This week Big Tuck is bringing you some of the best, brightest, and most bizarre picks from the streaming verse!
Recently I have been on a bit of a Documentary Tear, so I thought I would drop down 3 – scratch that – 4 solid picks! it’s like your collective birthdays came early!!
This was a REALLY tough watch, both in the subject matter AND how powerless it can make you feel against the “system”. I will fully admit that as a white male this is a system that I don’t have a lot of interaction with and/or oppression from, however, it is still a big component of the major cultural unrest that any viewer can appreciate.
This is an in-depth look at a police shooting in Cleveland, which you think the movie will go, well, in-depth into (spoiler: it does with SURGICAL precision), BUT then it goes DEEP into the corruption and systematic issues with the current state of the police force(s). It reminds me a bit of Spotlight (which is a VASTLY inferior movie) in that it shows you – in great detail – issues that you may have some understanding of, but leaves you with a feeling of helplessness around these issues changing from the top down. Sad, poignant, and important.
RATING: 4/5 +
Well, cats and kittens, I got some sour news for you: this one is also not for the faint of heart.
If you’re anything like me – 6’1 and named Big Tuck – the extent of your knowledge is that YES there was a riot at Attica penitentiary and YES we all saw Al Pacino screaming it in the streets. What we all DIDN’T know is exposed in this engrossing doc, with piles of archival footage AND interviews with inmates there. In similar scope to law enforcement, it’s pretty much common knowledge that the prison system is not exactly running on all cylinders in America, and it’s SHOCKING to see that the same issues that are debated today were still apparent in the near past. I think this documentary does a fair job of showing both the inmate POV AND the guards, as the prison was one of the biggest employers for the (predominately white) town of the same age. While it is difficult to fully grasp the emotions that are on hand when the children of inmates are on camera discussing their parent’s fate, you can’t help but feel that even the guards are a victim of this broken system. Heart-wrenching and with a LEGIT twist ending, this is a truly fascinating look into an event that has been known solely as a throw-away line from a popular movie.
RATING: 4/5 +
Alrighty, now that your emotions have been torn asunder, it’s time for something a little more uplifting!
If you liked The Amazing Johnathan documentary but found it a LITTLE too self-indulgent for both the subject and the filmmaker, An Honest Liar is going to a fastball right down the middle for you. I had never heard of this escape artist turned “mental-ism/spiritualism” exposer until the boys over at The Film Vault discussed it, and this was a truly fascinating watch. From upstaging Houdini to exposing individual “con-men” to throwing an ENTIRE government study off the rails, Randi certainly earns his Amazing title. This falls into the category of documentaries where the individual himself is so utterly compelling you could just watch him speak directly to the camera (either in modern-day or from historical footage) the entire time, and the fact that so many known celebrities in the magic community came out for this shows how important of a man Randi truly is. Unlike Attica, there is a “twist” that is pretty well telegraphed and changes the landscape of the documentary toward the last third, BUT since it’s part of Randi’s story it would not feel like a complete tail without it.
TUBI (it’s free!)
I feel like anyone who’s around my age had a friend that was OBSESSED with The Boondock Saints (here’s looking at you Seth Lyons), and I also thoroughly enjoyed it in my critical infancy BUT I would wager to guess it may not hold up as anything more than a cult action movie. What film I can HIGHLY recommend is this documentary, about not only the movie but also the creator and his hubris.
I forgot that there was so much buzz around the script, which would sucker anyone into feeling like they are a big mover/shaker – especially when you’re a tough guys bouncer from Boston who always thought they were better than those around them. And indeed he may have been, however, it’s clear that Troy Duffy is a man who is only going to get in his own way. There’s a lot more history behind the B Saints (as they are known to their friends), the band that Duffy and his brother co-lead that almost hit it big, and Troy’s star shining sooo bright but burning away. I don’t want to give away the ending too much, so be wary, but there’s a quote along the lines of “Fame only shows what was truly underneath the whole time”, and this story certainly seems to line up with that.
RATING: 4/5 +