Director: Steven Soderbergh
Year Released: 1996
Master monologist Spalding Gray tells the story about how he was diagnosed with a macular pucker (a troubling eye condition) and how he went through countless 'alternative' methods of trying to heal it (including dietary restrictions, some sweat-lodge 'treatment' in Minnesota and 'psychic surgery' in the Philippines) ... which led him back to getting actual surgery in America. Not even Soderbergh's "stylistic flourishes" - which can be out of place and obnoxious - can detract from Gray's captivating storytelling and charisma, and underlying point that modern medicine is still the way to go in treating ailments (sorry hippies and Christian Scientists). The always cheeky Criterion people decided to include on the DVD release the actual video of Gray's surgery - called "Swimming to the Macula" - which looks like an avant-garde installation and well-worth watching if you like to flinch.