Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain epitomized the ethos of his rock-and-roll idols: live life as an adventure, and always tell it like it is.  An admitted former heroin addict in his teens, he was inspired to become a cook while working as a dishwasher.  Roadrunner chronicles Bourdain’s amazing life, which included several successful careers: cook, chef, best-selling author and Emmy-winning host of a popular television show.  Ultimately, Bourdain was a restless soul whose all-consuming quest for experience took him around the world, several times over.  Emotional commentary by family, friends and colleagues help us to understand who Bourdain was, beyond his television persona.  Roadrunner paints a stunning portrait of a larger-than-life person who was loved and appreciated by many, but for some reason never felt it or believed it.  Highly recommended.

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The Sparks Brothers

A heart-felt tribute to an enduring band that has a devoted cult following.  Directed by Edgar Wright, the movie briefly discusses the Mael brother’s formative years in California before diving headlong into their sixty-year career.  The Sparks Brothers serves as an introduction to the incredible volume of work Sparks has released, twenty-five albums and counting.  The stories detailing the band’s trials and tribulations take on a Spinal Tap quality, with fame and fortune always just out of the band’s grasp.  I walked into this movie knowing a few Sparks songs, and left with a sincere admiration for one of pop music’s genuine craftsmen.  Contrary to what Sparks says, they do not “dick around”.  Recommended.

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The Truffle Hunters

The Truffle Hunters ostensibly is a documentary about several (very) old men who look for the rare white truffle in the Piedmont region of northern Italy.  Every scene is framed and captured with the skill of Italian Master.  The movie is not your typical documentary, however.  It does not explain why truffles grow where they do, or how the truffle hunters find them.  Those are trade secrets that the hunters will take with them to the grave.  Instead, the movie is an affectionate  character study of the men whose profession remains untouched by time or technological progress.  And if you love dogs, this movie is a must-see.  Highly recommended.

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American Murder: The Family Next Door (Netflix)

American Murder: The Family Next Door, was released on September 30.  Certainly Netflix could have waited to release it one day later, so it could appear alongside other movies and television programs typically scheduled for October.  Maybe they made the decision out of respect for the families involved.  Maybe the algorithm that Netflix utilizes to determine when to release its content decided on the last day of September for reasons only it knows deep down in its code.  We will probably never know why Netflix releases its content on particular days, but American Murder definitely could have been released during the month Halloween, alongside other horror films.  Because while American Murder is many things, in the end it is a horror story.

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