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Documentary Pack #1

THE KING

A fascinating dive into the life of the rise and fall of Elvis Presley as it correlates to the rise and fall of the American dream. Incredible film editing with an impressive array of musicians riding along in the King’s Rolls-Royce while playing the funeral procession-blues of, what the director, Eugene Jarecki, believes to be the next chapter in the era of Trump. Some deserved criticism:

With an insistence that borders almost comically on obsession, [director Eugene Jarecki] forces the singer’s life into a larger theory of national decline-the American dream is dead, and Elvis is the emblem of its passing.

Some deserved praise:

A provocative argument, but even those disinclined to be persuaded by it can enjoy the mode through which Jarecki presents it.

In the end, this political and social commentary, even with its underlying political bias, “encyclopedia-style snippets of history, [and] authentically pained but insubstantial musings,” is a worthwhile thinking experience that helps us re-consider the value of music to shape a nation and the opportunistic humanity that feeds on the celebrity of others.

Elvis

RATING: C+


WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?

In a time when love is reduced to the momentary sensation of emotion towards a figure of political alignment. When children are trained better than ever to become mindless consumers of pop-culture and partisan propaganda to the point of repetition without consideration. Perhaps it is Mr. Roger’s that can save the day.

A profoundly wise Christian spirit of cultural integration that understands well the complications of day-to-day life and finds a measure to express his faith within the confines of a changing universe. While the documentary could have likely gone deeper into certain topics amidst its rich inundation of the relevancy of Mr. Rogers to his culture, it remains as one of those few poignant offers for the audience to feel a sense of potential to love their enemies as themselves. David Brooks (NY Times) gets it exactly right: “[o]ften people are moved to tears by sadness, but occasionally people are moved to tears by goodness.”

Rogers

RATING: B-

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