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Movie Mayhem: Summer Docs, the Blockbuster Alternatives

Photo by David Gallagher, Creative Commons

July brings a wave of summer blockbuster releases from Hollywood and independent filmmakers, and area movie theaters are humming with big crowds taking in the explosive action, the romance, the intrigue, the silliness and the special effects – and of course, the popcorn and air conditioning.  But if all that showbiz spectacle doesn’t appeal, there’s a great alternative: a slew of new documentaries: true (or mostly true) stories compellingly told, whose subjects range from turn-of-the-century medical charlatans and competitive ticklers to visionary television producers and disgraced politicians. 

This morning, for our first-Friday-of-the-month Movie Mayhem segment, Tom’s joined in the studio by our favorite movie mavens: Ann Hornaday, film critic for the Washington Post, and Jed Dietz, founder and executive director of the Maryland Film Festival.  They talk about the many superb documentaries being released this summer: some at the recent American Film Institute’s AFI Docs Festival in DC, others that are in theaters now or coming soon.  They focus on a few of the best new docs:  Nuts (and director Penny Lane's 2013 doc, Our Nixon); Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You; Kate Plays Christine; Tickled; Life Animated; and Weiner. There's also a nod to Dheepan, the dramatic tale of a Sri Lankan immigrant struggling to survive in France, and winner of the Palme D'Or at last year's Cannes Film Festival.

Audio for this segment will be available by noon today.

Host, Midday (M-F 12:00-1:00)
Rob is Midday's senior producer.