We’re debuting a new bi-weekly feature today on Pop Bitez! As a special service for all of our readers who also happen to be Netflix Instant Streaming subscribers we thought it might be fun to occasionally offer up some suggestions that might be traveling under your radar, here are our picks for this week!
• The Swell Season
This poignant documentary shadows indie folk artists Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová on a whirlwind tour following their Oscar win for the instant love song classic “Falling Slowly” (from the film Once). I actually had a chance to speak with Hansard about this documentary recently and, interestingly enough, he told me he couldn’t endorse it. He explained that, while his relationship with the filmmakers was pleasant enough, he felt they made the whole thing seem a lot sadder than it really was. Creative editing aside, it’s also quite possible the filmmakers may have caught a moment or two that Glen and Markéta would have preferred they’d missed. I’ll let you be the judge, add this one to your queue today, I’ve got a feeling you’re going to love it, I did!
• Under The Boardwalk: The Monopoly Story
Director Kevin Tostado takes a look at the incredibly fascinating history of the most successful board game of all time with his film Under The Boardwalk: The Monopoly Story. If you missed my interview with the director last year you can check it out here. For pop culture fans like myself, this one is a must! Enjoy!
• The Idolmaker
The Idolmaker marked the directorial debut of Oscar winner Taylor Hackford, (An Officer and a Gentlemen, Against All Odds, Ray) and is one of those small films that never really received the full attention it actually deserved. The story is loosely based on the life of rock promoter Bob Marucci, a charismatic music fan who became a successful record producer in the 1950’s. The impresario’s tenacity pays off when he discovers the Fabian-like singer Caesare. The film features the big screen debuts of both Joe Pantoliano (The Matrix, Risky Business, Memento) and Peter Gallagher (American Beauty, Sex, Lives and Videotape, Mr. Deeds) not to mention the breakout performance from the late, great Ray Sharkey. It was rumored recently that Ryan Gosling is planning to make his directorial debut with a remake of this 80s classic sometime in the near future. If you’ve never seen this one, add it now, if you it saw it, like myself, many years ago, it’s time to revisit this one, I think you’ll be surprised at how well it still holds up.
• Smash His Camera
Someday, when we have more time, (and I’ve had a few drinks), I’ll tell you about the time I met one of the most famous paparazzi’s in history while on vacation with my parents in New England. That chance meeting nearly lead me to a career chasing celebrities with a Nikon, I think we’re all very thankful I didn’t end up choosing that particular path.
While profiling the controversial life and career of pioneering paparazzo Ron Galella, Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Leon Gast raises intriguing questions about the freedom of the press, the right to privacy and our celebrity-obsessed culture. A great risk taker who never backed down, Galella suffered a broken jaw at the hands of Marlon Brando and fought two major lawsuits filed by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
Galella is really the forefather of the modern day paparazzi and this is probably the most definitive documentary you’re ever going to see on the subject. Add it now, thank me later!
• The Rebound
A beautiful single mother living in New York City surprises everyone, including herself, when she becomes romantically involved with her 20-something neighbor who’s many years her junior.
Yes, there is an odd irony with this one, given the film’s star, Catherine Zeta-Jones is married to Michael Douglas who, let’s be honest, is old enough to be HER daddy. What fun the press junket must have been for her when she was out promoting this one.
I honestly had never heard of this little gem before stumbling on it by way of Netflix but I’m certainly glad I did. Romantic comedies are one of the toughest genres there is today and most miss their intended targets by a country mile. This flick restored my faith in both love stories on film and Catherine Zeta-Jones. I can’t recommend it enough, so, as they say, “watch it now!”