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I'm not sure, but I think I once heard of a documentary on bugchasers. That shit is fucked up.

The one about the air guitarist competition (Air Guitar Nation)looked funny, but turned out to be rather lame. There was one where scholars debated whether or not Hitler was homosexual-- can't recall the name. It was kind of interesting.

I still think "American Movie" might be the funniest documentary I've ever seen. But then I have a fondness for grim portraits of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (As such, it easily beats out Laverne and Shirley")

Chip, or anyone else, what did you think of "Expelled"? I haven't seen it. The critics all hated it, but many of them stooped to that knee-jerk ad hominem language one finds among the rigidly ideologized when asked to consider the claims of someone they take to be a "deviant" heretic. (And the chattering class used to think Ben Stein was so cool, for a Republican!)I know that there are fair minded Darwinian evolutionists who think Intelligent Design is mistaken, but aren't driven to fits of bile by the mention of its very name. I'm very interested to hear your takes on the movie.

TGGP: The "bugchaser" doc is called The Gift, and it's on the list. Thanks.

Andy: I'll share my thoughts on Expelled in the annotations to my filmography. My main quarrel with ID is that I find it to be madly disingenuous. I think natural selection provides a parsimonious explanation of pretty much everything - including square dancing - but if it turned out that our universe was set into motion by a computer hobbyist in another dimension (an arguably nontrivial possibility), I have a feeling that this would be less than satisfying to Behe, Stein et al. They want the Godhead, and that renders science a nullity.

Before I knew I was an atheist, I would ask the question: "where did God come from." And I would be assured that God had been there from the beginning. I still think that's a dumb answer, and I feel the same way about irreducible complexity; it's a failure of curiosity.

I loved American Movie, by the way. I even have a VHS copy of Coven.

Great idea, Chip. Some which come to mind that might be worth considering for inclusion:

Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind (Gianvito, 2007)
Gleaners and I (Varda, 2000)
Forever (Honigmann, 2006)
Dear Zachary (Kuenne, 2008)
American Swing (Kaufman, 2008)
Matador (Higgins, 2008)
Dark Days (Singer, 2000)
The Cruise (Miller, 1998)
Story of a Sex Surrogate (Dick, 1985)
Wisconsin Death Trip (Marsh, 2001)
Cocaine Cowboys (Corben, 2006)
Protagonist (Yu, 2007)
Streetwise (Bell, 1984)
South (Akerman, 1999)
Fetishes (Broomfield, 1996)
The Leader, His Driver and the Driver's Wife (Broomfield, 1991)
[docs by Chris Marker]
[docs by Herzog]

Chip, I figured you found Intelligent Design theory to be wanting, but was more interested in what you thought of Stein's documentary. After all, some great films have been made to promote some very bad ideas (see Riefenschtahl, et al.). But very well-- I'll wait for your upcoming post on the subject.

Perhaps the doc I suggested to you, "Conscientious Objector," would make your list? It's not great, but the subject matter is interesting. And what about the "mock doc" genre, begun by "Spinal Tap"-- anything to be said about its relation to your "heterodox" label?

At the risk of seeming like a total nerd, I would argue that the first mockumentary predates Spinal Tap by half a century:


I'm not really a fan of the genre (ST notwithstanding), though I did get a kick out of Dadetown.

I think "Sound and Fury" was really good, and I've been fascinated by "deaf culture" and by extension the ghettoizing (voluntary segregation, use whatever euphemism you like) of minority groups. The deaf are a fairly unique example because it's not burdened with race or religion.

I would like to see the reaction of audiences to it, but I would then like to have a documentary made and subsequently shown with the same scenario and a homosexual child.

I've been watching every doc. I can find on North Korea lately, with mixed results. The most surprising was a line in the recent film "Theme Park", narrated by some Scandinavian (sorry, I'm too lazy to look it up, to American to know without looking it up) where he stated rather matter-of-factly "North Koreans use Americans as a scapegoat for all their problems like Israelis use the Holocaust against the Palestinians". Seemed like it kind of came out of nowhere. Other than that, it was somewhere between amateur and professional level production, and they seemed to try to give it the "edgy, extreme, youth" look, with the narrator saying "fuck" ans "shit" frequently.

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