Documentary Films | 2018 | 70 minutes
Stranger Says: It’s always a pleasure to reminisce about this, indisputably one of the best shows ever on TV. Creators Paul Feig and Judd Apatow, and the whole cast (Linda Cardellini, James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, et al), sit on the reconstructed sets and revisit the show’s origin and legacy, and the rank injustice of its fate at the hands of 1990s network TV execs. The doc is made with obvious love, care, and attention to detail. Still, it seems weird for what is essentially a (very good) DVD bonus feature to be screening at a film festival. Has Netflix already erased the cultural memory so much that people don’t remember that form?
SIFF Says:It seems absolutely insane in retrospect, but a TV show starring James Franco (THE DISASTER ARTIST), Seth Rogen (PINEAPPLE EXPRESS), Jason Segel (“How I Met Your Mother”), Linda Cardellini (“ER”), Busy Phillips (“Cougar Town”), John Francis Daley (SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING), Samm Levine (INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS), and Martin Starr (“Silicon Valley”), and created by Judd Apatow (KNOCKED UP) and Paul Feig (GHOSTBUSTERS), was not a huge hit back when it premiered on NBC on September 25, 1999. In fact, it aired only 12 of its 18 episodes before being unceremoniously canceled. But from its soon-to-be-famous cast to its insistence on riding the line between comedy and drama, “Freaks and Geeks” is now one of the most beloved and influential television shows of the past 20 years. Documentarian Brent Hodge (SIFF 2016’s THE PISTOL SHRIMPS) gets the gang back together 19 years later for a retrospective on a show that dared to break conventions, to tell stories of high school kids that hadn’t been represented on television before and revealing that adolescent humiliations and heartbreaks are vital parts of our lives. “The show is about failing and how you survive failure,” explains Apatow in one of the film’s many revealing interviews, mixed in with remarkable behind-the-scenes and audition footage, in a documentary about the show’s long-lasting impact on pop culture and its plethora of extremely talented people.
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