I couldn't resist.
Anyway, I read Adrienne's post this morning and I completely agree with her assessment that the story works best as a 'This American Life' segment. But unfortunately Ira Glass wasn't around to save this documentary.
I also agree with John, Jeff, and Adrienne about its technical failings and it representing "everything there is to hate about documentaries." I vacillate when it comes to amateur film making, but mostly I view it negatively. Sure, no one should be banned from telling a story or making a film. Having said that, everyone has a story to tell, but that shouldn't make us all filmmakers. A reality TV show can be found on every channel; millions of people make youtube videos hoping to hit it big. Lost in the shuffle of all of this is...talent. And in writing all of that, I'm referring to those who are trying to further a career or become famous. Because, on the other hand, you have something like John's carrot juice video that he shot with his iphone. It was very fun to watch, and I hope he does more. And I found it to be more compelling than Brother Born Again.
Agreed, one of the thoughts I had after the film ended was, "the story seems too personal to be a documentary." Julia's goal in all of this is to understand her brother. So that's something that she's looking to get out of this by reaching out and interacting with him. But what is the audience supposed to get out of it? I agree, Ben, most of us can relate to the situation, but that doesn't always translate when a film is trying to get us to truly care. I'm all for Julia reconnecting with her brother, but why am I being brought into that relationship?
The discussions that Julia has with her brother had potential, but mostly they didn't seem to find any sort of direction. There's a point when Mark tells his sister that she's getting away from what her documentary is about. I feel that criticism can be leveled at the entire film. In the end you have an old lady telling her nephew that what he believes is a lot of crap, but there's still that, "I love you anyway" moment. I just seems like everyone's "misunderstanding" of Mark is overblown. Yes, they were raised Jewish, but no Jewish member of his family seems to take issue with Christianity. Julia has one of the strongest cases because she's bi-sexual and her brother admits that he doesn't accept that part of her. And yet, Julia only spends about two minutes on that issue. And in saying that, I don't mean to suggest the film should be longer. At the end of the day, it's one of those "I'm not changing my mind, you're not changing yours, but we still love each other." That's great for them and all, but again, "so what?" for the rest of us.
Side-rant: Why does the Bible contain the Old Testament? In it, the Jewish people are referred to as the "chosen" people. Awhaa???
But it was an interesting pick, Jason, and I'm glad we're doing this so we can all interact with each other again. The record-setting amount of posting that we were all doing at the beginning of the month has fizzled out, so I'm glad that we're all starting to get back into the swing of things.
I really wish I had seen Vampyre so that I could jump into the debate that's going down between Jeff and John. I never miss an opportunity to expose John as the evil racist he is. Don't let his new, happier blog layout fool you, gang. See, I miss you guys. It's fun to blog with y'all.
Brandon, yeah, I don't really have anything to say with regard to your 60s project, but I will say that I can't wait to read those posts.