It’s too bad the Golden Globes doesn’t have a documentary category. Should I say that again, only shouting in all caps? IT’S TOO BAD THE GOLDEN GLOBES DOESN’T HAVE A DOCUMENTARY CATEGORY! I added the exclamation point for emphasis. And really, what is wrong with the Golden Globes anyway?
But I digress, and I’ve only just started writing. If there WAS a documentary category, I’m sure ‘Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work’ would have been nominated. It was nominated for a Critics Choice Award (‘Waiting for Superman’ won), and we’ll see if it scores an Oscar nomination when they’re announced on Jan. 25, 2011. I’m betting it will.
‘Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work’ follows a year in the comedian’s life and is at times heartbreaking, funny, outrageous and intimate. It also debunks a few things I thought I knew about the woman. Five things I learned while watching the film:
1. Joan Rivers is insecure. Like, really insecure. The only time she feels comfortable, she says, is when she’s onstage, and she works constantly to get herself in the public eye. None of those appearances come easily. Also, she’s often not included in events with other comedians, and it’s noteworthy that she was included in the tribute to George Carlin after he passed away.
3. She loves to live “grand,” and thus will do anything for money. To prove it, the cameras followed her to Wisconsin, where she performed a show to a not-always-friendly audience. She even suggested that she’d knock her front teeth out and do a dental commercial if the money was right. She doesn’t want to work less and live “carefully.”
4. She’s a humanitarian. She supports several family members, and every Thanksgiving morning, she delivers meals to needy people. Even though she makes fun of, well, just about everyone, in person she’s sweet and caring.
5. Her relationship with daughter Melissa is tenuous. On screen, they seem to have a good relationship, but you have to wonder. In the documentary, Joan went on and on about how Melissa should stop smoking, and Melissa kept saying she was down to two a day and Joan should be supportive of that. I guess that’s normal mother-daughter stuff.
I love these types of films that really dig deep into a celebrity’s life and uncover the person behind the curtain of stardom. If you do, too, definitely seek out this thoughtful film. The language and jokes get pretty racy, though, so I don’t recommend it for kids younger than 17.