You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘documentary’ tag.

Over the past few days, I’ve sifted through multiple year-in-review lists, watched scores of trailers, and prowled Rotten Tomatoes for ratings.  Somewhere between The Dark Knight and Iron Man, the following 8 films may have escaped your viewing in 2008 but are now at the top of my to-do list.

These films aren’t necessarily Academy Award nominees or critics’ picks, though many of them are.  They were chosen for having an interesting premise and a fresh approach to their subject.

I’ve taken the liberty of compiling everything — movie posters, cast lists, ratings, synopses, trailers, and critics’ reviews — into one handy package for you.

So if you’re at the movie theater looking forlornly from The Day the Earth Stood Still to The Spirit, here are 8 alternatives for your consideration:

American Teen

Because it’s billed as a real-life ‘Breakfast Club’.

Directed by: Nanette Burstein

American Teen Rotten Tomatoes Rating

Documentary following the lives of four teenagers–a jock, the popular girl, the artsy girl and the geek–in one small town in Indiana through their senior year of high school. We see the insecurities, the cliques, the jealousies, the first loves and heartbreaks, and the struggle to make profound decisions about the future. Filming daily for ten months, filmmaker Nanette Burstein developed a deep understanding… See Full Description

Excerpts from critical reviews, courtesy of ChunkIt!’s My Chunks beta feature:’s James Rocchi’s Sundance 2008 review defends American Teen against concerns of overproduction and glossiness, and calls it “an engaging, stylish, and surprisingly smart piece of non-fiction entertainment”.

Next: Be Kind Rewind


Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

I’m in a club on campus called Students for Responsible Business, which is hosting a labor relations panel on campus on Wednesday.  The panel will include a mini case competition and speakers from the Haas School of Business and HP.  The speakers will be discussing the challenges of maintaining a balance between lowering operational costs by hiring workers overseas, and being sure to pay those workers fair wages.

I’m not always a rabid fan of the events we hold, but I think this one is going to be pretty interesting.

My marketing committee has been hard at work to promote the event through different mediums on campus.  Here are the flyers that Anna-Claire and I created to post on campus.  We tried to make them visually arresting and representative of major issues in labor relations today:

SRB’s main focus is Corporate Social Responsibility, a new trend in the business world to describe the belief that corporations have a responsibility not only to their shareholders and the financial bottom line, but also to the myriad of parties they impact, such as the environment, their workers, and the communities in which they are based.  I personally believe that it is possible to be socially responsible without sacrificing profits.  Consumers are more and more conscious of how their dollar votes, and find it increasingly important to patronize businesses with socially responsible practices.

Last spring, one of our professional events was a screening of The Corporation, a 2003 documentary that explored CSR.  Here’s a clip from that documentary describing the gaping disparity between how much companies charge for garments and how much they pay their workers:

If you go to Cal or if you’ll be in the Berkeley area on Wednesday evening, I highly recommend attending our “Don’t Sweat It” labor relations panel.  It’s on Wednesday, 9/24/08, 7-9 pm, in 219 Dwinelle.

What’s your take on labor relations?  Who’s responsible: The government?  The consumer?  The corporation?

I’m a sucker for hilarious documentaries of crappy middle America.  Spellbound, a film that follows the lives of six young competitors as they prepare for the 1999 Scripps National Spelling Bee, comes to mind as one of my favorites.  It was excellently done, showcasing humor in the inane (a misspelled “CONGRADULATIONS” sign honoring one contestant at the local Hooters, another contestant’s mother knowledgeably confiding, “I think Ted’s got the advantage of parents who think he’s great irregardless.”)

A modern-day Breakfast Club?

"A modern-day Breakfast Club"

American Teen, a documentary film by Nanette Burstein set in Warsaw, Indiana, promises to combine the tongue-in-cheek humor of Spellbound with the high school angst of The Breakfast Club.  It’s been lauded by critics so far, winning the Directing Award for documentaries at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.  The film’s tagline is, “The Jock.  The Geek.  The Rebel.  The Princess.  The Heartthrob.  Who Were You?”

I’m especially intrigued by the romance between Hannah (the rebel) and Mitch (the heartthrob) that is hinted at in the trailer.  Definitely an audible “awww”.

I just wish the film’s design team had had a high enough budget to come up with their own signature title look, rather than ripping off that of American Girl, purveyor of dolls and clothing for preteen girls: