We at The Around The Way are documentary junkies. Living in a world where our TVs are infested with “reality” shows, documentaries are a breath of fresh air. We have come to the conclusion that we’ve watched all types of interesting documentaries from educational, to funny, to down right strange as fuck. It’s only right that we share some of our favorites with you. Here’s our pick for this week:
Rebecca’s pick- Benji:
I’m not much of a crier, but the water works never fail whenever I watch this documentary. The film tells the story of Benji Wilson, a southside Chicago native who was the number one high school basketball player in the country in 1984. He was a Chicago basketball hero and the first high school player out of the city to be number one in the U.S. Based on the commentary from loved ones, teachers, former teammates and NBA players, Benji was a gentle giant that was loved throughout the city. Sadly, Benji’s promising basketball career was cut short after getting shot, over some petty shit, a day before his high school senior season. The film continues to show the heartbreaking effects of Benji’s death on his family, his school and the city as a whole. This is a difficult movie to watch with out getting choked up. Even my hard body dad shed a tear or two. There is nothing worse than a young life taken away because of unnecessary violence. Check out the trailer below.
Ariel’s pick- Hot Girls Wanted
This documentary was produced by one of our favorite female comedians, Rasheida Jones. The film is about young women who have been drawn into the amateur porn industry. While all the women in the film chose to be in the porn industry as a way of making fast cash, the subjects of Hot Girls Wanted are mostly in their late teens, yearning to escape from parental control and their hometowns. After an initial sex celeb filled montage, the filmmakers’ implication is that female role models can influence young women into thinking sex work is a path to wealth and fame. Hot Girls Wanted focuses particularly on Tressa, a teen from Texas who journeys to Florida, where the porn industry flourishes with such self-starters as her new employer and scumbag Riley, who lures new girls on Craigslist. You’d think Tressa and other girls who share an apartment with Riley would become suspicious of their new boss’ worldview when he flips through potential stars on his laptop, but they just continue to pay him rent, as he sells them to the highest bidder. After the honeymoon period, rumors are reaching their hometowns and the parents begin to call upon learning the truth; reality of the choices these girls have made begin to sink in. Hot Girls Wanted hints at the troubled society we have with the portrayal of sex and women, it seems unsure on what direction to take it. The girls are left to pick up what work they can. This turns into appearing in films such as forced submission and abusive porn, often leaving the girls terrified, sad, and embarrassed. Hot Girls Wanted doesn’t take a side on whether the porn industry is good or bad, which leaves us lackluster at times. The ultimate question becomes, should we scorn these women for or praise them for being assertive and doing what they want with their bodies?
Rebecca & Ariel