Long before there were The Real Housewives of Wherever, there was just one housewife who helped put reality TV on the map in 1973. Having a camera crew capture your family’s every waking moment may not seem like any big deal these days, but it was a pretty gutsy move for Pat Loud and her family back then and it’s the subject of the revealing HBO feature Cinema Verite. It’s an interesting time capsule look at how this one Santa Barbara clan infamously became An American Family, with more than one real life situation unexpectedly coming to light in living color – and to think, they did it for free. It’s beautifully cast and acted with Diane Lane and Tim Robbins as the Loud parents of five restless kids and James Gandolfini as the pioneering documentary producer Craig Gilbert. Plus it’s got everything you could ever wish for from the era; a sunny Southern California back drop complete with the oh so memorable decor and fashions…big sunglasses and all. Of course, it wouldn’t be the 70‘s without the requisite soundtrack and in this case it’s aptly bookmarked with Mama Cass’ “Dream a Little Dream.” And if Cinema Verite isn’t authentic enough for you, then look for the original 12 episodes of An American Family currently running on PBS (check your local listings for schedule). It’s reality TV at its best and worst. Sorry, Jersey Shore.
HBO – Cinema Verite