Wandering Eye: On the subjectivity of documentaries, the dark final days of Ernie Banks, and more

Over at Film Comment's blog, "Make It Real: The Director Stays in the Picture" by Eric Hynes explores a number of recent documentaries that heavily rely on the strong voice and, often, the appearance of the filmmaker in front of the camera. The most anticipated of the three is Michael Moore's latest, "Where To Invade Next," though Hynes also focuses on Alan Zweig's "Hurt," Ida Haar's "Thru Your Princess," and a few others. It's a nuanced piece that explores the limits to this approach, even calling Moore's presence in his film "shtick," but it doesn't bemoan the lack of objectivity in current documentary filmmaking or anything like that. Instead, it sees each of these movies as affronts to the myth of objectivity, really, because documentary filmmaking is, arguably more than other journalistic art forms, inherently subjective. "To peg these films as personal/autobiographical/megalomaniacal does little to express what's actually, formally at play, and what's achieved by breaking the filmic fourth wall," Hynes writes. "After all, it's a wall already of paper-thin construction, effectively breached whenever the camera moves or a cut is made." (Brandon Soderberg) 

 

Baseball fans remember Ernie Banks for his optimism, even though he spent his entire career on the woeful Chicago Cubs. They remember his saying, "It's a beautiful day, let's play two." After he died in January, the city of Chicago mourned the loss of the immortal ballplayer who was simply known as Mr. Cub. Yet, according to a new in-depth story in Chicago Magazine by Ron Rapoport, the last years of Banks' life were not as happy as Banks' famous smile would have one believe. "Sometimes I'm at a Hall of Fame reunion and I'll look around and see I'm the only one in the room who never played in a World Series," Banks told Rapoport. "I've had nightmares about it. Once I even talked to a psychiatrist. There wasn't much he could say, just that I'd done the best I could and it wasn't meant to be." But it's more than regrets from his playing days—there are stories of Banks, a legend, becoming incredibly lonely, pushing away members of his family and confidants. It is a sad portrait. (Brandon Weigel)

 

We already told you about Martin Shkreli, the weasel pharmecutical bro who bought the rights to an old drug used to cure AIDS and jacking up the price. Now watch Next Animation TV, a Taiwanese spoof news site, computer-animate Shkreli as a little brat who gets punched around and eviscerated by the Incredible Hulk. Their conclusion: "Maybe he should design a drug to make people actually like him." (Brandon Weigel)

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