Archive for May 29, 2020

Mike’s Top Documentaries of the Decade (70-61)

When I first got into film, I somehow decided I was adamantly against documentaries as a medium. Part of it’s an attention span thing — most of the time when I watch a documentary, I get what it’s trying to say within fifteen minutes and the rest of the time it just feels like I’m being beat over the head with the same themes over and over again. I also, for a time, felt like every documentary was the same. They were either about how badly the government and corporations were screwing us and how awful certain issues are, or they were looking back at the Holocaust for the millionth time. So, for a time, I avoided all documentaries unless I had to or if they seemed really interesting.

Though, over the decade, there’s definitely been a real uptick in how many documentaries I see. To the point where I now rank my favorite 15 documentaries at the end of each year. I still, of course, have a preference for certain subject matters over others and do tend to not care about docs others might deem important and essential, but I’m definitely not as dismissive as I used to be about them. So as I rank my favorite 100 documentaries of the decade, the message I’d like to impart is this — people grow. The fact that I’m even doing this list when, a decade ago I’d have scoffed at the notion of it — you don’t have to love everything in order to appreciate everything.

So here are my favorite documentaries of the past decade: (more…)

Mike’s Favorite Original Songs of the Decade: #95 – “Tuff Love (Barb Wire),” from Patti Cake$


95. “Tuff Love (Barb Wire),” from Patti Cake$

So this song, for those who haven’t seen Patti Cake$ (which, based on what I’m gauging just by talking to people these past few years, is most of you), is one of the more important songs in the entire film. It’s not a rap, unlike almost all the others, because it’s not sung by Patti, but by her mother. The film is partially a mother-daughter story, and this song represents her mother, portrayed brilliantly by Bridget Everett. She was a minor singer in the 80s who released one album under the name Barb Wire. And then she had a kid and is now this single mother who bartends at a cop bar, gets drunk and sings karaoke, sort of reliving her past glory that way. Which, of course, her daughter can’t stand, because her daughter wants to actually make it. And this song, which she puts on at one point, represents all of that, and also factors into another song at the end of the film, which we’ll eventually get to on here. But also, in terms of just the song, isn’t it just a great 80s-style rock song? You can definitely hear someone like a Pat Benatar or someone like that performing something like this, which is what makes it feel so perfect for the film. It feels like it could be real.


Pic of the Day: “There once was a dream that was Rome.” (20th Anniversary)