb I never recognized the themes before. But that's the beauty of his art, you can love them as heroes, or you can love it for deeper social reasons. Stan Lee took an active stance on civil rights early on both in his comics and his editorials. You simply can't help but to love the guy, and it's a great film for kids to see what it took to make his work come to fruition. And for me personally, seeing how the famous Spidey cartoon came about that hooked me on super heroes was worth the watch.
Being Elmo is the journey of Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash. Another family safe movie scoring 8.0 on IMDB and 94% on Rotten Tomatoes, so you can't go wrong there. I don't know how you can be 50 or younger and not have some connection as a child or parent to Captain Kangaroo, Sesame Street, or the Muppets. COOKIES! Kevin Clash was a young man, not even a high school graduate, from Baltimore that loved puppets and puppeteering, and managed way back in the day to get a start in that field right out of school doing tv work. He created his own puppets, learning the art from self taught practice, and eventually hooked up with Jim Hensons' crew to get some serious OJT. His largest breakthrough came when he took over Elmo, and with Elmo came fame and fortune few people in this art can imagine. He has a stack of Golden Globes to prove it. Kevin Clash is a soft spoken, big hearted and kind man that has touched, quite literally, 10s of millions of kids around the world from his work with Elmo. And, yea, I admit it, I misted up a little when they discussed the symbology of Elmo and how he gets in kids hearts as well as Clash and Elmo's work with Wish Foundation kids. That stuff will get to you every time. Narrated by Whoopie Goldberg, it's another can't lose family film that once again shows what hard work and love of craft can do.
Final Verdict: If you like the subject matter of any of these documentaries you can't go wrong, and will likely learn something you didn't know. I recommend all of them (which is likely why I am writing about them).
Well, that's good enough for today. I would love to hear your comments below and also let us know if you like a little art on your Georgia blog. I can take suggestions if you wish. I also have watched the film bio "The Last Days of Left Eye"; as an Atlanta native I have to keep it real. Last movies seen in theater: The Five Year Engagement and The Hunger Games. I plan to see The Avengers, Batman, Spiderman, & Prometheus.
GO DAWGS! SIC UM! ARP ARP ARP!