Part three in our continuing Misfit Artists saga, which examines documentaries about unique artists working outside of the mainstream.
Electric Boogaloo is not about break dancing. It’s a documentary about Cannon Films, the bad boys of 1980s and 1990s cinema. Led by a pair of brash Israelis who wanted to disrupt the Hollywood studio system, Cannon unleashed a torrent of cheap, edgy and often outrageous films. Some of them were even good. Continue reading
This is the second installment of the Misfit Artists list, which examines documentaries about unique artists who worked outside of the mainstream.
In the Realms of the Unreal is the name of a documentary as well as a 15,000-page illustrated epic created by Henry Darger. A poor and reclusive janitor, Darger labored in secret on works that boggle the imagination and provide a fascinating window into his soul. Continue reading
Quest for Fire is a unique prehistoric adventure film directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud. The plot concerns a trio of Neanderthals who embark on a dangerous journey to find a new source of fire for their tribe, forcing them to fight saber-toothed tigers, rival tribes of proto-humans and their own cultural limitations.
This film rec will begin a series of documentaries on artists who live and work outside of the mainstream. Stay tuned for further recommendations in the unspecified future!
Anvil! The Story of Anvil plays out like a pretty decent rehash of This Is Spinal Tap. As with Rob Reiner’s opus, the film follows a minor metal band through a disastrous tour in a last-ditch attempt to rescue their careers. Familiar scenes of botched gigs, embarrassing logistics and internal strife have an awkwardly realistic sense of humor that seems to owe a great debt to the film that came before. Even one of the two main characters is named “Robb Reiner.” At some point into the film, however, it will become clear that Anvil is not a rehash, nor is it even a mockumentary. Everything in the film really happened. Continue reading
Underground might be the best Serbian historical tragicomedy ever made. Wacky, heartbreaking and filled with life, the film earned director Emir Kusturica his second Palme d’Or from Cannes in 1995. It’s as much a live-action cartoon as a political allegory, aiming for high-brow concepts in a low-brow world. Continue reading
Diggstown isn’t the Muhammad Ali of cinema, but it sneaks up on you like a tricky left hook and leaves more of a mark than you might have expected. The tale is a simple one: a group of hustlers compete with a small-town tyrant to fix the fights in an epic boxing marathon and reap a huge payout. It’s one part sports and one part heist, with plenty of quips and action along the way. Continue reading
Things Change is the sweetest gangster movie you’ll ever see. The film is the brainchild of a scriptwriting odd couple: David Mamet and Shel Silverstein. While Mamet is known for his hard-boiled tales of rogues and lowlifes, Silverstein built his reputation on whimsical books for children. Somehow, Things Change balances these contrasting styles into a very entertaining and unique final product. Continue reading