Since then I've seen a couple more documentaries that I highly recommend:
Exit Through the Gift Shop made my list because it's about graffiti which I love, and Banksy who fascinates me. Actually the movie isn't really about graffiti but about this average French guy who literally stumbles into the world of street art and ends up becoming an artist himself even though he has no discernible talent whatsoever. All he had was the endorsement of a couple of well known artists and that's all it took for people to get sucked in. The guy has made a fortune by selling other people's art that his staff (not even he himself) has Photoshopped.
This film, like Catfish, was suspected of being a mockumentary but I think this one is for real. It's really incredible to watch the phenomenon unfold around this hilariously clueless main character. You gotta see it.
Koran by Heart wasn't what I thought it would be, but I'm not really sure what I thought it would be. It's about these Muslim children who go to Cairo to compete in a Koran reciting contest. The Koran is 600 pages long and is being memorized, in its entirety, by children as young as 7 years old. Children who don't even speak Arabic. Children who can't even read and write in their own language.
I think I expected to feel sorry for the kids, and I did to some degree. I thought maybe some of them were being pushed to enter the contest and really didn't want to be there. I thought the judges would be harsh on them when they made mistakes. I thought they would be a disappointment to their families if they lost. I thought all kinds of wrong stuff as Americans often do when it comes to other cultures and religions that we're not familiar with.
The kids worked hard to memorize the verses and they not only had to memorize them but also pronounce them correctly which is something that's not easily learned. Some of those who didn't win were looking forward to trying harder so they could do better next year. The judges were compassionate and understanding and gave the kids every opportunity to do their best. They were sympathetic toward one little boy who made so many mistakes during his recitation that he cried through the whole thing. The judges were moved, as was I, at another boy who recited with such heart and emotion that you could tell the kid was worshiping, not just reciting.
I did feel bad that some of the kids had been learning nothing but the Koran pretty much since birth so they lacked even basic reading and writing skills in their own language. I was surprised that they allowed girls to participate and the one the show focused on was just precious. Her situation was a little sad to me because both of her parents wanted her to be educated but her mother wanted her to have a career as well. Her father wanted her to have a college degree but made it clear that she was not allowed to work, she had to be a housewife.
This is a good one, I'd watch it again.
Between the Folds was because the Netflix description called it "riveting". That just cracked me up. I couldn't imagine origami being riveting so I had to see for myself just how riveting folding paper can be.
Omigod, it was riveting! I've seen some pretty cool origami and really thought there was no way they would be able to impress me. Boy was I wrong! Check out this short video by Chris K. Palmer, one of the featured artists:
Flower Tower 8-Fold (Uncut Silk Square) from Chris K. Palmer on Vimeo.
I also never realized the link between origami and math. There is a professor at MIT, who is also somewhat of a genius, who does mathematical origami. Pretty much everything he said was over my head but it was interesting anyway.
I don't even think you'd have to be an origami fan to like this movie.
Taylor is a Grey's Anatomy fan and just recently finished watching all 148 episodes in the Netflix catalog. I didn't watch all of them with her but I saw enough of them to get sucked into the story. When that was over I wanted to watch another series of some sort and The Tudors kept coming up as a recommended choice for me.
When I watched the first episode I noticed it was a Showtime series which explains why I hadn't heard of it. We only have basic cable and haven't had any of the movie channels for about 10 years.
Now I remember why we don't have those movie channels. O. MY. GOSH. It's all sex all the time. I'm talking graphic, disturbingly realistic sex scenes. And a lot of them. I realize the show is a fictional account of historical events but if it's to be believed everyone in 16th century England was doin' the deed all the time with whoever was available.
So did I instantly look away and immediately stop watching such an offensive program? Um, well, not exactly. I really could do without all the panting and moaning sex scenes as well as the nudity for no apparent reason. But I love all the costumes and some of the character portrayals are really not bad. Sam Neill played such a good Wolsey that I wanted to kill him myself. And the actress who plays Anne Boleyn is doing so well that I can hardly wait for her to lose her head. I have no idea if Catherine of Aragon was really as classy and gracious as the show portrays but that actress has done a fine job too.
And between those times when the king is busy exercising his conjugal rights with whichever servant is handy, I am managing to learn a little history which I later Google to make sure it's accurate. For instance, I'd never heard of Cardinal Wolsey before and now I know about him. I didn't realize that Catherine of Aragon was the daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain who funded Columbus's trip to the New World. I also didn't know that Henry VIII played such a huge part in the reformation of the church. I didn't know why Anne Boleyn got her head cut off but now I do. She didn't give the king the one thing he wanted: a son. Plus she was a manipulative little thing, she had it coming.
This is not really a show that I would recommend unless you can overlook the gratuitous sex...or you're into that sort of thing. I can overlook it since I watch it on my computer where it's easy to skip those scenes that make me blush. Of course now I'm all hooked on the story so I couldn't look away if I wanted to. Anne just had her first miscarriage and I know she gets beheaded after a couple more but I thought Henry was supposed to have already met Jane Seymour at this point but she hasn't been mentioned yet. I'm compelled to keep watching just to check it for historical accuracy. No other reason. Really.