Won’t You Be My Neighbor? came out at just the right time. It warms my heart to know someone as wholesome and innocent as Mr. Rogers can still be embraced in the cynical world we live in. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? is a rare documentary that struck a chord with the general public. Making it the highest grossing biographical documentary of all time. I knew I wanted to watch the film even though I was really young when I watched Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.
Director Robert Neville covers the entire life of Fred Rogers. From humble beginnings as an awkward imaginative child to his discovery of public television. As well as his strong Christian beliefs that fueled his philosophy to love thy neighbor. He took a quieter approach to children’s entertainment and never talked down to kids. We learn all about his puppets like Daniel Striped Tiger and other recurring characters in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.
Although Mr. Rogers launched an educational children’s program, the movie doesn’t stray from the more PG-13 topics that he faced. Even questions of alleged homosexuality are explored. I was really surprised to see parodies like Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood brought up, but I understand wanting to cover everything. I knew he was radical, but Mr. Rogers talked about death, fought against racism, and welcomed a disabled child. Mr. Rogers may have faced controversy, but he never stopped believing in children. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? reinforces his message that everyone is special.
Mr. Rogers with Mr. McFeely
March of the Penguins is the story of love, loss, and survival from the most unlikely creatures on the planet. I’m still not the kind of guy who flocks to documentaries, but March of the Penguins was unavoidable. It’s undoubtedly the movie that sparked the strangely specific penguin craze of the late 2000’s. With an Academy Award win for Best Documentary Feature, March of the Penguins became a nature film worth watching. Of course produced by National Geographic. As narrated by Morgan Freeman’s smooth and inviting voice, March of the Penguins tells the life changing journey of the emperor penguin in the unforgivably cold Arctic winter.
Penguins are actually very interesting creatures. They’re great swimmers, but they’re not fish. They’re birds, but they can’t fly. Penguins live in harsh climates and are able to survive cold temperatures for long periods of time without fish. Despite its G rating, the documentary doesn’t hold back in showing every tragedy that can befall a penguin. The main focus is on how penguins mate, protect their eggs, and separately look after their chick. Let me just say that baby penguins are just so very adorable. March of the Penguins gave me a deeper appreciation for the unseen miracles that exist in nature.
An emperor penguin cares for its offspring
Happy Star Wars day everybody! May the fourth be with you. I don’t see a whole lot of documentaries, but I knew I needed to see The People vs. George Lucas. A documentary all about Star Wars creator George Lucas, his role in the franchise, and how fans react to it. I am a huge fan of Star Wars. I have been ever since I was 4 years old. I’ve seen all the movies, watched the TV shows, played the video games, read books and comic books, bought a countless number of toys, LEGO’s, and merchandise, and seen more parodies then I care to mention. So yeah, I’d say I know Star Wars pretty well. So why doesn’t George Lucas? It’s no secret that George Lucas is brilliant for creating such a beloved franchise in the first place, but he’s also the one who damaged it forever. The documentary starts with the history. Everybody knows Lucas went through several drafts to make Star Wars. As well as how much of a wreck he was when he directed the first movie. It’s part of what lead to his first major offense of editing the original trilogy. Making the special editions which contain bad CGI and almost unforgivable changes (#HanShotFirst). The next major offense came with the prequels. Fans were so excited to see, but ultimately disappointed by what they got. I was too young to have that reaction. The third major offense actually wasn’t with Star Wars. It was with Lucas’ other beloved franchise Indiana Jones. We all know how Kingdom of the Crystal Skull turned out. As influential as George Lucas was. There’s no denying that sometimes he doesn’t even understand his own work. I’m not the kind of fan who says George Lucas ruined my childhood, but I can understand where some of these fans in the documentary are coming from. We’re all very passionate about Star Wars. The People vs. George Lucas is a must watch for any mega fan. May the force be with you.
The original Star Wars script
I’ve never been to a concert before. Until I do, Michael Jackson’s This is it is the closest thing to me going to a concert. More about that later. I grew up knowing very little about Michael Jackson. I, like most people my age, knew more about the controversies surrounding him. Somehow I just never listened to his music growing up. It wasn’t until after Michael Jackson passed away, that I decided to educate myself. My mom decided to introduce my brother and I to all of his greatest hits. Needless to say, I fell in love with all of his songs. “Billie Jean,” “Beat it,” “Bad,” “Thriller,” “Black or White,” “Smooth Criminal,” “Man in the Mirror,” etc. Every song turned me into an instant fan. Which made his loss all the more devastating. I remember the day very clearly, but I also remember the concert that was planned. Which leads back to my original statement. This is it is probably the most unique movie I’ve seen in theaters. It was made because the people responsible for the concert didn’t want Michael’s hard work to go to waste. I’m sure if MJ were alive today, he would be proud of the final result. Seeing it in theaters was a good idea, because the audience was very lively. I myself couldn’t resist singing and dancing. R.I.P. Michael Jackson.
Michael Jackson sings “Man in a Mirror” one last time
This Film is Not Yet Rated is a documentary about the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America). Just to clarify, the MPAA are the people who are responsible for giving movies in America their rating. More on them later. This Film is Not Yet Rated focuses on the way the board rates the films it views. Including, how it handles sex, violence, and language. In the documentary, a man hires a private investigator to seek out the identities of the ratings board. Now I’ve never liked the MPAA. I think it’s a very flawed system. This film just confirmed why I don’t like them. Many movies have been given the NC-17 rating in the past or present. All they have to do is edit the movie a tiny bit before they can obtain an R rating. That’s what really annoys me. Movies that really should be “no children allowed” are allowing children to view them. It’s come to a point where artistic vision is ruined, because filmmakers are so afraid of getting a certain rating. Some PG-13 movies I’ve seen should have been R or even PG. Then even worse, there are movies that should be G, but they throw in one inaudible curse word and all of a sudden it’s “not suitable for children.” If it were up to me, I’d say that they should add a few new ratings. Like one between PG and PG-13, and one between PG-13 and R. For once I’d like to go to an R rated movie without worrying if there’s a kid in the theater or not. If you’re in any way interested in the goings on of the MPAA, then give this documentary a watch. Warning Mature Content!
Green band trailer banner
I’ll admit I don’t usually watch documentaries. Frankly, I find them boring. Super Size Me is a major exception. Mostly because I (as much as anyone else) love food. Especially fast food, particularly McDonald’s. Like most people my age, I saw Super Size Me in health class. It’s mainly about humorist Morgan Spurlock deciding to eat nothing but McDonald’s everyday for a month, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, trying everything on the menu at least once. As well as taking a look at fast food industries and unhealthy foods in America. We’re all probably aware of how cheap fast food is compared to healthier foods. That’s no accident. It’s part of the reason why I eat McDonald’s (or Burger King, Wendy’s, KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut) just about every week. What sets this documentary apart from others is the humorous take on the subject matter. Super Size Me will make you hungry, but it will also make you think. Although unlike some people, I don’t stop eating meat just because I find out how it gets made. Not even working in a meat factory is enough to change my mind. Give Super Size Me a taste and see if you like it.
Morgan Spurlock eats his first of many McDonald’s french fries