Friday, July 8, 2011

Fast Five Friday: Munk Style

I am pleased to introduce today's guest blogger, Munk Davis. I can't remember when I first came across Munk's blog, but I knew right away he was an original, a blogging maverick if you will. If you aren't following Munk already, check him out and become a follower today. Without further ado, here's the man himself.

Hi y’all,

My name is Munk and I am guest posting for Tim this week. Buckle up; you may be in for a bumpy ride.

I often find documentaries more entertaining than feature films. They make me uncomfortable, they inspire me, and they make me think. Rather than listing just five, I’m breaking the rules and shot-gunning as many favorites as I can think of. If you are not a regular doc-watcher and don’t know where to start, have no fear, I will **star** a few that I think exemplify the art.

**Surfwise (2007): The story of the surfing Paskowitzs’ and their alternative lifestyle deserves every inch of its R-rating and all of your attention. I once described it as 45-minutes of “Why can’t I just quit my job and live like that?” and 45-minutes of “holy-s—t, that’s why.”

**The Times of Harvey Milk (1984): The story of Harvey Milk told through interviews and images of the day. I found it more affecting than “Milk”. I first saw this film in 1985 and the river of candles, near the end of the film, still chokes me up today.

**Tyson (2008): Love him or hate him, this bio-doc will help you understand him. A truly sensational work of editing proves the man’s dominance in the ring, both psychologically and physically.

**The Fog of War (2005): A riveting view through the unblinking eyes of Robert McNamara. He is aging; he is brilliant, at times he is detached and scary, as one of the “Harvard whiz-kids” he was hired by Kennedy as the U.S. Secretary of Defense. He was good at his job.

**Exit through the Gift Shop (2010): Take a spin through the world of guerrilla street art and hypocrisy. One hour of, “hey that’s cool,” and 30-minutes of, “You have got to be f’ing kidding me!” Banksy’s comments are brilliant.

*My Architect (2003): A brilliant expose on Louis Kahn and his architecture. You will come away enlightened.

Visual Acoustics: the Modernism of Julian Shulman (2008): If you enjoy the modern architecture movement of the late 50’s and 60’s you must love Julian Shulman.

*Dust to Glory (2005) and Step into Liquid (2003): Two very fun, high-action documentaries that even the kids might like (but you’ll want to check the language ratings). Dana Brown wrote and directed both (Dana is the son of Bruce Brown, the documentarian famous for On any Sunday and The Endless Summer… ). These are sports movies for the casual fan.

It Might Get Loud (2008): What happens when you put Jimmy Page, Jack White, and The Edge in a London warehouse with amplifiers and axes? It might get loud… a pure joy to watch.

Food Inc. (2008): Michael Pollan in your living room.

King Corn (2007): Inspiration for my book.

Clear Cut: The Story of Philomath, Oregon (2006): A story about my little town, the logging industry, talking to God, and the cost of higher education (this one might be tough for you to find, but worth it).

Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage (2010): Three nerdy Canucks, a whole lot of music, and one great movie.

Man on Wire (2008): Phillippe Petit strings tight ropes between really high things and then walks across them. This movie made the backs of my knees tingle. Come down from there you idiot, before somebody gets hurt.

*The Kid Stays in the Picture (2002): The story of Paramount’s legendary producer Robert Evans. This very engaging bio-doc was one of the first to manipulate still pictures to create visual depth.

*No Direction Home: Bob Dylan (2005): Just when you thought you couldn't like Bob Dylan more.

Honorable mentions: Spellbound, Mad Hot Ballroom, Word Wars, The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, Super Size Me, Little Dieter needs to Fly, Jesus Camp, The Civil War, and Baseball.

Do you have any favorites?


  1. Wow, you do like documentaries!!

    The only one of these that I've seen is Super Size Me, which I liked. It Might Get Loud and Exit Through The Gift Shop are on my TBW list.

    The most recent documentary I watched was Sex In A Cold Climate. Really heartbreaking story of "fallen" women forced to work in laundry houses by the church in Ireland.

    Thanks for the recommends.

  2. Great list and excellent guest post, Munk. Boy, I've got some catching up to do. I'm particularly interested in It Might Get Loud--wouldn't want to miss a film with Jimmy Page in it. Loved the Dylan documentary. :-)
    Thanks to Tim, too!

  3. nice list - I need to visit Munk more often.

  4. @LG--yes, we love docs in the same way I love compelling nonfiction.
    @J--I was most impressed by (perhaps surprised is a better word) by The Edge's humility. His demeanor does not live up to his moniker... in a good way.
    @DM--C'mon over, we've always got a cold one in the fridge.

    And-- Thanks Tim for hosting my fast list of docs.

  5. I have about half of these on my Netflix queue!

  6. This is a great guest post. How interesting that King Corn was the inspiration for your book. I'm becoming more and more interested in food issues, and want to see that one. I've been avoiding Food, Inc as from what I've heard I think I would find it too troubling.

    I really want to see It Might Get Loud, I had forgotten about that, so I'm glad for this reminder! Great list.

  7. @Libby--excellent, enjoy.
    @Julie--I understand your reticence to watching Food Inc... I somewhat expected it to be a schlockumentary (or shock-you-mentary) myself, but I found it even handed in its approach (which is extremely important to me) and even inspirational when you see what alternatives we have to fast food.
    Also... Re: King Corn, though I watched the film well into the writing of Syntropy... it definitely struck a chord.

  8. Tim... watching "Waiting for Superman" (halfway through). I think you'd like it.

  9. It's definitely on our must-see list. Thoughts after finishing?

  10. It's all about expectations.
    And I have a man-crush on Geoffrey Canada.

  11. Squilla's AuntJuly 14, 2011 at 7:32 PM

    Munk - I saw Waiting for Superman and thought it was fascinating. One thing that documentaries do so well is point out those dirty little secrets that goad people into opinion and sometimes action. In Waiting for Superman, it was the New York rubber room sequence that stuck with me. Almost unbelievable, certainly shocking to those who believe in reason and pragmatism

  12. @SA--I'd heard a longer story about the rubber room (on This American Life I think) and found it appalling. As I have said so many times in the past, but rarely so sarcastically... just think of all the writing I could do.