While documentaries of every stripe have their charms, my favorites tend to be the ones that offer up-close-and-personal looks at worlds I’d never really considered before. Like, say, professional women’s wrestling. Brett Whitcomb‘s GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling looks at the all-female wrestling promotion that featured in their own syndicated TV series from 1986 to 1990, through footage from the original series and interviews with the women who were once involved with the organization. I’d be lying if I said I remembered much about them — I’ve never been much into pro wrestling — but GLOW looks like an intriguing look at odd corner of the universe all the same.

Along the same lines but at the other end of the spectrum is Bess Kargman‘s festival circuit hit First Position, about six child ballet dancers competing in the huge, prestigious Youth America Grand Prix. That professional dancing is a tough business to break into is no secret, and Kargman’s film explores just what these kids are giving up to shoot for their dreams as well as what they’re getting out of it in return. Watch trailers for both films after the jump.

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It’s a crazy, mixed up world and we are thankful for movies, sans New Moon, that offer proof. Weekend Weirdness takes a look at such films, whether it’s via a new trailer for a provocative indie, a mini-review, or news of an excavated cult classic. The works discussed herein tend to make cinema a little more interesting, and in the best cases do the same for life or at least a blown weekend.

The year, 2009, delivered a number of knockout documentaries that were better made and more meditative than their premises let on. For over a year, The Rock-afire Explosion has popped-and-fizzled on my radar, until a screener finally arrived in the mail last week underneath a hate letter from my ex, Sallie Mae. Pop Candy’s Whitney Matheson—a cool guest on the /Filmcast—also received one, a screener that is, and she promptly called Rock-afire the best film of the year for a documentary or otherwise. I wouldn’t go that far, but Rock-afire Explosion makes for true-life entertainment every bit as tasty as a slice and a cold beer to a divorced, thankless, balding dad tolerating a Showbiz Pizza in the late ’80s. In other words, this isn’t some  Chuck E. Cheese shit.
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