Saturday, May 14, 2022

2/52/2022- This is a Robbery; The World's Biggest Art Heist


This is a Robbery (2021) - My husband suggested this docu-series for us to watch, he's almost always up for a true crime documentary, so we watched all four episodes fairly quickly. I had no prior knowledge of this story before we watched this series. In 1990, 13 works of art were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Two men, who identified themselves as police responding to a disturbance call, we granted access to the museum by the over night security guards. Once in side they tied up the guards and looted the place. 

The series, of course, tries to work out the who, how and why, but also where. Where did these paintings go? All these years later they still have not re-surfaced despite a $10 million reward. This docu-series is kind of all over the place as it attempts to touch on all the possible theories of what actually happened that night. In the end the empty frames still hang in the museum still hopeful the lost art work will be found.  This is a great series if you are a fan of true crime without the murder and a lot of theories of whodunnit.

We watched this on Netflix.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

1/52/2022 - Bad Sport


Bad Sport (2021) - This documentary series that focuses on the dark side of sport. I picked it because the series had a 30 for 39 feel to it that I knew would appeal to my husband and I really wanted to see the episode about the Canadian figure skating Olympic Scandal. In the end, the whole series did not disappoint. 

There was some wild underground stories in the world of cricket and horses to name a couple. I found the interviews in each episode to be great, the subjects seemed open to talk. Interestingly enough I found the episode involving the Canadian Olympians to be the weakest of the series. I enjoyed it, I mean I remember watching that whole story unfold in real time watching the Olympics that year, but compared to the drug smuggling race car driver and the guy who was killing show horses so their owners could collect the insurance money.... I mean, there's really no comparison. I even enjoyed the episode about cricket match fixing and I don't know a thing about cricket. It was a great series if you are a fan of sports and true crime documentaries.

We watched this on Netflix.

Sunday, April 10, 2022

2021 documentary project wrap up

 So I spent a year consuming a documentary a week and what did I learn? So much. I will be an excellent party guest, once we get back to having parties again. I have lots of interesting talking points at my disposal now. How did I pick the documentaries, I will pretend like someone asked. Many different ways, sometimes I recognized the subject would be interesting to one, or more, of the humans who live in my house and that turned into conversations and debates, which is always fun, when done correctly. Other times I gravitated to what was popular at the moment or what trailer happened to pique my interest. I would make time to mindlessly scroll, to catch up with what was being offered on the various streaming platforms I subscribe to. 

I guess the next question, no one asked, would be; which documentaries were my personal favourites. In particular order they were;

Tread - About the guy that built himself a tank and drove it through his town, targeting those places he felt wronged by. 

Barkley Marathons - An absolute fever dream of an event (trail run), that has a secret entry process, a secret start time, a ridiculously number of finishers and an incredibly unique guy who manages it all.  

There Are No Fakes - Kevin Hearn from The Barenaked Ladies bought an original Norval Morriseau painting that turned out to be a fake. This doc follows the trial as well as touching on Morriseau's story and the world surrounding his paintings both real and fake. 

Secrets of Whales - This is just a lovely collection of episodes that are beautifully shot. The beluga episode is my personal favourite, but they are all visual stunning and interesting.

My Octopus Teacher - Another beautiful one to watch. And the story is quite touching as well.

Posting these reviews, which I fully admit I am not the best at, was a way to keep my ontrack to hit my goals, but also encouraged conversations both in person and online about what I was watching. Interesting to me, the documentary that garnered the most interaction was Miss Americana about the one and only Taylor Swift. There are a lot of Swifties out there my friends, as there should be.... in my opinion anyway.

So that's my 2021 Documentary Project wrap up, I am already on to 2022's project and hope to be catching you up soon. I've already watched some great ones!

Saturday, April 02, 2022

54/52 - Count Me In


Count Me In (2021) - I am not musically inclined in any manner, meaning I play no instruments and I can't carry a tune in a bucket, but I am a very enthusiastic fan of music. We listen to music a lot as a family and recently invested in a turntable and are collectively building, what I feel to be, a kick ass vinyl collection. I love to discuss lyrics and meanings behind songs, which we do a fair bit over family dinners, so this documentary with drummers discussing their craft was right up my alley.

I really enjoyed this documentary. The interviews from are entertaining and interesting. My favourite part is listening to them talk about what the admire or recognize about other drummers. As a person with little musical knowledge/ability I really enjoy having why something is great explained to me in a manner I can understand. This documentary features lots of the greats; Ringo, The Police's Stewart Copeland, Foo Fighters' Taylor Hawkins, and Queen's Roger Taylor to name a few. It was a fun and interesting watch. I'd recommend it to any music fan!

I watched this on Netflix.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Records, Again?

 Just before Christmas we took our daughter to see one of her favourite bands perform. On the way out of the show, on impulse, she bought herself their new album on vinyl. As we walked back to the car she wrestled with some buyer's remorse mainly because we didn't actually own a record player, but that seemed like an easily solvable problem. We did talk about one of the biggest takeaways from the past two years, for me personally anyway, and that was the gift of slowing things down. As such, we invested in things and practices that take more time. Like the fire bowl, that encourages lots of backyard sitting and chatting, the charcoal barbecue that requires patience and babysitting, the sourdough starter that needs lots of attention and all of those things have led to some of my favourite moments over the past two years. Records I figured could be the same. 

I've already mentioned that we had started listening to a family curated playlist during dinner and we were really loving the sing-a-longs and conversations that had come along with that, so this seemed like an even more deliberate off-shoot of that. I told my daughter that playing a record required a bit more work than hitting shuffle on your phone. We had borrowed a suitcase player from a friend and playing a record required getting it out and setting it up, but all the other slower deliberate stuff we had been doing only served to enhance the experience and enjoyment so why not continue making time for the slow stuff? As our Sunday night dinners had evolved into mini-events, we added playing her record to the list.

First, I have to admit, it's a pretty great album, so that is a big plus, but the conversations that came out of it have been pretty great too. Like, what if you only like one song on an album? Tough, you had to buy the whole thing back in the day, that's what made one where every track was killer so special. So then we talked about what albums her Dad and I thought were that special type of unicorn. For me it's Gordon by the Barenaked Ladies, Fully Completely by The Tragically Hip, You Don't Mess Around With Jim by Jim Croce, just to name a couple. And sure you can listen a complete album on your favourite streaming service too, but we don't typically do that so this has been fun because in the time since our daughter impulse bought that record we've added a handful more albums to the collection (as a GenX type person, can we please talk about how many times we have purchased our music collections and on how many platforms, each time thinking it will be the last time?) and bought a nice mid range turntable that has it's own personal set up space and makes easy to alternate between albums and the old streaming service playlist any day of the week.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

53/52 - Schumacher


Schumacher (2021) - Given how much I enjoyed the F1 docu-series, Drive to Survive earlier this year this documentary about seven time F1 World Champion Michael Schumacher seemed like a good one to check out. There is a wealth of personal pictures and footage of Schumacher to go along with the interviews from the who's who of the F1 world. There's also great interviews with his wife and children. Michael Schumacher does not appear in this aside from archival footage. He hasn't been seen in public since his skiing accident in 2013.

Ultimately this was an enjoyable watch, but for someone like me who is an extremely casual F1 fan there was a lot I feel this documentary took for granted in terms of my knowledge on the topic. I have seen criticism online that there is very little time devoted to Schumacher's accident, but I can understand his family desiring to protect his legacy and privacy. This documentary portrays him as both a guy dearly loved by his friends and family, but also incredibly aggressive in his approach to racing, which some reviews suggest should have been analyzed a little more for this production. Overall, for me, this was just okay. I didn't feel like a big enough fan of the sport to be truly engaged with this. Legitimate Schumacher fans will likely feel different.

We watched this on Netflix.

still learning to communicate

Someone important to me was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult. The desire for them to seek out the diagnosis may have been surprising to me, but once I was made aware of their reasoning and what the symptoms looked like, it made a lot of sense and ultimately explained a myriad of things. I knew improved communication was something this person was hoping a diagnosis was going to help drive forward in their everyday life and I was curious to see how that would work itself out.

Recently the two of us found ourselves in a conversation that we were coming at from different points of view. It wasn't a right or wrong sort of conversation, we just saw things differently. We were both attempting to  make our points clear, but we were both getting frustrated and ultimately not hearing each other. Taking their recent diagnosis into account and their desire for improved communication I said, hey can we stop for a moment? And so we stopped and I asked, what do you think I am saying here? What is my position? We were both quiet for a moment and they said, well, I don't know. Okay, I offered, I'll sum up my thoughts in one short basic sentence and you do the same. So we did and the conversation continued, but with both of us able to hear what the other was saying. I let them know I understood that articulating thoughts was sometimes difficult and it was hard for them to sort out their own ideas while also trying to digest information at the same time. 

We've talked several times since that conversation about how much we both appreciated that the knowledge of their ADHD diagnosis allowed us to rework how we were communicating with each other in real time as it was beginning to derail and save us both from potentially hurt feelings and unnecessary misunderstandings. These are issues that can come up in conversations between us that feature differing opinions. From my side it allows me to not get caught up in the cycle of feeling like they are simply choosing not to listen, budge or compromise on their point. They are clearly very capable of all of that, if they are allowed the time and grace, from me in this instance, to gather their thoughts. And while they can expect me to employ this tactic again in the future, I also hope they're learning to feel comfortable in asking for that accommodation in real time.  Someone recently said to me that while ADHD may make some things more challenging it has also required this person to develop other strong skills in response. Which, from my vantage point, is completely true. I hope this news only serves to help them (and me) learn and embrace more pathways to being successful in all things.

Monday, February 14, 2022

52/52 - The Super Bob Einstein Movie


The Super Bob Einstein Movie (2021) - When the Barenaked Ladies posted on Instagram that they'd written the song for the end title credits, there was no question we'd be tuning in on drop day. The Super Dave show was an absolute staple in our house in the 80's. Bob Einstein played the title character, Super Dave Osborne, an accomplished stuntman who never seems to successfully perform a stunt. The failure of these stunts was always catastrophic and hysterical. Einstein played Super Dave to perfection. Recently Einstein is probably best known for his role as Marty Funkhouser on Curb Your Enthusiasm. He's also brother to Albert Brooks.

Bob Einstein passed away in January of 2019 and this documentary is really a celebration of what a comedic genius he was. This doc has great interviews with Einstein's younger brother Albert Brooks, Jerry Seinfeld, Dave Letterman, Larry David and the rest of the Curb cast. It goes over all the great Super Dave bits and the Marty Funkhouser highlights. Einstein was obviously well loved and respected and as these interviews can attest. I really enjoyed hearing the breakdown of how Bob Einstein made his characters so funny. If you're a Super Dave or a Marty Funkhouser fan, this feel good doc is for you.

We watched this on Crave.