This Week in Netflix: Volume 32
I haven't been to the actual movies in ages — even though I have two free passes to Regal Cinemas burning a hole in my pocket. There's not a lot in the theaters that I actually want to see, but I was interested in Obit, a documentary about obituary writers. Many people read the obituaries, but who thinks about writing them? The film is a peek behind the curtain, showing us the process for producing these summaries of someone's fourscore and ten.
Long story short, I loved it — much like The Paper, another movie about working at a newspaper and one that I have a soft spot for because I first saw it during college in a small theater filled with fellow journalism students, many of whom worked for The Post. Watching Obit definitely gave me some flashbacks to my college newswriting class, where an obituary was one of the first assignments. Plus, the footage of the paper's morgue fascinated the latent archivist in me. All those filing cabinets full of clips!
While I was watching the interviews with the various New York Times staffers who compose the daily paeans to the dearly departed, I could've sworn I read a book a few years ago about people who write obituaries. Some online digging makes me think it must've been The Dead Beat: Lost Souls, Lucky Stiffs, and the Perverse Pleasures of Obituaries, because it mentions Margalit Fox, who is featured in the film.
Maybe I'll request it from the library again, because I can't quite recall whether or not I ever finished it. Maybe I'll get a DVD of The Paper while I'm at it.