One of the telling lines of “The Queen” is when show runner Flawless Sabrina explains that the biggest task of organizing the Miss All American Camp Beauty Pageant is finding a hotel that can house all the contestants, and finding a hotel that’s “hip” enough to want to house them. In 1968, being out and yourself was about being as discreet as possible and operating behind closed doors. While “The Queen” is basically a documentary about the cut throat world of Drag pageants, as well as a sobering portrayal of how the LGBTQ community had to function behind closed doors for much of the twentieth century.
In this documentary, filmmaker Jerry Williams investigates the life and events that have made Dirtwoman famous and infamous in the Richmond area from birth until death, including her very own pinup calendar release, her collaboration with GWAR, and the yearly Hamaganza spectacular to name but a few.
The original documentary “Fighting With My Family” was the stuff that underdog tales were made of, so when it was turned in to a feature film, it wasn’t too surprising. Stephen Merchant has a knack for creating very funny, human tales, and this adaptation does a good job of taking from the documentary and creating a very good adaptation of the story of Saraya, a young wrestling fanatic who would become Paige, one of the most influential female wrestlers and Superstars for the WWE.
Rachel Lears’ political documentary “Knock Down the House” might appear to be a documentary exploring the campaigns of a group of women that sought to win positions in the House in Washington, but deep down it’s about hope. For too long, America has been convinced that frankly only established politicians and those within inner circles can claim positions of power. “Knock Down the House” shows how four women rose from obscurity to shake up the government, and how Alexandria Ocasio Cortez rightfully won her position as congresswoman.
Nostalgia entertainment is about as popular as ever and modern streaming services and networks are banking on the fascinating topics that can be mined from the mementos of pop culture. One of the most entertaining documentary series to be brought to the popular Netflix service has been by Brian Volk-Weiss’s “The Toys That Made Us.” While most studios would cut corners by merely making a series that relies on “Remember this?” and “Remember when…?” what “The Toys That Made Us” instead does is examine the importance and relevance of iconic toy lines from the eighties and nineties.
“Never-Ending Man” is a meaningful documentary that explores the thoughts and ideas of Hayao Miyazaki that we can’t really find anywhere else. While some may go in to this expecting a more biographical and fluffy film about the man and his life, Kaku Arakawa seeks to give us more of a thoughtful and subtler peek in to the man, who is late in to his career and his life.
A modern day telling of music composer Carlo Gesualdo’s life, from falling in love, finding a muse to betrayal of the utmost, Dolorosa Gioia is a fictional take on a biography that plays with music as a language, emotions as a means of expression, and images as art.
As someone who grew up with a family that adored wrestling, I had a very good time learning about Paige and the down to Earth working classic family she grew up in. “Fighting With My Family” is the adaptation of the documentary that tells the tale of Paige and how she grew up working with her parents, both of whom built their own home grown wrestling federation. Paige, the most popular of her brood, eventually rose to become a WWE star, allowing for a great tale of the working class rising to fame. With some liberties taken Stephen Merchant’s “Fighting With My Family” is almost as good that also works as a tribute to the power of family.