Here’s yet another terrific BBC documentary … this time about one of my favorite musical/cultural icons, John Cale. People tend to think that Lou Reed was the dark lord of the Velvet Underground, but these same people often forget that once Cale left the group, the Velvets recorded the considerably more mellow self-titled 3rd album and “Loaded.” On his own, Cale continued to record beautiful, but frequently disturbing music, as well as producing some of the most influential bands of all-time (Nico, The Stooges, Patti Smith, The Modern Lovers). A fantastic overview of one of the most under-appreciated geniuses of modern music.
One of the most fascinating, bizarre, creepy, and sad documentaries I’ve seen recently is director Nick Holt’s 2007 BBC documentary called “Guys and Dolls” (or as it is also known, “Love Me Love My Doll”). The documentary is about the growing popularity of “Real Dolls,” which are realistic sex dolls made of silicone, PVC, and steel. Their individual cost is in the thousands, but for some men, the cost is miniscule compared to the physical and emotional companionship these dolls provide.
Despite the sensationalistic subject matter, director Holt handles this material soberly. While “Guys and Dolls” looks at the manufacturers and repairers of such dolls, the film mainly focuses on four Real Doll owners. Despite the fact that their individual psychological quirks could fill volumes, the film doesn’t make fun of the doll owners. Two of the four men come off as otherwise decent people, albeit with a lot of social problems which has led them to find companionship in an artificial being instead of a human one. However, the other two individuals do come off as genuinely creepy and it’s not a shock to realize why no woman (decent or otherwise) would go near them. There’s one scene towards the end where one of the gentleman introduces his dolls to a woman he’s dating and watching this scene unfold is undoubtedly more hair-raising and uncomfortable to watch than any horror film.
The full documentary is available at the link above.