Queue Diligence: Kurosawa and Herzog Hold Court over the Queen of Versaille


All right, it’s time for me to admit that I’ve been extremely lazy since the Oscars. Typically January and February are lazy movie months for me anyways, but I’ve been slacking heavily when it comes to providing this blog with material. Time to fight off stagnancy by developing a new weekly feature for me called “Queue Diligence.” Outside of providing the world with another unnecessary and half-assed pun, the point of this new feature is to guide the construction of your Netflix queue. What’s Netflix? And what the hell is a queue? Would you also like me to explain the internet to you as well? In any event, it’s a weekly segment where I recommend films for your queue, as well as where to rank them. Whether you’re streaming or rocking the DVD’s, use this segment as a guide to weed out the shit.

Well, the inaugural segment for this week has three films on the docket, with only one being non-streaming. Here is my first Queue Diligence:

High and Low: I’m ashamed to say this, but this is my first Akira Kurosawa film. Film elitists will likely shun me, but I’m working on remedying my lack of experience with Kurosawa. Regardless, High and Low is a masterful film that slowly expands its scope while dissecting the varying angles and troubles emanating from a ransom plot. The imagery pierces the screen; the acting is absorbing, and Kurosawa’s deft handle on the story and overarching themes at large is mesmerizing.  Honestly, it easily makes my Top 50 films of all-time list.

Platform: DVD

Queue Ranking: Are you fucking kidding me? Put this gorgeous film at the top of your queue and enjoy Kurosawa’s classic procedural drama.

Grizzly Man: Many claim Werner Herzog as one of film’s greatest documentarians. I can’t say that for certain, yet the level of honesty and impartiality he instills in all of his films, is boldly represented in his documentary Grizzly Man. The film’s subject is Timothy Treadwell, an eccentric bear enthusiast that roams an Alaskan preserve to live amidst his beloved creatures. Unfortunately, Timothy’s life ends by the claws of the creatures he swore to protect and love forever. Making use of candid interviews and footage of Timothy’s adventures with bears, Herzog crafts a searing documentary about a complicated man living on the outskirts of humanity, a man tempting the hand of nature.

Platform: Streaming

Queue Ranking: Number two. Grizzly Man generates a great deal of conversation about Treadwell’s life, which resembles the tale of Icarus, as well as his mental stability. Nonetheless, it’s as awe-inspiring as it is damning.

The Queen of Versailles: It’s hard to feel sympathy for a billionaire facing hard times, especially when he’s building the biggest and most expensive house in the United States. But, through some minor miracle, director Lauren Greenfield extracts a great deal of empathy from us as we watch a business, a family, and the American dream dismantle in the face of the economic crisis. There are moments of absurdity, where our subjects, the Siegel family, spend money excessively despite their vanishing bank account, but the emotional baggage they accumulate over the course of a year surprisingly resonates.

Platform: Streaming

Queue Ranking: Top 15. The Queen of Versailles is a fine documentary. Funny, moving, and at times infuriating, The Queen of Versailles  symbolizes the fragility of the American dream and forces us to cherish the priceless moments.

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2 thoughts on “Queue Diligence: Kurosawa and Herzog Hold Court over the Queen of Versaille

  1. I should take your film buff card away. Shame on you. You can’t go wrong with most Kurosawa. High and Low is one of my favorites. You should give Rashomon, Ikiru, Yojimbo/Sanjuro a watch next – then watch his magnum opus, Ran.

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