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In recent years there has been a real boom in documentaries surrounding popular culture. Films such as Electric Boogaloo, Video Nasties, The Search for Weng Weng and Adjust Your Tracking have captured the zeitgeist of fans across the globe, and in turn inspired more people to create their own documentaries about pop culture subjects that matter to them…
But not all these documentaries see the same success. Having been on something of a documentary kick lately, I thought I’d break down the ten of the best little-known, or better yet little-discussed, pop-culture documentaries from the many, many examples I have been watching. So here they are and, for once, they’re in order:
There’s a good reason this film is at the top of my list. This is the documentary that kicked off my exploration of pop culture documentaries (eventually ending up at compliling this list) and, »
- Phil Wheat
Teil Margaret Runnels Gergel, who is the daughter of the late WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes, has mentioned on Twitter recently that she wants her father to be remembered at the Emmy Awards.
During every Emmy ceremony, there’s a video tribute played to the men and women that passed away in the last year that worked in the television industry.
Here’s a summary of several tweets that Teil wrote on her Twitter account @TeilMargaret:
“Every year there is drama over @TheEmmys memorial spot but Dusty Rhodes was a pioneer in ppv tv and one of cables first stars. #fact My father deserves to be a part of that tribute. Say what you will about wrestling but he spent decades entertaining people on television. So often wrestling or sports entertainment is overlooked by Hollywood despite the millions of tv viewers it brings in weekly. Wrestling is »
- John Canton
Jim Henson’s puppet creation The Muppets have been a staple in North American pop culture for a number of decades, even enjoying a recent resurgence in popularity following the release of two movies and an upcoming primetime tv show to go with a healthy internet presence. While numerous characters are identifiable to the public, proving the appeal of the characters has gone beyond their creator, perhaps the most famous among the crowd is Kermit the Frog, the unofficial leader of the group.
Kermit’s appeal stretches beyond simply The Muppets, as established recently when the character was invited to conduct a Ted talk in Mississippi. The home state of creator Jim Henson, Kermit gave a lecture titled “The creative act of listening to a talking frog”. The lecture can now be seen in its entirety below. Kermit will return to television on ABC’s The Muppets on September 22nd. »
- Deepayan Sengupta
If Lego can do it, then why not Pez? Envision Media Arts has teamed up with Pez Candy Inc. for an exclusive agreement that will result in an animated movie based on the spring-loaded candy containers with the flip-top heads. Cameron Fay, who helped script the 2012 The Three Stooges movie, is being tasked with writing the feature. Though, no plot details have been revealed at this time.
Lee Nelson and David Buelow are producing Pez for Ema. Gregg Rossen, Brian Sawyer and Jonathan Hung are responsible for bringing the project to the studio. They will executive produce alongside Ema's David Tish. No director has been attached at this time. And it isn't clear who will voice the characters, who may be, like The Lego Movie, based on several existing properties. Over the years, Pez has released toys for Disney, Star Wars, The Simpsons and more. They also have several »
Eminem stopped by radio show Sway In the Morning for an interview this past week, on his road to promoting his work and curation of the "Southpaw" soundtrack, and to lay down some freestyle. “I see the b*tch in you Caitlyn / I keep the pistol tucked like Bruce Jenner’s d*ck / No disrespect, though / Not at all / No pun intended / That took a lot of balls,” he rapped on-beat. Eminem is no stranger to shock, as it's part of his original brand. As he's added celebrities to his sites, has earned a particular bit of publicity mileage from lyrics depicting violence against women, the use of Lgbt slurs, and calling women "men" and vice versa ("Tell Lady Gaga she can quit her job at the post office / she’s still a male lady”) in his music. Taking a dig at one of the best-known trans women in American pop culture, »
- Katie Hasty
I remember when Legendary Pictures threw a panel in a smaller room in the San Diego Convention Center, giving away copies of "Mass Effect 2" to anyone who showed up to hear them talk about their plans for movies like "Seventh Son," "The Great Wall," and an adaptation of "Mass Effect." They've come a long way. At that point, they were partnered with Warner Bros., and they were looking to define who they were are a company. Oh, sure, they were major financial and creative players on any number of big films already, like Nolan's first two Batman films, Snyder's "300" and "Watchmen," "The Hangover," "Inception," and my beloved "Where The Wild Things Are." But talking to Thomas Tull, talking to Jon Jashni, it was clear that what they craved were films that were theirs from start to finish, movies that they felt undisputedly reflected their sensibilities. It was strange seeing them »
- Drew McWeeny
Rush Limbaugh is condemning Bill Cosby as another “sexual disgrace” in light of the damning deposition released Monday, claiming that liberal media has portrayed him as a hero. In the newly-unsealed documents, the 77-year-old comedian admitted that he obtained Quaaludes to give to young women he intended to have sex with. On his radio program “The Rush Limbaugh Show” on Tuesday, Limbaugh drew comparisons between Cosby and a number of other controversial figures he believes got a free pass with the media. “Over here, Michael Sam. Over here, Caitlyn Jenner. Over here, Bill Cosby. Over here, Bill Clinton. Over here, »
- Kathy Zerbib
Zeb Larson reviews We Stand on Guard #1…
Saga writer Brian K. Vaughan teams with artistic legend and Matrix storyboard artist Steve Skroce for an action-packed military thriller that will have everyone talking. 100 years from now, a heroic band of Canadian civilians must defend their homeland from invasion…by the United States of America! The hyper-detailed combat between badass freedom fighters and giant f***ing robots begins with a spectacular 40-page First Issue for the regular price of just $2.99!
This was a fun first fun issue, but I can’t tell how seriously Brian K. Vaughan wants us to take this book. The premise is basically a war between Canada and the United States, the idea of which should make most people giggle a little bit. So much of the book features America bashing by Canadians and one-upmanship about which Canadians were actually really important in American pop culture it feels like a comedy book. »
- Zeb Larson
Danny says we gotta goGotta go to IdahoBut we can't go surfin''Cause it's 20 belowThose words open The Ramones' song Danny Says, from their woefully under appreciated Phil Spector produced 1980 album, End of the Century. That was what I knew of Danny Fields before seeing Brendan Toller's illuminating documentary Danny Says. The film traces Fields' roots back to his childhood in Queens, and follows his almost unbelievable journey alongside American pop culture in the late '60s and '70s as he shepherds one incredible movement after another into the limelight during a time in American history that would change everything. You name it, Danny was there, and he was crucial.Brendan Toller's film is more than just a bunch of talking heads pontificating on the importance...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
[Press Release] Brooklyn, NY (June 17, 2015) Whether you were Team Tamagotchi or Team Furby, there is no denying the 90s were a remarkable period for American pop culture. To celebrate the decade that marked the beginning of the internet age, the rise of the bucket hat and the height of Tgif, there is 90sFest ‒a one-day, one-of-a-kind festival that will kick off on Saturday, September 12, 2015 at 50 Kent in Brooklyn. From 1pm until 10pm attendees will be immersed in the best of music, fashion, entertainment, food and beverages of the 90s hosted by Pauly Shore. Leuven Media and Prime Social Group in partnership with Founders Entertainment, the team behind Governors Ball, will produce the inaugural 90sFest featuring a musical line-up straight out of MTV (when they actually played »
- Pietro Filipponi
With Burying the Ex (opening theatrically and on VOD June 19), one of the greatest directors of the past forty years returns to the style that made him famous while also striking out in immensely entertaining new directions. Joe Dante’s first film, the Roger Corman-financed Hollywood Boulevard (co-directed with Allan Arkush), established him as a singular satirical voice; like many of the films that would follow (The Howling, Gremlins and Gremlins 2, Matinee, etc.), it was both a celebration of and a sly commentary on American pop culture, with a delirious wit and energy masking an underlying seriousness. Over the […] »
- Jim Hemphill
It is an American pop culture tradition that dates back to the 1950s – the TV horror movie host. Producer/actor, Bo Keister, is taking it to the digital age with Hillbilly Horror Show, a new twist on the old concept. Plus we circle back to AMC’s Halt And Catch Fire to talk to Kerry Bische (Donna) about where the new season finds her character.
- Mike Raub
I confess that my first reaction to this news was caught on film and you can now see it in photo form attached to this story. Here's the thing: I am on record as saying that I consider Dwayne Johnson a bit of a natural resource. I don't think the movies he makes are always worthy of his charisma and his genuine talent, but i think he's more than proven himself capable. I am hopeful when he announces a project that it'll be something that is as good as he is. I am also on record as saying that it's exhausting to get worked up about every single remake or sequel or reboot or whatever at this point. The industry has so clearly embraced that as an omnipresent business plan that it is wasted energy. It takes a lot to shake that loose from me now, but maybe this one »
- Drew McWeeny
Archie Comics are a hardy perennial in the states, the stories of the titular teen heartthrob constantly balancing the affections of his two prospective suitors – Betty and Veronica – whilst his idiot friend Jughead sat in the background wearing…whatever that hat’s supposed to be, offering a comfortable, familiar feeling of a world that hasn’t changed for 75 years. Now, Archie Comics are planning to change that with a complete reboot funded by a new Kickstarter campaign.
Whilst the Archie titles don’t have the same popularity in the UK – outside of the odd reference in an episode of Friends, for example – they really are woven into the fabric of American pop culture, the town of Riverdale looking much the same today as it did when it started being published. Which makes the recent changes at the company even more radical. A world still stuck in the fifties had appropriately conservative values, »
- Tom Baker
It was standing room only at the Thursday afternoon Bentonville Film Festival screening of HBO’s “Remembering the Artist: Robert De Niro, Sr.,” Robert De Niro’s documentary homage to his late father, a gifted painter whose abstract expressionist style was marginalized by the rise of American pop art in the 1960’s.
Perri Peltz, journalist and co-director of the film (along with Geeta Gandbhir), moderated the post-screening Q & A with De Niro, which was held at Bentonville’s Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, one of the inaugural Arkansas fest’s most popular event venues. Also on the panel was art advisor Megan Fox Kelly, who, for the past seven years, has been a fiery champion of De Niro, Sr.’s work.
“It’s kind of something I owed him,” said De Niro of the documentary, which functions as a cinematic love letter to his father, who died of prostate »
- Malina Saval
'Munich' movie cover 'Munich' movie review: Steven Spielberg tackles political time-space continuum in wildly uneven but ultimately satisfying thriller Alternately intriguing and irritating, thought-provoking and banal, subtle and patronizing, the biggest surprise about Steven Spielberg's Munich is that it – however grudgingly – works. The film, which Spielberg himself has referred to as a "prayer for peace," follows five men contracted by the Israeli government to avenge the massacre of that country's athletes at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. Sizable chunks of this political thriller with a Message (capital "M") are simplistically written, clumsily acted, and handled with the director's notoriously heavy touch, but the old adage – blood begets blood – even if somewhat muddled, is too timely not to make an impact. Complex 'Munich' movie plot Based on George Jonas' 1984 book Vengeance: The True Story of an Israeli Counter-Terrorist Team, whose veracity has been questioned in some quarters, Munich begins as »
- Andre Soares
Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night Arash stands apart from the downtrodden populace of Bad City with his blue jeans, white tee-shirt and classic American car, but it’s his ambition for something more than this dead-end town can offer that keeps him moving. His dreams take a hit thanks to his junkie father and a local thug, but something dark and wondrous is just around the corner. Drifting through the night is a young woman (Sheila Vand) whose casual dress is complemented by a jet black chador, and while she’s a girl of very few words she’s not shy about making her intentions known. Sometimes it’s feasting on the blood of the town heavy, other times it’s dancing alone to American pop music, but »
- Rob Hunter
We've already run down our 20 Most Anticipated Films Of The 2015 Tribeca Film Festival, and the festival will be kicking off with a documentary about one of the longest running shows in television history and a fixture of American pop culture since —"Saturday Night Live." "Live From New York!" finds director Bao Nguyen trying to condense forty years of the show's history into one compact film, and he admits the task was daunting. "It was an amazing experience watching 40 years of 'SNL' and reliving old memories I had of the show growing up. At the same time, it was sort of a mixed blessing, because we had quite a challenge choosing which parts of 40 years to include in a 90-minute film," Nguyen told the fest. "In the end, our approach was to find clips that really spoke about what was going on at the time and had a strong impact culturally and in some cases, »
- Kevin Jagernauth
Author and scholar Reza Aslan, who just signed on to host a new series for CNN, says that average Iranians see the prospect of an agreement between the U.S. and Iran over that country’s nuclear program as an important step toward lifting sanctions and opening up their society.
“For most Iranians it is not just about getting past this standoff, it’s about opening up the country,” Aslan tells Variety‘s “PopPolitics” on SiriusXM. “It’s about giving them an opportunity to take part in the global marketplace of ideas. This is a population that all it really needs is for the door to be creaked open just a little bit and it can kick the door down. But it can’t do it on its own.”
In fact, Aslan notes that the Iranian population actually craves American pop culture, accessing it via the Internet or via rooftop satellite dishes. »
- Ted Johnson
A harrowing yet also inspiring portrait of the American pop music icon as he copes with the rapid deterioration of Alzheimer’s. I’m “biast” (pro): grew up listening to Campbell’s music
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
If you’re under 40, you’re too young to remember that it was Glen Campbell who made country music cool in the 1970s with melodic and melancholy pop-infused tunes such as “Rhinestone Cowboy” and “Southern Nights.” Previously, in the 60s, he’d been a session musician who can be heard — although he wasn’t always credited — on some of the biggest and best known songs ever from artists including Bobby Darin, The Monkees, Nat King Cole, Phil Spector, and Elvis Presley. He was even a touring member of the Beach Boys in the mid 60s. His impact on American pop music is probably incalculable. »
- MaryAnn Johanson
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