Your Guide To Becoming A Docuphile: Room 237 Is A Must-See

Each week, I'll cover the documentaries that are worth a view. Consider it a primer to be becoming a docuphile. I encourage you to leave your favorite documentaries in the comments or tweet at me at @robinhardwick. This week, films about films.

Room 237 (2012)

Room 237 is unlike any other film, much less documentary, I've seen. I can already tell you it will be on my top films of the year, if not of all time. Yes, I am willing to make that statement. Why am I so obsessed with this film? Because it validates my obsession with movies. Room 237 looks at one particular movie in the ways that I obsess over films. I'm not crazy after all!

Room 237 highlights five different theories about the film The Shining, ranging from its symbolism and cinematography (basic Film Theory 101) to "okay, I guess I can see that" theories about holocaust allegories, to batshit-crazy theories like Stanley Kubrick was using this film to tell the world that he had helped fake the Apollo moon landing footage. And honestly, by the end of the film, I was not sure I could totally refute that. The five "panelists" of the film do not appear on screen, but their theories are carefully illustrated with clips, diagrams, and scenes from other Kubrick films to further illustrate the panelists' thoughts. Even the simplest, most innocuous moments are scrutinized, from the workers in a background carrying chairs, to how the opening credits are placed, to the way that someone shakes someone else's hand.

Many of you already realized that Stanley Kubrick was a genius, so I apologize for not fully realizing this until I saw Room 237. In further reveal, I didn't totally love The Shining when I saw it the first time, which was actually only about a year ago (I know, I know! How can I call myself a cinephile?) but watching this made me appreciate the level of meticulous detail that goes into Kubrick's film making. (It's no wonder there are rumors that he was a nightmare to work with.)

If I could wish anything (aside from wishing for more wishes), I would wish that more films would get the Room 237 treatment. Film geeks love nothing more than obsessing over every detail of their favorite films, and it's nice when there are films produced that do that for us.

Not to mention that the film also has an amazing trailer that is an homage to one of the most memorable scenes of The Shining. The film will open in select cities starting this week, and I am confident it will be one of your best movie-going experiences of the year.

This Film Is Not Yet Rated (2006)

Who: Free speech activists who try to identify the Motion Picture Association committee who assigns rating to films

Why is it intriguing: I'm stating the obvious when I say that movie ratings are hypocritical. Extreme violence can get a PG-13, graphic sex will get you an NC-17. Various directors and people in the industry are interviewed about their experiences with movie ratings and their hard choices to conform to the standards in order to receive wide commercial release for the film. The double standards, especially when it comes to depicting women enjoying sex, is pretty enraging.

Bonus! Many clips from banned and NC-17 films are shown, many of which are quite enjoyable. Ironically because of this, the documentary is rated NC-17.

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