Picture Perfect

This documentary is by far my favorite of all time. It is about Jodi Arias, a woman who made international headlines for killing her boyfriend in the most brutal way possible. He had 27 stab wounds and on top of that a bullet pierced right through him. The sad part is that he was killed right in his home, in the shower.  At first Jodi said that Travis was attacked by intruders , then she claimed she was attacked by Travis, and was in an abusive relationship and acted in self defense. Later on, we come to see text messages of where she was stalking Travis and was spiteful because he didn’t think she was marriage material but just a fling. He was a pastor and she was an artist, she also loved photography. Which is quite ironic. Because while she killed him she so happened to capture it all on camera. Bloody explicit images- she couldn’t have him; no one could’ve. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjQvQogRIdg

My two favorite films that we’ve watched in class would have to be Stories We Tell by Sarah Polley and Tongues Untied by Marlon Riggs. I think both of these stories were amazing because it really had the same message when it came to discovering your self identity. I think that both film makers were obsessed with the idea of finally feeling free after being worrisome about others opinion of their lifestyles. I do believe that Polley hindered her story and altered it for the sake of her mothers name. Where as Riggs didn’t care which light his audience saw him in. Both films were poetic, a seek for a sense of realism, harsh truth and acceptance. Polley’s family and acquaintances spoke about Diane’s life, but it to me it was bigger than that. It was about Sarah discovering how one little secret altered her entire life. Even though Riggs is more clear on how he feels on being gay and being bullied along with his brothers for his preference, Polley also went on a hunt to see where she came from. Both of these films influenced a message to be true to yourself, accept the facts and move on, don’t let society dictate your happiness. Happiness lies within.

This Is How I Roll

This film by Kat Vecchio was very interesting. She took a sport that I would’ve never looked in to and revealed how competitive and rewarding it was. It started out as a female dominant sport and the ultimate goal was to involve men in an equal opportunity environment. Instead of genders being divided, they had to work together as a team and as equals. I found this film very empowering on behalf of the female perspective since we are now in a patriarchal time era. Most team mates were very supportive where as others felt as if they’re “purpose” was being stripped. There were many arrogant members as well for example when one of the girls said, “There’s no balls in Derby.” Obviously some women felt as if they’re hard work and attention was being diverted by the dominant men that was joining the sport. I love how Kat Vecchio wasn’t biased. She didn’t intervene in the films much and she let the woman freely express themselves as well as the men. I think her goal was to show a sport that has the potential to be international with team work from everyone, all you need was a passion for Derby.

Finals Week Meeting – Tuesday @ 2:30pm

Looking forward to seeing you all for our very last meeting on Tuesday! As a reminder – we’ll meet in our normal classroom on Tuesday December 19th at 2:30-4:30pm. Please note the meeting time which is earlier than our normal meeting time. Earlier in the semester, I incorrectly wrote 4:30 on the board for our finals meeting time. If you look at your schedule on CUNYFirst, you’ll see the correct time – 2:30.

We’ll have pizza, watch the short docs that some of you will have made, and have a general fun time. 🙂 Feel free to email me your film in advance (whether via a you tube link or attached to an email).

Please also be sure to upload your final paper (research paper or analytical essay about your film) to Blackboard before class. You can also bring / upload any late work for partial credit.

best childhood ever

Is anyone bothered by the fact that today kids at the age of nine and on are already with a smartphone? Why do parents buy them these electronics, do they have an idea how much a kid can know and look up, I don’t think they do. At that age we did had a smartphone too in other words, the house phone, to me this was smartphone due to the fact that if you were talking on the phone and a family member picked up the other line just to be noisy trust me that phone would make the pick sign before it got to the person’s ear and the speaker was covered. Mind you at our age and apple and blackberry were just simply delicious fruit. The only phones I knew were Nokia and the famous Motorola and beeper. But our childhood was the best, playing hide and seek, tag, card games and so much more. I wish I can go back in time but that will never be possible.

Stereotyping is laced into pop culture

We just watched episode 1 today in class and I am left with mixed feelings about it. It is highly entertaining and suspenseful and it really makes me want to keep watching. If not just for the football content, who doesn’t love an underdog story? What leaves me feeling odd about it though is all the stereotypes that seem to be promoted. They put subtitles on the players who had thick accents, which doesn’t seem malicious, but that wasn’t necessary. The documentarians also didn’t miss a single prayer that was said by the team, I’m sure. Even the spectators of the game they made seem really really southern and foreign to the rest of Americans. I understand that’s all true, but when the only video you see of citizens of that small town is some men cooking burgers next to their pickup truck and saying a prayer with a beer in their hands, it doesn’t project the best of images. The thing that stuck out to me the most was when “Ollie” told the camera that the world thinks everyone from Mississippi is stupid and fat, and then they show him saying he’s hungry and a little later on talk about how bad he’s doing in school. I know it’s all honest, but the heavy use of things like that never help any cause.

You won’t forget the faces or the places

I saw Faces, Places a few weeks ago in the quad theater in the village. This movie really captured me. Agnès Varda, the director of the film (she directed The Gleaners and I as well!), really captures herself and her life philosophy so well in her films. This one is no exception. She celebrates life, and youth, people, and stories while touring France with the photographer JR. This movie highlighted the lives and stories of some of the more common people in France and, in the process, took their seemingly mundane stories and made the audience believe they are noteworthy. These small stories are noteworthy, and all life is. Memories of her past come to life before her eyes with massive prints of some photos Agnes took in her youth. JR, the photographer, makes all this magic happen and lets Agnes’ mind run wild with artistic vision. This movie, at it’s most basic level, is a true celebration of human life in all shapes and forms. It is inspiring, mentally heavy, and really a true work of art. I don’t want to ruin too much of it because I think everybody should go see this movie, especially with the deeper appreciation of documentaries that we all have after taking this class.


I watch a lot of nature documentaries, but space is my jam. I don’t know what it is about that endless, mindbendingly expansive void that surrounds us that fascinates me. But it does. Anyways, I watched Cosmos with Neil Degrasse Tyson, who’s basically the James Brown of the science world. It went over the various wonders of our universe. Most of the stuff I knew already but I’m sure there’s stuff in there I don’t. I didn’t watch the whole series but I might come back to it one day. If you like space, or just the Neil man, then it’s for you.

Just a lil thing I liked about “A Ride Home”

I liked how we don’t learn what Sterling (the former convict who was gettingthe ride) did to get his sentence. We don’t need to know. He’s starting his life over from scratch. It’s behind him and he’s trying to get his life together. A common thing that ex-cons face is people throwing what they did in their face over and over again. So that was just a lil’ something I appreciated.

Class Divide

This movie follows the super gentrification of west Chelsea in Manhattan. It’s actually kind of crazy, it focuses on one intersection in particular. On one ide of the street you have Avenues, a private K-12 school that opened up in 2012 that has an annual tuition upwards of 40,000$. On the other side of the street is a projects housing complex that’s home to 2,500 people, most of which are working poor. The documentary follows families from both sides of the streets. Students who go to avenues, and kids who live at Elliot houses (the projects). It was kind of refreshing when students from Avenues recognize that they’re more privileged and have far more opportunities than those across the street. None of that “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” rhetoric. The movie also goes around taking the viewpoint of gentrification to several different people. Those who profitted from it and those affected by it. It also does a take on New York city and how it’s driving the working poor out. I, personally, am disgusted by the total disregard developers can have to the people of this city, but what’re yo gonna do? It’s an hour and 10 minutes I think. I saw it on HBO but the whole thing’s on youtube so there’s that.

3 and 1/2 minutes, 10 bullets

I saw this expository documentary on HBO, it followed the murder of 17yr old Jordan Davis. On Black Friday 2012, down in Florida, he and middle-aged Micheal Dunn had argued over the volume of music that Jordan was playing from his car. Micheal, using the classic excuse “feared for his life” shot ten bullets into the car of the three unarmed teeangers, most of which hit Jordan Davis. Filmmaker Marc Silver followed Jordan’s friends who were in the car with him and his parents. Interviewing them about Jordan, just letting the viewers know what he was like. I think he also interviewed Micheal Dunn’s girlfriend but it might have been fottage from something else. The documentary also went over the first trial, of which he was aquitted. The film followed the mother and father as they sued again, and garnered awareness. One scene that tugs the heart strings is when the father told a story about how Trevaun Martin’s dadd called him and said “Welcome to the club no one wants to be in.” This doc is 85 minutes long and I highly reccommend it. free if you got HBO.