Monday, March 15, 2010

Following Sean

I just finished watching Following Sean, a movie about a man who was originally filmed in the '60s as a 4 year old running around alone in Haight Ashbury, bragging about smoking grass and how he could identify a speed freak. The stuff he was saying was crazy, but he was completely adorable and spoke candidly with a child's perspective of a grown up world.

When the film came out, people (understandably) freaked out about this child and his future. He would surely be a druggie! A degenerate! THIS kid and his family were the ruin of America! THIS is what those damn hippies were producing!

So the film maker decided to find him again and filmed him throughout his adulthood.

And he ended up just fine. Smart and kind and hard-working and still kind of adorable. Boringly normal almost.

I'm not saying we should all give our kids pot and let them run around alone (that would be a total waste of pot), but I think it was a cool example of how resilient and malleable kids can be as they grow up. He did all that, lived through it, grew up and out of it and appears to have a very conventional life. There are people with good parents and normal families that grow up to be serial killers or politicians.

You just never really can tell what you're going to get.

You should watch it (I didn't ruin it by telling you what I have. His life and family and everyone's perspective are the interesting part of the footage) and feel better about your parenting abilities, and the chance that your children may end up normal after all.


Hippie at Heart said...

I'm a HUGE documentary nerd & I watch at least a dozen a week. I watched Following Sean a few weeks ago & I LOVED it! I was in love with little Sean from the beginning. He was such a cool, interesting kid. I was really worried how his life would turn out & was pleasantly surprised at the responsible, hardworking man & loving devoted father that he became. I really enjoyed that documentary.

Last night I watched Life on the Mesa. Have you seen it? I've had it sitting on my computer for a while & I finally got around to watching it. I was hesitant at first because I expected it to be a bunch of government hating hippies who spent the entire time ranting about the injustices of "The Man" but I was surprised to find out that it was the opposite. It's a group of people, many of whom are ex-military, who just want to live in peace & take care of themselves. Many of them have alcohol, mental or health problems but they banned together to provide a community for themselves & help take care of their neighbors. I can't say this was the best documentary that I've ever seen but I really, really enjoyed it.

I'm watching A Jihad for Love tonight & it's really good too. I think you've mentioned this before but have you seen Grey Garden, Return to Grey Garden & the GG movie with Drew Barrymore? They're still my favorites with Jesus Camp & For the Bible Tells Me So coming in a close tie.

Oh, I also recently watched Good Hair by Chris Rock (whom I loathe but enjoyed in this doc). It's about African American hair. I know that sounds like an odd topic but as a white woman I found it fascinating, especially the part about where hair extensions come from. I recommend watching Good Hair.

Wow, I didn't expect this to turn into such a long comment but like I said, I LOVE documentaries & I love taking about them.

Unknown said...

GREAT comment, Hippie. I love documentaries too! The Mesa one sounds fascinating.

You should watch the Art Star and the Sudanese Twins--some crazy, super intense photographer goes to Sudan and ends up breastfeeding starving twins and then decides she wants to adopt them, but Sudan doesn't really have an adoption process and they have a father. It's strange and documentary-wise, not the best, but still a very interesting story and the artist herself is fascinating.

You also have to watch the Devil and Daniel Johnston--this was one of the best I've seen in a while and I saw it months ago. Another tortured, mentally ill (schizophrenic) artist but one who has documented his entire life through his creative endeavors and had some awesome experiences and connections.

Also, sucks it comes in sections and it's rather depressing (it was the one that had me wanting to adopt herds of African children, even though I hardly like kids) but Vice guide to Liberia is shocking and chilling stuff:

I've got more but can't think of them now. Grey Gardens was great. Keep the recommendations coming though!

How's your hedgehog, Hippie? I was hanging with Reggie last night--sunburns and hedgehogs don't mix, just so you know.

Jennifer said...

"Politician and serial killers..." Great line! LOL

I have a friend that kind of grew up like, and while she does have some lasting emotional effects of how she was raised she is a great mother (one of the best I know) and maintains a pretty normal life. At least as normal as the rest of us. Sometimes she struggles with the normalcy because she didn't have an example of it growing up, but she works hard at it and she is winning.

Theresa said...

Makes me think of the Columbine kids who grew up in completely normal homes. I can't imagine being their parents and having to wonder where I went wrong, but perhaps it isn't really the parents' fault at all.

Lin said...

Thanks for the recomondation. I'll have the hubs get it for us sometime this week. It sounds like a really interesting documentary & he's a ducumentary junkie so I'm sure he'll love it.

Julie H said...

What? We can't blame everything on our parents??

Sasha said...

That does sound interesting. Have you read Go Ask Alice? I saw it in Target the other day and it brough back middle school memories- we all read it and basically passed it around. Facinating indeed.

Joy said...

Ashley - A friend of mine gave me this link, and my kids and I have been hooked to it. It's a Barn Owl sitting on 5 eggs that are due any time now. Check it out -

Unknown said...

Sasha, it's funny you said that about Go Ask Alice--I did read the book (and I was young!!) and today while we were at the library, Mr. Ashley chose the movie! It's on right now.

Joy, I'll check out the link, that sounds so cool!

Julie, our generation can continue to blame our parents, but our children will have to cut that shit out by the time they're adults.

Sasha said...

Well, that's just my ESP working again. Somehow I guess I knew Mr. Ashley picked that up, so maybe I sent him a message telapathically about it... Seriously, I may just have some powers. :-)

How was the movie? I've only read the book?

Also, have I asked before if you'd read I'm With the Band by Pamela Des Barres? I was (and still am) heavy into 70s rock (Zep, Doors, etc) and she was a too-cool groupie who keep a fabulous diary about her escapades. She also nannied for Frank Zappa. At any rate, she's an idol of mine and I am dying to meet her. I've chatted with her online severalt times, and she is facinating. Oh, and she was friends with Cynthia Plaster Caster.

Unknown said...

Sasha, the movie was like an unintentional comedy, complete with a young William Shatner. I think whoever wrote that book was probably the original James Frey because I highly doubt it's true.

I also love Led Zeppelin and the Doors (and always have!), I'll have to read I'm With the Band, sounds interesting!!