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Posted: January 29, 2015 in About Me

Hey visitors!  My name’s Frankie and welcome to my blog!  Full disclosure: I started this blog for a documentary class I am in at school (I’m a college senior graduating this May…hopefully lol).  In addition to the required assignments, I’ll be posting about some of my favorite movies and television shows.

WARNING: If you can’t stand sarcasm, this blog probably isn’t for you.

Please fell free to comment on anything! I love to talk!!!

Also…depending on what mode I’m in, there might be a random post about a song or book, or whatever that I’m into.  Hope you enjoy!

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Monica and David documents the life of a down-syndrome couple as newly weds. The documentary starts with Monica and David rehearsing for their wedding as David says, “look at you. You’re my angel”. Their families are extremely happy for them and their decision to share a life together. In 1983 the average life span for someone with down syndrome was 25. Now, because of modern day medicine and technology their life span is 60 years. Wanting to feel the love and passion, David and Monica chose to spend their years together. Monica was the first girl that David started a relationship with, and he fell deeply in love. This documentary explores struggles that come with living with this disability, but how the disability does not need to define who you are. David and Monica were able to find love in each other and found happiness in exactly who they are.

Kinky

Posted: May 8, 2015 in Documentaries
Tags: , ,

Kink is a documentary about the S&M pornography industry. The directors of these films all disagree with the filthy and nasty perception that is given to S&M. They make it clear that the actors and actresses are all willing participants in the films. The directors are happy to accommodate to whatever the actors are willing to, or not willing to do. There is also a safe word that is always given for the actors to call out if there is something too intense, or too uncomfortable for them while filming. Along with the actors, the workers on the set are also able to call the safe word. A worker who was interviewed admitted to calling the safe word because she felt it was too extreme of a situation that the actor had to undergo. The documentary was made to show that S&M still gives respect to the actors, the actors are all participating because they genuinely want to, and uncovers the false reputation that is typically given to the porn industry.

Tricked is a documentary about prostitution. Several different girls were interviewed and told their story on how they got into prostitution and also their story how they escaped it. I was fascinated while watching this because prostitutes are typically looked down on, but this documentary displayed how often these girls are victims, desperately trying to find a way out. Prostitution was referred to as “modern day slavery”. The mental abuse and physical abuse that the girls go through from their pimps became revealed. The pimps know exactly how to mind wash the girls into working for him on a daily basis, forced to bring in a certain amount of money after the shift. The former prostitutes told their story with pain as well as relief for being able to escape.  However, not all were so lucky.  Girls are tricked into this dangerous lifestyle all of the time.  They feel like they don’t have anywhere to go or anyone who cares for them.  This leads to them running away and the potential to become Tricked.

Fairy tales have always been a passion of mine, so finding out about this documentary was a real treat for me!  Having had written research papers on the topic of fairy tales before I was well aware that the original versions of were far darker than today’s “Disney-fied” stories.

Scary Tales was a documentary-style miniseries that told the original sinister versions of the stories.  Each episode featured three stories and provided reenactments as well as experts in the studies.  Here are my three favorites of the original tales and what made them darker….

Cinderella

Cinderella convinces her stepsisters to cut off parts of their feet when trying to fit them in her glass slipper.  After their attempts fail and Cinderella gets her prince, birds peck out the stepsisters’ eyes.

Red Riding Hood

Red Riding Hood was an adult who met a stranger in the woods.  He tricked her into straying from the path and then he went to the grandmother’s house where he killed the old woman.  He then cut her up and dressed in her clothes to fool Red Riding Hood.  When she arrived, he tricked her into eating her grandmother.  Before he could kill her, a woodsman came and killed the stranger.

Snow White

The Evil Queen in this story was actually Snow White’s biological mother.  She was envious of her daughter’s beauty and attempted to kill her.  She ordered the Huntsman to cut out Snow White’s heart, liver, and kidneys.  Once in her possession, the Queen ate the organs.  However, it was not really the princess’s organs and so the tale carries out as we know it.  Until the ending.  The Queen hears of a beautiful woman who will wed a prince.  Too abate her jealous nature, the Queen goes to the wedding and discovers it is Snow White.  Her daughter orders a pair of red-hot iron shoes to be brought to the Queen.  She forces her mother to dance in the shoes until she drops to the floor dead.

And we thought they all lived happily ever after….

Should a minor be sentenced to life in jail without the chance of parole?  This is a difficult question that Lost for Life attempted to tackle.  This film was released in 2014 and told the stories of four men who were imprisoned for crimes they committed in their teenage years.  Not only did we hear from the criminals, but from the friends and families that were affected by their murders.  The film also concluded with a woman telling about her 3-year-old son who was shot in a drive-by by teenagers.

The film began introducing viewers to 21-year-old Brian who committed a murder when he was 16 with the help of his friend Torey.  The two had been discussing how cool it would be to commit a Scream-like crime and settled on murdering a fellow female classmate.  Brian had a crush on her but she chose to date another.  The documentary featured actual footage of the two discussing the crime on the way to the girl’s house as well as on the drive home after the murder.  Looking back, Brian was truly remorseful for what he did and wishes that he could simply go back and alter the decision.  Torey’s parents were featured during his interview and his mother just kept saying, “Torey is a good, good, good, boy.”  Umm he murdered someone because his favorite movie was Scream.  I’m not gonna go fighting some giant snake ’cause I like Harry Potter.  Hate to break it to you, but your son’s a killer.

There was a tale of a man who at 15 hired one of his friends to murder his mother and stepfather.  Although the friend did most of the work, it was ultimately the boy who shot his mother and stepfather in the head.  He was able to recount the event without any sense of remorse.  He claims that his parents were abusive and that is why he wanted them dead.  The final story was about a former gang member who committed murder when he was 17.  During his time in prison, he decided to turn his life around and now dedicates his life to ensuring that other youths don’t suffer the same fate.

It was easy to feel sorry for some of these individuals.  They have to serve out their lives behind bars because of mistakes they made in their teen years.  However, I refuse to accept that it is possible to forgive them for their crime because they were “children.”  I’m sorry but whether I was 5, 15, or 22 I never thought that murder was okay.  If these people were capable of murder at 16-years-old, they’re still capable of it today.

Okay…maybe not so new.  In fact, this has been a very popular filming style for the past decade!  They typically were film parodies and recently, a number of television shows have been produced in the similar format.  In my opinion, some of the best known/most popular mockumentary films are:

Paranormal Activity

A lot of horror movies have begun to be produced “documentary-style” because it heightens the terror factor.  Audience members are finding these movies scarier than most other horror films because they are supposedly true accounts.  Any paranormal/supernatural film is more terrifying when viewers think it actually happened because it (allegedly) proves that ghosts exist.  I remember, when Paranormal Activity (the first one) came out, many believed that it was a true story!  It wasn’t until the couple appeared on magazines that movie goers realized it was just a false story.  Where have we seen that before? *cough Blair Witch Project *cough

Best In Show

If you haven’t seen this movie….you’ve got to!  It is beyond comical!  This movie follows the owners of 5 dogs who are competing in a dog show.  The film is produced in the typical documentary style.  Viewers witness the people interacting in their private lives/at the dog show as well as interacting with the cameras in a form of interview.  The movie is set-up as a documentary on a dog show and the viewer is watching what it takes to participate in a dog show and the competition to have your pet be deemed “best in show.”

Borat!

This movie was the biggest waste of my time.  But it’s supposed to be a documentary and was extremely popular (for some reason).  I found it not only racist, but just stupid.  The producers of this sad-excuse-of-a-movie also released two other films following this same format (and by format I mean mockumentary and stupidity): Bruno and The Dictator.

And then, there are the classic television shows….

The Office

Originally a British television series, the United States version of The Office premiered in 2005 and released 9 seasons.  In the beginning of the series, it was evident that the characters were being filmed in a mockumentary television series.  However, as the series developed (specifically around season 8 and the final season), it was shown that the characters were being filmed for a documentary about working in an office.  So it was a mocumentary about people being filmed for a documentary….INCEPTION.  In fact, the series final showed the characters a year after the documentary aired, and coming together again for a reunion panel.

Parks and Recreation

This is another series that films characters participating in a documentary within a workplace. The final season aired this year after having 7 successful seasons.  This show was more outrageous than The Office had been.  While The Office had realistic situations (although some characters were larger than life), Parks and Rec showed a world that would never be able to exist in reality.  It was intended to be a quirky comedy rather than documenting realistic obstacles.

Modern Family

This series, which premiered in 2009 and is still running, follows the lives of three unique families who are actually all related.  It follows Jay Pritchet who had recently married a much younger  wife, Gloria, and her son, Claire and her husband Phil and their three children, and then Mitchell Pritchet with his partner Cam and their adopted daughter Lily.  Each episode typically has a sub-plot for each individual household with a larger framework plot uniting the cast.  This show is truly original because it documents family life rather than a work environment.  It deals with home life and family rather than trivial tasks and drama.  Like the other mentioned shows, it is a comedy and rarely touches serious issues.

So why is this form of filming so popular?  Especially when concerning comedy?  I think it is to make light of things that we all go through in our daily lives and show how the ordinary is sometimes extraordinary when we take a step back.  As for the horror genre?  It’s just to make them more appealing and horrific.  It’s funny to think about though.  Would you want your life to be filmed as a documentary?

In 2009, National Geographic Channel premiered “E-Mail Order Bride” which told the tale of internationally brokered marriages between American men and Russian women.  I didn’t know that this was even legal.  Apparently, the online website Volga Girls is where the couple will “meet”.

The film focuses those who have gone through this process, each in various positions of the agency.  They also compare the marriage website to American dating websites.

There are two primary “couples” we follow over the course of the episode.  The first, James and Uliana, shows the beginning of the process where the couple meet for the first time (they previously had talked for months online).  It shows their first few dates and how the couple interact.  What was unusual was that James went in to the relationship thinking “this girl has a possibility for marriage.”  After spending three weeks together, he decides that (although he likes Uliana) it is too soon to propose.

The second couple, Gary and Olga, has already been “dating” for months and have met a few times.  Their story focuses on Olga arriving in America and the marriage process.  Upon her arrival, she has to go through two sets of Customs due to the engagement passport.  After that, they have 90 days to marry or she will be deported back to Russia.  By the end of their story, the couple are married.  What was truly astonishing to me was that Gary commented on how the two had not told each other “I love you” yet but that they were going to be married.

The filmmakers discuss that although the International Marriage Broker website introduces couples similar to our typical dating sites, that is the only real similarity.  Women are able to sign-up for free and nearly all of the expenses are reserved for the men.  The man spends thousands of dollars to visit the woman in Russia and then he is also responsible to pay for her flight to America.  Age limits do not really matter between couples.  A 19-year-old Russian girl could match with a 49-year-old American man.

The film also discusses the scams that can occur.  There have been cases where the woman never shows up after the man sends thousands of dollars paying for his bride to pay for a ticket to come to America.  They also included tales of women who use the site simply to get a Green Card and, in one drastic tale, a man who killed his bride after the marriage fell apart.  One man was quoted as saying, “she is the most expensive toy I ever bought.”

Personally, I have no problem with American online dating programs.  I think that many people find the love of their life on them and that these sites provide many opportunities for couples.  To Date.  Not immediately marry like many of these internationally brokered marriages.  I invite others to watch this documentary and tell me if you think that the couples in this film are in love.  Personally, I didn’t see any romance.  Will you?