The Producers (Mel Brooks, 1968)
I figured I ought to see this before seeing the new version, and also because it's supposed to be a comedy classic (Roger Ebert this week called it the funniest movie ever made). And...I may have missed something. Because I did not find it the funniest movie ever made. I didn't even find it funny in general, except sporadically. I remember seeing Mel Brooks movies when I was younger, and loving Spaceballs when I was probably 11 or 12, but the last Brooks movie I saw was Blazing Saddles, on a big screen at a revival house a few years ago, and I thought it was beyond stupid. So perhaps I have grown out of appreciating Brooks's humor (although I still smile at "I see your schwartz is as big as mine"), or maybe this movie is overrated. Either way, it doesn't have me looking forward to the remake.
Rize (David LaChapelle, 2005)
I was trying to catch up on some 2005 releases before voting on year-end awards, and I didn't quite make it under the deadline. It's fine, because while this is an entertaining film, I doubt I would have added it to my list of the best documentaries of the year. A fashion photographer and music video director, LaChapelle is at his best just filming the lithe bodies of the clown and krump dancers in inner city L.A. that are the focus of this film. As far as storytelling goes, it's a little haphazard, jumping around among the main subjects without much of a clear narrative thread. It just sort of starts and then stops, but the subjects are so charismatic and the phenomenon so interesting that it doesn't make a huge difference. It might have worked better as an hourlong special for MTV, or even just a music video, but as a feature it's still brief enough to be mostly engaging.