Documentary Site started as an outlet for my interests in documentary 15 years ago. Since then, my presence has expanded to writing, managing Twitter fans, and connecting with makers, promoters, and fans of documentary. Probably three of the coolest things to come from this endeavor are being invited to write for POV, visiting Kartemquin studios, and leading a discussion after a screening of The Trials of Muhammad Ali. My current project involves watching and writing about 365 documentaries in 2014. Feel free to send along your suggestions via Twitter @documentarysite!

#365Docs: Unhung Hero (48/365)

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I’m watching 365 documentaries and writing about each one in 2014. Tweet your suggestions to @documentarysite, or send an e-mail to hmcintosh@documentarysite.com. Read more.

Note: This post may contain spoilers.

Brian Spitz’s 2013 documentary Unhung Hero attempts to answer the enduring question: Does size really matter?

Our hero and guide in this documentary is Patrick Moote. A viral video of his rejected marriage proposal at a UCLA game motivates his journey. He claims the woman turned him down because of his size, and as a result he wants to learn more about size, enhancement, and cultural expectations.

His explorations take him throughout the United States and across the globe. While in the United States, he learns about several techniques that claim to increase length (watch the documentary if you want to know what they are) and tries them. When those techniques fail to live up to their claims, he travels to Papua New Guinea, South Korea, and Taiwan to learn about injections, enlargement surgery, and weights, respectively. Though Moote tries the weights, he passes on the injections and the surgery.

Throughout the piece, Moote interviews several people who share insights about size and sex, such as Annie Sprinkle, Jonah Falcon, and Dan Savage. Savage offers the insightful comment that connects this issue with larger cultural issues in that the pressures of appearances that used to affect women now have moved to men as well. In the end Moote comes to the expected realization that what matters is not obsessing over the issue and just being himself.

The documentary incorporates some footage taken in places where filming was unwelcome and an invasion of privacy, such as the Korean baths, which gave me a pause for the ethics of doing so. Otherwise, for the most part, Unhung Hero delves into a sensitive issue with humor and grace. The frankness and openness, however, might not be for everyone.

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Heather McIntosh
Heather McIntosh
Heather McIntosh started Documentary Site as a resource for documentary media and has greatly enjoyed the connections it has fostered over the years.