One of our most anticipated titles at this year’s Sundance Film Festival (oh, yeah, did we mention we’ll be at the Sundance Film Festival? Because we totes will) is Room 237, a new documentary by Rodney Ascher about the obsessive fans of The Shining. According to Entertainment Weekly, one of them posits an intriguing two-part conspiracy theory. First, he holds that Kubrick “directed” the faked Apollo moon landings while shooting 2001 — itself a mere cover for his bigger job. (This one’s been floating around for years — hell, it inspired its own “mockumentary, ” Dark Side of the Moon.) But here’s the kicker: the fan also contends that, since Kubrick would have faced dire consequences if he ever revealed his involvement in the moon landing, he instead smuggled clues into The Shining, using his Stephen King adaptation as a giant coded message to tell the world about the ruse.
“It’s a film-nerd love-fest, ” according to Sundance programmer Trevor Groth. “These obsessive people dissect The Shining, and they’ve watched it thousands of times, all finding their own coded meaning and language in it.” Reading about Room 237, and salivating for it, got us thinking about some of our other favorite “film-nerd love-fests”; after the jump, we’ve compiled ten of our favorite documentaries about famous films.
No less an authority than Gene Siskel picked Fax Bahr and George Hickenlooper’s Hearts of Darkness as the best film of 1991 — not the best documentary, mind you, but the best film of the year, period. He may very well be right; this warts-and-all account of the famously contentious production of Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now is riveting viewing, detailing how the film’s shooting schedule and budget (to say nothing of the sanity of all involved) were demolished by a steady stream of bad weather, health woes, cast changes, and general malaise. It’s a gloriously gripping descent into moviemaking madness — oh, and it inspired an episode of Community, so bonus points for that.