For some reason, Documentary Now! has a tendency to creep into the arsenal filed under the Netflix and chill category. It’s humorous enough to loosen a girl up and non-committal enough to stop watching when things get sexual. And, of course, no “man” can resist Fred Armisen (Bill Hader, for whatever reason, seems to have less cachet to the straight white “male”). While the “man” who puts on Documentary Now! means well enough–has no idea that his lack of knowledge about documentary film is highly offensive–his decision to do so is indicative of a larger point: he’s a fucking dilettante.
And while, yeah, there are a lot of those in North Brooklyn, there’s no reason to be that way in terms of documentary connoisseurship. There are so few major and important ones, after all–and each of them have been covered by Documentary Now! at this point (even though it’s been renewed for a third season). The worst offense of all on a “man’s” part is having no clue what the first episode, “Sandy Passage,” is supposed to be parodying. While some might argue that no straight “man” can be expected to have ever watched Grey Gardens, it is a behemoth of not just the genre, but film itself. As one of Albert and David Maysles’ masterpieces (ranked also with Gimme Shelter and Salesman), there can be no adequate excuse for any “man,” cinephile or otherwise, having evaded this film, or being unaware of it until Armisen and Hader came along.
Watching it after seeing Documentary Now! cannot remedy the shortcoming and, in fact, cheapens the film as the “man” in question is only watching it because he’s learned about it from the show. But he’s probably already very familiar with “DRONEZ: The Hunt for El Chingon” as a result of watching VICE News “documentaries” on a regular basis. Oh how the genre has deteriorated to such a point as to enable “men” to believe that simply watching Documentary Now! is a sufficient source for their enrichment in the understanding of the medium.