‘F for Fake,’ ‘Los Angeles Plays Itself’ and ‘We the Economy’ Top This Week’s Nonfics Home Picks

F For Fake Blu-ray

Most people don’t get to see documentaries until they arrive on a home video platform of some kind, whether it’s DVD, Blu-ray, VOD, iTunes, TV, Netflix streaming, etc. Join us every Tuesday for a look at what documentaries and reality programming is recommended by myself and other contributors to the site. As always, if you know of something we missed or should be aware of, drop us an email or a note down below.

Here are our ordered picks for October 21, 2014:

1. F for Fake

[New to Criterion Blu-ray and airing on TCM on October 25th] — Orson Welles’s classic 1975 “sort-of documentary” on fakes, frauds and forgery is finally ready for a Blu-ray Special Edition for those who waited out and didn’t buy the Criterion Collection’s DVD. New for this format is a new high-definition digital restoration with uncompressed monaural soundtrack.

Here’s what Dan Schindel recently wrote on the film for a list of docs that give the finger to the art world: “this freewheeling cinematic essay starts as an interrogation of famed forger Elmyr de Hory‘s career before spiraling off into various explorations of the nature of art and authenticity. Welles is keeping company with a host of other ‘fakers,’ mainly his fellow actors and directors, suggesting that there’s not too much of a difference between deception and ‘real’ art. Besides de Hory, Clifford Irving, another huckster who embarrassed the elites (and author of the infamous fake Howard Hughes biography), talks about his craft. And de Hory points out that the art dealers he worked with gouged a lot more out of people than he ever did — the cancer is within these institutions, not outside it.” (★★★★★)

Bonus features:

  • Audio commentary from 2005 by cowriter and star Oja Kodar and director of photography Gary Graver
  • Introduction from 2005 by filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich
  • Episode of the talk show Tomorrow from 1975 featuring an extensive interview with Welles
  • Orson Welles: One-Man Band, a documentary from 1995 about Welles’s unfinished projects
  • Almost True: The Noble Art of Forgery, a fifty-two-minute documentary from 1997 about art forger Elmyr de Hory
  • 60 Minutes interview from 2000 with Clifford Irving about his Howard Hughes autobiography hoax
  • Audio recording of Hughes’s 1972 press conference exposing Irving’s hoax
  • Extended, nine-minute trailer
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Jonathan Rosenbaum

Also available on DVD, iTunes and streaming on Hulu Plus.

2. Los Angeles Plays Itself

[New to DVD and Blu-ray via Cinema Guild] — Another classic that had been released (just recently) in another format but well worth waiting for the Blu-ray for the best experience of the new 10th anniversary remastered edition. We’ve written a lot in the last year about Thom Andersen‘s essay film about L.A. as portrayed in the movies, and now you can finally (we had thought it impossible) see it at home legitimately and legally. Here’s an excerpt from Dan Schindel’s review of last year’s theatrical release: “There is so much in Los Angeles Plays Itself that to comment on every idea would take a full-length dissertation, which is redundant, since the film itself is already a dissertation. […] a truly unique film. As an examination of the interplay between culture, art and how it breeds our perception, it is unparalleled. As a look at how Hollywood tells its myths, it is fascinating. As a tribute to Los Angeles (not L.A.!) as a city, it is heartfelt and greatly welcome.” (★★★★★)

Bonus features:

· The Tony Longo Trilogy (2014, 14 minutes) a short film by Thom Andersen
· Theatrical Trailer
· Collectible booklet featuring essays by Mike Davis, author of “City of Quartz: Excavating the Future of Los Angeles” and Thom Andersen

Also available on iTunes and VOD.

3. We the Economy: 20 Short Films You Can’t Afford to Miss

[New to Amazon Instant Video Prime, Fandor, Google Play, Hulu, iTunes, Netflix Watch Instantly, Vimeo On Demand, VOD and more] — Either an anthology feature comprised of various chapters or a series of 20 short films about the economy, this is a must-see collection from wrangler Morgan Spurlock aimed at helping regular Americans better understand money, finance, the U.S. economy and more. And fortunately it’s free to all via just about every digital and cable outlet there is. In addition to featuring a short by Spurlock, other notable documentarians with entries include Steve James (Hoop Dreams), Jessica Yu (Last Call at the Oasis), Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (Jesus Camp), Lee Hirsch (Bully), Joe Berlinger (Paradise Lost trilogy), Barbara Kopple (Harlan County, U.S.A.), Marshall Curry (If a Tree Falls), Jehane Noujaim (The Square), Miao Wang (Beijing Taxi), Shola Lynch (Free Angela and All Political Prisoners). Other films are by Adam McKay (Anchorman), Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight), Jon M. Chu (G.I. Joe: Retaliation), Albert Hughes (Menace II Society), Mary Harron (American Psycho), actor Bob Balaban, Entourage star Adrien Grenier, James Schamus (producer of Brokeback Mountain) and Chris Henchy (writer of The Campaign), the last two directorial debuts. Ten economic advisors are also involved (including NPR’s Adam Davidson), as are the onscreen talents of Werner Herzog, Patton Oswalt, Mo Collins, Judah Friedlander, Susie Essman, Adam Goldberg, Tony Hale, Michael Gladis, Lili Taylor and (the voices of) Sarah Silverman, Maya Rudolph, Andy Richter, Billy Eichner and Amy Poehler. (★★★★)

4. Downeast

[New to Doc Alliance, free this week] — From the directorial team of Ashley Rabin and David Redmon (Girl Model), this feature gets in and underneath the dirty, fishy nails of Prospect Harbor, Maine, one of many places in America just about ruined due to its central industry’s outsourcing of work. But in comes a hopeful savior in Antonio Bussone, who transforms the former sardine processing plant into a lobster processing plant and aims to hire the former’s old unemployed workers. The film follows the enterprise from its start and through various troubles for an up close yet also broadly relevant look at small town and small business up against big banks and government in a way that perfectly combines the experiential and the expository. Downeast has been made available to stream free at Doc Alliance this week as part of their latest event, a celebration of the Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival, which kicks off this Thursday, with focus on factories. Other films in the curation offered free are Race to the Bottom, The Bed is Broken, California Company Town and The Last Limousine. (★★★★)

5. A Brony Tale

[New to Netflix Watch Instantly] — This week, Hasbro announced it’s making a new theatrical My Little Pony movie. That will probably be only appealing to fans, including the adult (especially male) viewers known as Bronies. The rest of us can enjoy this doc with voice actress and singer Ashleigh Ball, who is invited to her first BronyCon and is apprehensive about attending. Here’s what I wrote in a review at Movies.com: “[Director Brent Hodge] hardly makes the Brony culture seem exotic (nor does he exactly glorify them), and he doesn’t simply settle on showing them and what they do and calling it a day […] he situates the phenomenon inside an identifiable world rather than setting it aside like it’s some kind of otherness. A Brony Tale might be the best, or at least the most receptive doc on fandom since Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope, which is why it’s perfect that Morgan Spurlock has signed on as an executive producer and distributor of the film.” (★★★★)

Also available on DVD, Blu-ray and Amazon Instant Video.

6 and 7. Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 and Kehinde Wiley: An Economy of Grace

[Recently Shortlisted for the Oscar for Best Documentary Short] — These two films are the only ones among the eight shortlisted for the documentary short Oscar currently available to watch online — Crisis Hotline through HBO GO and Kehinde Wiley through PBS. Neither is great enough that I think they deserve nomination let alone an Academy Award, but they’re good enough to recommend, especially in order to see some of what’s been selected this year. For more information on both and the other six, see our guide to this year’s shortlisted titles. (★★★)

New to DVD [and/or Blu-ray]:

A Bridge Apart

America and the Holocaust: Deceit and Indifference (American Experience)

Crazysexycool: The TLC Story

David Suchet: In the Footsteps of St. Peter

Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning (American Masters)

Egypt Unwrapped

F for Fake [Nonfics rating: ★★★★★] [New to Criterion Collection Blu-ray only]

The Fluffy Movie — Extended Edition [Also on Blu-ray]

Hugh Hefner: The Founder and Editor of Playboy

Looking For Johnny: The Legend of Johnny Thunders

Los Angeles Plays Itself [Nonfics rating: ★★★★★; Nonfics review] [Also on Blu-ray]

Mettelamerika Box

Mona Lisa is Missing


Nuclear Nation

On Tender Hooks

Raging Boll

Rise of the Hackers (Nova)

Secret Files of the Inquisition

Secrets of the Freemasons: Inside the Sacred Order

Sudamerika Box

Uranium Drive-In: Half Life of the American Dream

What the Bleep!? Down the Rabbit Hole 10th Anniversary Edition

The Widow Colony: India’s Unsettled Settlement

New to Netflix Watch Instantly:

Alive Inside: A Story of Music & Memory

Bernie and Ernie (30 for 30)

A Brony Tale [Nonfics rating: ★★★★]

Free Spirits (30 for 30)


Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie Aikau

History of the Eagles

More Business of Being Born

No Mas (30 for 30)

Slaying the Badger (30 for 30)

Survive and Advance (30 for 30)

New to iTunes/Amazon Instant/VOD:

Amazing Animated Film on the Debt… (We the Economy) — Amazon, Fandor, iTunes

The Bed is Broken — Doc Alliance

A Bee’s Invoice (We the Economy) — Amazon, Fandor, iTunes

California Company Town — Doc Alliance

Cave-O-nomincs (We the Economy) — Amazon, Fandor, iTunes

China Concerto — Fandor

City on the Rise (We the Economy) — Amazon, Fandor, iTunes

The Culture High — iTunes

Description of a Memory — Fandor

Downeast [Nonfics rating: ★★★★] — Doc Alliance

The Fluffy Movie — Extended Edition — Amazon

The Foreign Aid Paradox (We the Economy) — Amazon, Fandor, iTunes

GDP Smackdown (We the Economy) — Amazon, Fandor, iTunes

Globalization… Who Cares? You Do (We the Economy) — Amazon, Fandor, iTunes

In Search of Bigfoot — Fandor

The Ister — Fandor

Karamay — Fandor

The Last Limousine — Doc Alliance

Lemonade War (We the Economy) — Amazon, Fandor, iTunes

Live and Let Live — Fandor

Made by China in America (We the Economy) — Amazon, Fandor, iTunes

Mona Lisa is Missing — Amazon

Not Just a Game — Vimeo On Demand

Not Yet Begun to Fight — Amazon, Vimeo On Demand

Only When I Dance — Fandor

Our City Dreams — Amazon

Prodigal Sons — Amazon

Pulling John — Vimeo On Demand

Race to the Bottom — Doc Alliance

Recession (We the Economy) — Amazon, Fandor, iTunes

Shakespeare’s Women & Claire Bloom — Amazon

Soul of a Banquet — Amazon, Vimeo On Demand

Supply and Dance, Man (We the Economy) — Amazon, Fandor, iTunes

The Street (We the Economy) — Amazon, Fandor, iTunes

Supply Chain Reaction (We the Economy) — Amazon, Fandor, iTunes

Taxation Nation (We the Economy) — Amazon, Fandor, iTunes

That Film About Money (We the Economy) — Amazon, Fandor, iTunes

That Second Part Abou That Film… (We the Economy) — Amazon, Fandor, iTunes

This Won’t Hurt a Bit (We the Economy) — Amazon, Fandor, iTunes

Triptych in Four Parts — Fandor

Twin Sisters — Vimeo On Demand

The Unbeliably Sweet Alpacas! (We the Economy) — Amazon, Fandor, iTunes

Until the Light Takes Us — Fandor

The Value of Work (We the Economy) — Amazon, Fandor, iTunes

We the Economy — Amazon, Fandor, iTunes

Your Tax Dollars at Work (We the Economy) — Amazon, Fandor, iTunes

Zero Tolerance — Fandor

Must-See Nonfiction TV:

(All Times Eastern)

Wednesday — 10/22

2:00am: Crips and Bloods: Made in America [Fusion]

3:00am: Milius [Epix East]

3:35am: A Good Job: Stories of the FDNY [HBO East]

6:00am: Milius [Epix West]

6:35am: A Good Job: Stories of the FDNY [HBO West]

1:00pm: Hunted: The War Against Gays in Russia [HBO2 East]

3:00pm: Hunted: The War Against Gays in Russia [HBO2 West]

4:35pm: I Am Divine [Showtime Showcase]

6:05pm: Mistaken for Strangers [Showtime Showcase]

7:35pm: I Am Divine [Showtime Showcase West]

9:05pm: Mistaken for Strangers [Showtime Showcase West]

10:00pm: Top Chef: Boston [Bravo]

11:00pm: Hunted: The War Against Gays in Russia [HBO2 East]

11:55pm: The Armstrong Lie [Starz Cinema]

Thursday — 10/23

2:00am: Hunted: The War Against Gays in Russia [HBO2 West]

7:10am: Every Little Step [Starz Cinema]

11:00am: Private Violence [HBO East and HBO Latino East]

11:40am: Redemption [HBO East Signature]

2:00pm: Private Violence [HBO West and HBO Latino West]

2:40pm: Redemption [HBO Signature West]

5:45pm: Private Violence [HBO East and HBO Latino]

6:30pm: West of Memphis [Encore Suspense]

8:45pm: Private Violence [HBO West]

9:30pm: Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic [Showtime 2]

Friday — 10/24

12:30am: Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic [Showtime 2 West]

2:05am: Paris is Burning [Flix]

3:30am: 12 O’Clock Boys [Showtime Extreme]

4:20am: The Other Dream Team [Epix East]

6:30am: 12 O’Clock Boys [Showtime Extreme West]

7:20am: The Other Dream Team [Epix West]

8:00pm: The Amazing Race [CBS]

8:35pm: Tim’s Vermeer [Starz Cinema]

9:00pm: Midterms Part 1 [Al Jazeera America]

Saturday — 10/25

12:00am: Midterms Part 1 [Al Jazeera America]

4:55am: A Good Job: Stories of the FDNY [HBO Signature East]

6:30am: A Good Job: Stories of the FDNY [HBO2 East]

7:30am: Mad Hot Ballroom [Flix]

7:55am: A Good Job: Stories of the FDNY [HBO Signature West]

9:30am: A Good Job: Stories of the FDNY [HBO2 West]

1:35pm: Hunted: The War Against Gays in Russia [HBO SignatureEast]

3:00pm: Midterms Part 1 [Al Jazeera America]

3:15pm: Tim’s Vermeer [Starz Cinema]

4:35pm: Hunted: The War Against Gays in Russia [HBO Signature West]

Sunday — 10/26

2:00am: Crips and Bloods: Made in America [Fusion]

4:00am: F for Fake [TCM]

1:00pm: Pearl Jam Twenty [VH1 Classic]

2:00pm: Private Violence [HBO East and HBO Latino East]

2:35pm: Mistaken for Strangers [Showtime Showcase]

5:00pm: Private Violence [HBO West and HBO Latino West]

5:35pm: Mistaken for Strangers [Showtime Showcase West]

7:00pm: Sicko [Pivot]

8:00pm: King Corn [Fusion]

8:05pm: Mistaken for Strangers [Showtime Showcase]

9:00pm: Midterms Part 2 [Al Jazeera America]

10:00pm: Sicko [Pivot]

11:00pm: King Corn [Fusion]

11:05pm: Mistaken for Strangers [Showtime Showcase West]

Monday — 10/27

7:55am: A Good Job: Stories of the FDNY [HBO Signature East]

10:55am: A Good Job: Stories of the FDNY [HBO Signature West]

11:00am: The 50 Year Argument [HBO Signature East]

2:00pm: The 50 Year Argument [HBO Signature West]

Tuesday — 10/28

6:00pm: Private Violence [HBO2 East]

8:30pm: Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic [Showtime 2]

9:00pm: Private Violence [HBO2 West]

11:30pm: Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic [Showtime 2 West]

11:40pm: 12 O’Clock Boys [Showtime 2]

(Editor in Chief)

Christopher Campbell is the founding editor of Nonfics.