Posts Tagged ‘Documentaries’

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.

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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?