A Plea From a Parasite


Over the past few years I have become an increasingly parasitic movie watcher. When I first moved to New York in 2000, I watched sometimes four movies a day: classics, experimental films and docs, on big screens and small, often rejecting any other form of entertainment. My future wife was always wanting to hang out, but I was too busy scurrying away to catch the next movie. I was in grad school and new to a place where you could actually see great films, so it was my duty to see them. All of them.

I thought the condition was terminable. But it turns out you can give up such mania. These days my movie diet consists of must-sees (a new Claire Denis movie, for instance), kids movies with my kids (I cried a lot in Toy Story 3) and documentaries that I watch because a) I love docs and b) because I make docs and I have a competitive and artistic need to see what others are doing.
Sometimes I can relax a bit and enjoy a documentary on its own terms and use my hard-won cultivation of movie language to have a reasonable idea of whether it's a good film or not. But when I'm in the middle of any part of making a movie, all sense of viewership is lost. I watch to help make. It's unfair and limiting, but I don't aspire to be a film critic or a collector of movies (physical or mental). I don't feel bad when I haven't seen something. I don't quote movies. I want to make them, that's all.

So now I'm starting to edit my third feature doc, FAKE IT SO REAL. The film is about a group of indie pro wrestlers who work for no money and little fanfare in Lincolnton, North Carolina. We follow them through a twisting and turning week leading up to a big show. So what do I watch to help me get going?

Here's where I need help. What should I be watching? I don't want to watch just sports docs, necessarily. The aesthetic that I'm going for is a stripped-down, almost-verité kind of thing with strong story elements and some adventurous editing. Here's what I have to watch so far:

BECAUSE WE WERE BORN
THE MAN WHO SKIED DOWN EVEREST
STRONGMAN
MAMACHAS DEL RING
FAMILIA
DYING AT GRACE
BROKEN NOSES (haven't seen it since college)
LA LUTTE (a favorite)
PARADISE ALLEY (not a doc, but a must)
SLEEP FURIOUSLY
SOLDIERS OF MUSIC

Any suggestions would be much appreciated. I've seen a lot already, but don't worry about that. Tweet them at me at twitter.com/prewarcinema or tell me on Facebook or just over email: robert@4throwfilms.com.

Thanks for your help.