Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The “Fan-doc” Era Commences

Illustration for article titled The “Fan-doc” Era Commences

While the writers and stars of Arrested Development go around-and-around about whether they’re ever going to make a feature film version of their beloved cult sitcom, two of the show’s fans are taking matters into their own hands, making a documentary about why Arrested Development is so special:

And while reclusive Calvin & Hobbes creator Bill Watterson has shown no inclination to do more with his long-retired characters (or even to talk about them publicly), that hasn’t stopped four young USC film school grads from soliciting testimonials from C&H fans everywhere for their upcoming film Dear Mr. Watterson:

And though The Big Lebowki already has a DVD edition with short featurettes about the movie and its rabid fanbase, there’s still a feature-length documentary called The Achievers: The Story Of The Lebowski Fans coming soon to DVD:

What the heck is going on here? When did an entire wave of budding documentarians decide to start making the equivalent of unsolicited DVD bonus features? Is this tied in some way to message board culture, where what fans have to say about a movie or TV show or comic is as much a part of the entertainment experience as the artifact itself? Or is it akin to remix culture, where recontextualized excerpts from someone else’s work are preferable to the work in its original form (or a wholly original work, for that matter)?


Here’s an even better question: What’s next? Assuming free “fair use” access to all necessary media (a big assumption, I’ll grant), what movie or TV show or comic book or album or novel or painting or poem or creator of one the above deserves its/his/her own documentary?

My first choice would be Japanese director Takashi Miike, who’s one of the most prolific and imaginative filmmakers of this era, yet whose actual movies often consist of long stretches of incomprehensible tedium leading up to something mind-blowing, crazy, and unforgettable. A documentary consisting of Miike’s best bits with some critic and fan commentary could possibly the best Miike movie that Miike himself didn’t make.

What’s your choice?

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