Tag Archives: Documentary

Review: The Art of Organized Noize

organized noize poster
via iDigital Times

The Art of Organized Noize (2016)


Documentary / Music

Starring: Rico Wade, Ray Murray, Sleepy Brown

Director: Quincy Jones III

Outkast.  Goodie Mob.  TLC.  These groups have done a lot for hip-hop and music in general.  During their rise to fame, they provided a unique sound that was unlike anything anyone had heard before.  They fundamentally changed the landscape of hip-hop.  It’s true that these groups did a lot of good for the industry, but what about the crew behind them…the crew responsible for their music.  The underappreciated group Organized Noize, comprised of Rico Wade, Ray Murray, and Sleepy Brown, were the production visionaries behind groups like Outkast and Goodie Mob.  Their story, told by director Quincy Jones III in his documentary The Art of Organized Noize, is a fascinating story full of ups and downs.

organized noize 1
via E! Online

The Art of Organized Noize charts the rise of Organized Noize from their days working out of a basement in Atlanta to their days in major recording studios working with higher profile artists.  The documentary covers a lot of ground and does a good job at pulling everything together in a nice and easy timeline.  We get to see some early photos from their early days, which is some pretty cool stuff.  The crew talks a lot about their Dungeon Family days (The Dungeon is what they called their old basement where they did a majority of their work) and the family-first comradery that they developed with each other.

A good portion of the story is told through the eyes of Rico, Ray, and Sleepy but they are not alone.  Guys like Andre 3000, Big Boi, Big Rube, Cee-Lo Green, and Big Gipp, members of the Dungeon Family, are also on hand to give their accounts as well.  Notable producers like LA Reid, a big factor in Organized Noize’s success, make appearances as well.  One thing that’s nice about the documentary is that a lot of the history comes organically.  The guys do a lot of reminiscing as they sit around together, which leads to stories being told.  At times this led to some incoherence and off-topic conversations but it never got too out of hand.  There was a bit where they went into their time with drug usage which didn’t really seem to fit with the whole mantra of the story.

the art of organized noize
via Hip-Hop Wired

Towards the end, legacy started to become the topic at hand.  Quincy Jones and Organized Noize brought in a lot of people to talk about their legacy in the rap industry.  There were a lot of Atlanta based rappers that made an appearance, like 2 Chainz, Ludacris, and Future, that talked about their effect on Atlanta as well as the rap game.  Popular producers today like Metro Boomin and Sonny Digital also talked about how Organized Noize influenced them as producers.  This stuff was necessary for a documentary like this because that’s what makes Organized Noize so fascinating.  They never seemed to get the credit they deserved (the documentary talks a lot about this) yet they had such a profound impact on modern artists in the rap game.

It would have been nice if there was a little more archival footage featured in the documentary.  You get an occasional image flashed here and there, but nothing substantial.  The portions were they walked around their old house and their old studio space were cool, but I would have liked a little more.  You could see their Stankonia recording studio in the background of some of their interviews, but it would have been nice if they showed us around a bit.  I appreciate the abundance of interviews, but I would have liked a more substantial visual supplement to go along with them.

organized noize 2
via Okay Player

A lot of rap fans are not familiar with Organized Noize, a crew of producers responsible for a lot of the trends we see today in rap music, which is why this documentary is an important one.  It tells a really evoking story about the most underappreciated group in rap.  They worked day in and day out but never seemed to get the recognition that they’re peers, like Outkast and Goodie Mob, got.  The Art of Organized Noize is a story that you should make yourself familiar with.  Any fan of rap and hip-hop should enjoy this one a lot.

organized noize score


Review: Our Brand Is Crisis

via The Low Down Under
via The Low Down Under

Our Brand Is Crisis (2015)

R / 107 min

Comedy / Drama

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Billy Bob Thorton, Anthony Mackie

Director: David Gordon Green

Our Brand Is Crisis seemed to be a movie that was not quite sure what it wanted to be, which is not a good thing; especially when your movie is about political campaigns.

Based on the 2005 documentary of the same name, Our Brand Is Crisis tells the story of American political consultant “Calamity” Jane Bodine, played by Sandra Bullock, and her task of getting Bolivian presidential candidate Castillo (Joaquim de Almeida) re-elected.  Jane’s been tested and has the experience necessary, but her career started to take a dive when rival campaign manager Pat Candy (Billy Bob Thorton) started to steal the rug from right under her, winning the past couple of elections that they were both involved in.  When Jane realizes that Candy is working with Castillo’s opposition, things get personal and she realizes that she has to pull out all the stops in order to succeed.

via Mountain X
via Mountain X

After being convinced to go to Bolivia by some of Castillo’s American staff, Ben (Anthony Mackie) and Nell (Ann Dowd), things get off to a shaky start the second Jane sets foot on Bolivian soil.  The air conditions begin to make her nauseous and she literally tumbles her way into Castillo’s offices.  It’s not a good look for her, or anybody for that matter.  However, she slowly regains her footing and starts to realize that running a campaign in Bolivia is a whole different ball game from her previous campaigns in America.  She’s told on multiple different occasions that the strategies that she has employed in America do not really fly well in Bolivia, but that does not stop her from doing what she has to do to beat Candy’s opposing campaign.

It’s with Sandra Bullock’s character where the movie starts to lose its identity.  Literally the movie tells the story of two different Jane’s.  On one hand we have the serious and determined Jane who has experience under her belt and a whole library of quotes from some of the most brilliant minds in the world.  She knows how to get what she wants and she brings ferocity and vitality to a campaign that seems to be tanking.  Then we have the other Jane; the crazier side.  At one point she is getting drunk with one of the campaign’s volunteers and his friends and later she is literally sticking her ass out the window of a moving bus.  I started to see that this was screenwriter Peter Straughen’s way of bringing some comedy and zaniness into the story, but it really was not all that funny.  Instead it just made me confused as to what type of character Jane Bodine actually was.

via Screen Relish
via Screen Relish

Despite the problems with her character, Sandra Bullock did a fine job with portraying the real life Jane Bodine.  In fact, she was really the only main attraction.  Characters like Billy Bob Thorton’s Pat Candy had their moments here and there but most of the cast did not really perform up to the same bar as Bullock.  The whole movie was being carried by Bullock, with the rest of the cast seemingly along for the ride.

The premise of Our Brand Is Crisis is fascinating and intriguing in concept, but it has some flaws tying it back from its full potential.  The screenplay, despite some amusing moments, was relatively bland and lacked the kind of punch that a movie like this needs.  Bullock does her absolute best but it is ultimately not enough.  Oscar season is quickly approaching and it does not seem like Our Brand Is Crisis is going to have a successful awards campaign.  Isn’t that ironic?

our brand is crisis score

Review: Hot Girls Wanted

via IMDB
via IMDB

Hot Girls Wanted (2015)

NR / 84 min.


Starring: Farrah Abraham, Rachel Bernard, Tony D.

Directors: Jill Bauer, Ronna Gradus

Documentaries about porn.  Usually I tend to stick away from them.  First of all, they are not the kinds of things you are going to sit down and watch with other people…because that’s just weird.  They also tend to highlight the glamorous party lifestyles that the people involved in the industry usually tend to lead on.  Bottom line, most of the documentaries are not good.  However, Hot Girls Wanted has been getting a lot of buzz ever since it debuted in February.  I decided to give it a look…with a slight tinge of hesitancy.

What we get from Hot Girls Wanted, produced by actress Rashida Jones, is a documentary about a certain slice of the porn industry…the amateur portion of the industry.  It’s an exploitative atmosphere for young models wanting to make it big and the documentary’s goal is to show how easy it is for a girl, turning eighteen, to get her foot in the industry’s door.  How easy you say?  All it takes is a craigslist ad and proof that you are eighteen.  Before you know it, you can be whisked away on a plane to the amateur porn hotspot they call Miami, Florida.

via Variety
via Variety

Viewers often get a candid look at a plethora of different “porn actresses” with various experience in the industry, but the main focus is put on young eighteen year old Tressa Silguero, a seemingly innocent girl who finds herself given the opportunity to make a lot of money.  She stumbles upon the craigslist ad created by Riley Reynolds, founder of Hussie Models.  (Side Note: this Reynolds character is pretty much the exact stereotype of a guy in the amateur porn industry, sleazy as can be)  Before she knows it, Tressa is making a lot of money, gaining a new following on social media, and becoming a popular teen porn star.

The documentary reveals that she has not told her parents about her new job, which is mind-blowing for me.  I cannot imagine the type of parents that would be okay with sending their baby girl, straight out of high school, on a pretty lengthy trip to Miami.  Things start to slip for Tressa and she ends up telling her parents, as well as her boyfriend, about her newfound fame in the porn industry.  The interactions between Tressa and her family were some of the weak spots of the documentary, considering all of the cameras probably take away from the authenticity of these conversations.  The interactions seem fake, especially given the subject matter that they have to discuss.  Parents who find out that their daughter has been making porn without telling them would be bouncing off the walls with anger, along with a plethora of other emotions.  Instead, we see a calm and collected mother lecturing her child.  It does not have a profound effect on the viewer.

via Movie Pilot
via Movie Pilot

Amateur porn has not been a focus of most porn documentaries, which makes Hot Girls Wanted a rare and unique breed.  The direction and focus of the documentary lacks clarity however.  The goal is to open people’s eyes about how easy it is for young women to get into porn.  Its almost meant to shock viewers.  Tressa’s story sticks with the theme, but the rest seems to glorify the young women getting into the industry.  We often see the girls having the time of their lives.  The documentary is quick to tell viewers that these models are making a lot of money pretty quickly.  All it takes is a couple of months of hard work and you can net yourself a pretty penny.  The documentary even ends with a “where are they now?” segment that shows a couple of the actresses still making it big in the industry.  Tressa ends up leaving porn behind, but it was not clear by the end of the documentary if it was trying to argue for or against the amateur porn industry.

Hot Girls Wanted did succeed in opening my eyes to the seedy underbelly of porn and the types of things that models have to endure on their rise to stardom, but the documentary lacked direction.  The cameras were intrusive as they could be, following these girls in the most candid of ways, which was interesting but led to some fake and unauthentic interactions.  I have to give Rashida Jones some credit for giving us a unique look at the industry from a different angle, but it could have been a lot better in what it was trying to accomplish.

hot girls wanted score

Review: The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe

via Movie Newz
via Movie Newz

The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe (2015)

Lifetime / TVMA

Biography / Drama

Starring: Kelli Garner, Susan Sarandon, Emily Watson

Director: Laurie Collyer

At this point, the wild and tragic life of cultural and sexual icon Marilyn Monroe has been explored by everyone and their father.  Their almost a dime a dozen.  Books have been written and documentaries have been made, picking apart almost every aspect of her short and troubled life.  What makes it all fascinating is the amount of info that she was able to keep away from the media for the longest time.  It is what makes these documentaries riveting.  Lifetime’s The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe is yet another biopic about the dark secrets that Monroe managed to keep to herself.  It manages to keep itself fresh, albeit some problems.

The two-part made-for-TV movie tells the story of Monroe within the sometimes awkward frame of a psychotherapy session.  Monroe, played by Kelli Garner, talks through the many different aspects of her life that eventually lead to her tragic end.  Dr. DeShields (Jack Noseworthy) is earnest in learning about her life story, but at times this leads to some awkward writing which at times seemed clunky.  It was meant to drive the different parts of the documentary.

via Movie Newz
via Movie Newz

One of the things that provides the backbone for the biopic is Monroe’s mother and her mental issues.  Gladys, played by Susan Sarandon, is painted as a troubled woman with a dark story.  The movie sets this as the prime reason for Monroe’s troubled childhood.  She was an orphan for most of her childhood life and it is assumed that some of her own mental issues where a direct contribution from her mother.  In between bouts with her mom, her main caregiver was her aunt Grace McKee (Emily Watson) who raised her to be the model and actress that she slowly began to morph into, much to her real mother’s dismay.

via kinopoisk.ru

The first part of the biopic depicts Monroe’s childhood and the second part really starts to tell the tale of Monroe’s downward spiral thanks to her problems with men and drugs.  We see a lot of her relationship with retired Yankee Joe DiMaggio (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and the problems that arose from the marriage.  We also see the relationship with playwright Arthur Miller (Stephan Bogaert) that also had its fair share of problems, including Monroe’s miscarriage.  Towards the end, we have a brief look at Monroe’s affair with President Kennedy, which I would have loved to seen explored more.  All of these things, along with her zealous use of prescription drugs, eventually leads to her death, which was a result of an overdose of barbiturates.  The movie ends in ambiguous fashion, showing Monroe take some pills before going to bed.  We are treated to one of the documentaries most touching scenes between Monroe and her mother on a beach, right around the time when Monroe was really starting to get noticed.  It’s what the young starlet always wanted, but the depressing scene makes us realize that you have to be careful about what you wish for.

via Mondo Moda
via Mondo Moda

In terms of Garner’s performance as the iconic figure, there are some things that could have been done better.  First off, she looked more like Kelli Garner than Marilyn Monroe herself.  I realize that finding an actress that matches the look of Monroe is quite a feat, but she did not always seem like the right fit.  With enough make up, she looked fine, but there were some points where I noticed she did not look quite right.  She also does an okay job at mimicking the actresses’ iconic voice, but at points Garner’s portrayal of the voice was almost overdone and exaggerated.  Monroe was always typecast as the “dumb blonde” (see her movies like Gentleman Prefer Blondes and How to Marry a Millionaire) and Garner is bubbly and flirtatious, but to an extreme at different parts of the feature.

Although Garner’s performance could have been better, I really enjoyed the performances brought on by the supporting cast.  Emily Watson and Susan Sarandon did a wonderful job of playing Monroe’s closest family.  Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who played Joe DiMaggio, turned out to be one of my favorite characters from the feature.  The second part of the documentary really focuses on his dynamic character, a man jealous of Monroe’s fame.  He goes through a lot of emotions but ends up becoming the good guy by the end, one of the few people that was always there for the actress.

via Movie Newz
via Movie Newz

The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe does not give us any new bits of information about Marilyn Monroe’s life, but it manages to keep things fresh with a story told through a different lenses.  I would not consider it a grade-a look at the troubled star’s life, marred by Garner’s portrayal of Monroe, but she does a serviceable job of telling one of the most intriguing, and maybe depressing, stories about the types of problems that come with living life in the lights of Hollywood.

secret life of monroe score

Review: No No: A Dockumentary

via Google Play
via Google Play

No No: A Dockumentary (2014)

NR / 100 min

Documentary / Sports

Starring: Dock Ellis

Director: Jeff Radice

Baseball is a sport that has had a lot of characters throughout its long storied history.  Among the long list of famous baseball players, Dock Ellis is one of those guys that probably flies under the radar. How he flies under the radar, I do not know.  He is probably one of the most intriguing players, if not one of the craziest pitchers to play the game.  No No: A Dockumentary tells his story.

Director Jeff Radice does not waste his time in the beginning of the documentary, starting with Dock’s claim to fame; his no-hitter with the Pittsburgh Pirates under the influence of LSD.  A feat like this is almost impossible, but somehow, some way, Dock Ellis found a way to pull history off against the San Diego Padres.

via The Dissolve
via The Dissolve

The title is misleading though, as the documentary starts to branch off into other directions.  We indeed get the story of Dock’s no hitter, but we get a much bigger exploration into the crazy life that Dock Ellis led.  He was an alcoholic, a drug addict, and was never afraid to ramble off what was on his mind.  He’s a player that would not last a second in today’s world, but managed to create a name for himself back when he first played for the Pirates.  He was a talented pitcher, managing to pitch under the influence of a number of different drugs.  The drugs “took the edge off” and managed to loosen up his appearance on the mound.  He was a pitcher that had an effect on the psyche of hitters.  They never knew what kind of state the man was in.

With that many drugs going through his system on a daily basis, it was no surprise that his personal life started to take a downhill direction.  He had different girlfriends, but these relationships never seemed to all end abruptly thanks to Dock’s drug problem.  He also led a party life that often got him into trouble.  These effects changed him however, and the last part of the documentary documents Dock’s return to sobriety, and his defeat of his drug and alcohol addiction.  It was a change for the better, and it led him to teach and counsel others going through the same types of struggles that he went through.

via PGH City Paper
via PGH City Paper

The story is told by friends, family, former players and Dock himself, who was present for some interviews.  They all had interesting things to say about Dock, painting him as a good man, with a lot of vices.  Radice does a good job of framing the story with music from the era as well, giving the documentary a cool psychedelic feel straight out of the 70’s.  It was a good fit.  As far as actual game footage go, it was pretty scarce.  Most of the footage came from his famed no hitter, but the majority of the film was still photos and interviews from others.  It would have been nice to see some other footage, perhaps from his game against the Cincinnati Reds, where he was on a mission to hit everyone in their lineup until he got taken out.

Another thing that came to question was the documentary’s sudden end.  The documentary does not disappoint and managed to keep the story going through its 100 minute runtime, but it came to a quick end.  It almost seemed like there was a little more story to be told.  I do not know if Radice had to make some cuts for time concerns or what, but it just did not seem right.

via Youtube
via Youtube

No No: A Dockumentary manages to tell a compelling story about one of the craziest and lesser known players of the game.  He was outspoken, pitched a no-hitter, started an all-star game, and played for a number of teams during his wild career.  He has not received a hall of fame nod, but perhaps that is because the kind of life he led does not necessarily match up with the kind of example you want to set for young players of the game.  Either way, the now deceased Dock Ellis deserves a nice comfy spot in baseball history as one the most storied players of the game, and his documentary demands your attention.

no no score

Review: Atari: Game Over

via IMDB
via IMDB

Atari: Game Over (2014)

NR / 66 min.


Starring: Zak Penn, Joe Lewandowski, Robert Rentschler

Director: Zak Penn

Everybody remembers the Atari 2600.  The legendary home video console was one of the biggest cultural phenomenon of the 1980’s.  It was considered the system that caused the home video game revolution, and arguably the gaming revolution as a whole.  It had a massive impact, delivering some of the most classic and revolutionary games to a generation of gamers.

With Atari sitting high and mighty on top in terms of commercial success, what brought their empire tumbling down?  That is the question that documentary Atari: Game Over aims to answer.  Director Zak Penn tells the story of the infamous “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” Atari 2600 game cartridge that ultimately brought on the eventual demise of the Atari 2600.  This statement has been argued by many game critics and theorists, but the failure of the game, which was considered to be frustratingly tough and boring, could not be denied.

via Film Pulse
via Film Pulse

The game, created by Atari software engineer Howard Scott Warshaw, did so poorly for the company that they decided to literally bury the game and leave it behind them.  Urban legend detailed how Atari buried millions of the E.T. game cartridges in a landfill all the way out in Alamogordo, New Mexico.  The story is pretty interesting, although kind of silly at the same time.  It was a story so interesting that Zak Penn decided to chronicle the investigation of the mysterious burial of the game.

Penn brings on a lot of people onto the project to tell the story.  Joe Lewandowski, a waste disposal expert and historian, was fascinated by the urban legend, which caused him to investigate the scene of the burial.  We also get to hear a lot of input from the likes of Warshaw himself, former mayor of Alamogordo Robert Rentschler, screenwriter and novelist Ernest Cline, game historian Mike Mika, and Manny Gerard, the chief operating officer of Warner Communications.  Although some of these guests had more interesting things to say than some of the others, they all seemed necessary to tell the tale.

via Xbox News
via Xbox News

The documentary’s main focus was the rise and fall of Atari.  Although this information was an important farming piece for the landfill excavation, it was a shame to see less of the attention given to the actual dig itself.  Throughout the documentary we got bits and pieces of the set-up for the dig, with a big portion towards the end focusing on the actual event itself.  However, most of the running time was devoted to the history of Atari and some of its other successful games like “Adventure” and “Yar’s Revenge.”

The documentary is a gold mine of information however.  If you have never heard of Atari and its place in gaming history, the documentary does a good job of filling you in.  It also gives some fresh tidbits of information for those already well versed in the company’s history.  I was quite surprised to hear about the “party-all-the-time” lifestyle and work environment that took place at Atari back in the day.  It was these kinds of facts that made up for the information that we have heard before in previous documentaries.

 via Science Fiction
via Science Fiction

Some of the interactions that Penn had with some of the story’s key players were a little cheesy and on the nose, but entertaining to say the least.  The dig itself was captured quite well, giving us a good look at the crazy, and arguably silly, event.  The archeologists faced a tough challenge with the dig, but they ultimately found what they were looking for.  After some hard work and intense heat, the cartridges were eventually found.  It was a moment of triumph, as well as emotion, especially for Warshaw, who was pleased with the amount of recognition and publicity that the terrible game was getting.

Atari: Game Over tells a zany story about digging up glorified trash in the middle of the desert.  It is a concept that seems like it would not deserve its own documentary, but Zak Penn did an alright job at providing us with a lot of information and stories to make the experience generally worthwhile.  It was also pretty interesting to hear the experiences and perspectives from some of the key player in the story.  Atari’s handling of the situation by burying the ET cartridges is one of gaming’s weirdest story, and Atari: Game Over does a pretty good job of putting it all into perspective.

atari game over score

Review: Video Games: The Movie

via MCM Buzz
via MCM Buzz

Video Games: The Movie (2014)

NR / 105 min

Documentary / Animation / History

Starring: Sean Astin, Al Alcorn, Peter Armstrong

Director: Jeremy Snead

Movies and video games have always had a weird relationship.  Big corporate companies would often cash in on the big movie releases of the summer, making video game adaptations to go alongside these blockbusters.  They always fell short, with the exception of a few.  On the other hand, we are starting to hear a lot about movies based off video games.  Assassins Creed, World Of Warcraft, and Uncharted have all been in talks to receive movie counterparts.  What about a movie based on video games as a whole?  Well, Video Games: The Movie had the heart and soul, but ultimately didn’t make the mark.

The documentary takes a look at the story of video games, and the people and events that got them to where they are today as one of the entertainment world’s biggest industries.  The documentary wasted no time displaying the graphs and charts that proved video game’s dominance in the entertainment market.  I didn’t think this portion of the project was necessary, considering I didn’t need any convincing that video games are on top.

via Geek Tyrant
via Geek Tyrant

Narrated by Sean Astin, Video Games: The Movie contains a bunch of interviews and bits from some of the biggest names in the industry, as well as the journalistic industry that covers them.  We saw the likes of Cliff Bleszinski (who was also the executive producer on the project), Al Alcorn, Nolan Bushnell, Will Wheaton, Chris Hardwick, Donald Faison, Peter Armstrong, and many more.  I was pleasantly surprised about the amount of talent that was on board.  There was little narration during the course of the story.  The story was told by the game’s creators and the people that influenced them as time went on.

via Film Dump
via Film Dump

There was a timeline of video games that basically served as the backbone for the documentary.  We went up and down the timeline, exploring the games, systems, creators, and other events that impacted the industry, as well as its fans.  Along the way, the documentary covered some of the industry’s biggest issues, like the big Industry Crash, as well as the influence of games like Grand Theft Auto on violence.  All of these issues were covered on a surface level depth, and they don’t really dive deep into any one of them.  They did a good job at mostly covering everything, but maybe that’s the problem of a movie trying to document video games as a whole.  How do you cover everything at a satisfying level?

The biggest problem about the documentary was its lack of new material; stuff we haven’t seen before.  I’ve read a lot about the history of the video game industry, and I’ve seen a fair share of historic videos.  Nothing that Video Games: The Movie covered was necessarily new, or enlightening.  There was a notable absence of talk about the mobile gaming industry, including smartphones.  They have had a profound effect on gaming, and they were nowhere to be seen.  I also would have liked to have seen some other issues plaguing the industry, like the free-to-play arena, as well as the issue of online gaming and harassment.  Perhaps this documentary wasn’t the right venue for issues like these, but I would have liked to see something different than just “the history of video games.”

via Highsnobiety
via Highsnobiety

There were times were the documentary felt like a promotional video for video games.  In between periods of interviews, I would see these drawn out highlight reels showing scenes from video games of yesteryear, as well as the games we are playing today.  These “highlight reels” of sorts weren’t really needed, and they didn’t offer anything to the table.  They were just there to get people excited about gaming in general.  If I wanted to do that, I would just go watch a batch of trailers.  I didn’t need a feature length film to do that for me.

Hearing the story from some of the industry’s greats was a nice touch, but Video Games: The Movie could have been so much more.  There was a lack of depth, which was surprising to me.  Instead, we got a bunch of fan service and highlight reels to get everybody feeling good about games.  I would much rather have a documentary covering specific issues or events in video games’ history, with more insight.  The documentary suffers from being too broad, and trying to do too much.  If you want a good documentary on video games, I would probably point you to Indie Game: The Movie.  It’s much more intriguing than Video Games: THE HYPEFEST VIDEO GAMES ARE GREAT YOU GUYS!

video games the movie score

Please Subscribe and the YouTube Phenomenon

Please Subscribe PosterPlease Subscribe (2012)

NR / 77 min

Documentary / Biography / Comedy

Starring: Craig Benzine, Dan Brown & Mitchell Davis

Director: Dan Dobi


Even to this day I still can’t fully wrap my head around the immense phenomenon that is YouTube.  When the website formed around nine years ago, it was hard to tell if it would grow wings and spring off.

Obviously this is not the case today.

YouTube has grown into one of the world most visited website.  Tons of people are uploading hundreds and hundreds of hours of content everyday.  It’s truly unfathomable.  Please Subscribe, a documentary by Dan Dobi is a documentary about YouTube, but it tells a different type of story.  It doesn’t talk about what YouTube is, or how it is run.  Instead, it takes a peek into some of the personal lives of some of the personalities that make the site run.  In my opinion, this provides for a better story.

please subscribe 2

The documentary follows the story of eight YouTuber’s and the lives that they live.  These personalities include Daily Grace, Dan Brown, Hannah Hart, Mitchell Davis, Mystery Guitar Man, Seananners, The Will of DC, and Wheezy Waiter.  Each one of them has a different story to tell, and all of them are pretty intriguing.

The documentary focuses a lot on the daily lives that these internet celebrities live and how hectic they can sometimes be.  A lot of people might have the misconception that being a “YouTube Star” is cake walk and that these stars are living an easy life.  In reality,  their lives can be busy and borderline crazy.  A lot of these YouTubers’ days are packed to the brim with video work or planning for their video work.  Their work pays off in the end, because most of these people make six-figure salaries.  Although this a driving force for most, a lot of these personalities do it because they want to, not because of the dough.

please subscribe 1

We also get to hear the more intimate stories that you otherwise wouldn’t hear publicly.  For instance, we get to hear the story of Mitchell Davis, and his battles with OCD.  It’s a thing that he has struggled with in the past, but his YouTube channel has helped him overtake this disorder and tame it.  It’s these kinds of stories that made the documentary riveting to watch.

The documentary primarily focuses on the success stories of these YouTuber’s channels, but we do get to see a channel that has gone through it’s fair share of failures as well.  We see the story of Dan Brown and his property entitled Dan 3.0.  This property that he created was basically a crowd-sourced project on YouTube that he started after his channel had gained some popularity.  This move didn’t really sit well with the fans and it actually ended up not going so well for Dan in the end.  We get to see how he coped and how he got through it all.  It ended with a good ending, but it was important that we got to see the failures that come with YouTube.  Not everybody that signs up for a YouTube account sees instant success.  It takes a lot of hard work, and sometimes the works pays off, while other times it may not.

please subscribe 4

Please Subscribe offers a unique perspective and it sheds a light on the whole YouTube story.  To my knowledge, most people know about YouTube, but they don’t know the story behind it.  They don’t know the people behind it.  They don’t know the true story behind the personalities that they see and watch every day.

The documentary was well shot and it was fun to watch.  Dan Dobi hasn’t done too much up to this point, but I hope that I can see more of his work in the future.  Please Subscribe is an extremely recommendable documentary and I actually encourage a lot of people to watch it.  It’s a unique look at a website and the pioneers that are taking it into the future.

please subscribe 3