When famous people aren’t giving Nonfics their documentary recommendations directly, they’re using them to guest-curate collections over at SundanceNow Doc Club. And we’re happy to share their lists over here, as we did previously with Susan Sarandon’s.
This month, the documentary subscription service has a trio of comedians taking part. Saturday Night Live veterans Seth Meyers, Fred Armisen and Bill Hader have a new series on IFC called Documentary Now! (premiering August 20th), which parodies classic documentaries such as Grey Gardens and The Thin Blue Line, and if that wasn’t enough of a tribute to nonfiction cinema, they’re also naming and commenting on their picks for must-see titles, all of which can be streamed online via Doc Club.
I’ve decided to let each of them have their own post here at Nonfics to keep their picks all straight. This time we’re isolating Meyers (also see Hader’s and Armisen’s), host of NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers and co-creator, writer and producer of Documentary Now! (unlike the other two co-creators, he doesn’t also star in the series). His actual nonfiction film experience is limited to appearances in Live from New York!, James Franco’s Saturday Night and Knock Knock, It’s Tig Notoro. Here is his statement for Doc Club on why documentaries are so cool:
“Go to a party, a fancy party. Perhaps it’s in a museum or an embassy. Walk up to the bar and order a snifter of brandy. Swish it around in the glass. Now walk up to a group of people and say, ‘Have you seen the new Spider-man?’ Look at their faces judging you. You’ve made an ass of yourself. But now try it again and ask, ‘Have you seen the new Errol Morris?’ Ahhhhhh, there’s the reaction you were looking for! The subtle nods, the knowing smiles. You’re fitting in! Documentaries: Earn your brandy.”
Now here are his three picks with comment, a link to the films’ Doc Club pages (where you can see their full synopses, where available) and their original trailers:
Bill Cunningham New York (Richard Press, 2010)
“A great film about not just its subject but the city he lives in. A testament to what it means to love what you do.”
Harvard Beats Yale 29–29 (Kevin Rafferty, 2008)
“One of the great all-time sports films. Full of participants who are VERY well-spoken about the events that transpired. Plus, TOMMY LEE JONES!”
Jiro Dreams of Sushi (David Gelb, 2011)
“Not really food porn. That’s not classy enough. It’s “food erotic fiction.” A guy cries trying to make eggs and you want to cry too. What more do you want?”