This Weekend at Hot Docs – Bill Nye: Science Guy and Ramen Heads

5 May 2017 / by Reza Hassanirad
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Bill Nye: Science Guy and Ramen Heads

A few choice screenings at Hot Docs this weekend. 

Bill Nye: Science Guy

My favourite moment in Bill Nye: Science Guy is a clip from his popular 90s educational television show where he casually tosses a watermelon and a computer from the roof of a building, all in the service of teaching about gravity.

It was that sort of zaniness that enamoured kids enough to pay attention to the actual science part of things. And Bill Nye was the right blend of goofy, fun, unintimidating and knowledgeable – the sort of dynamic science teacher you wish you actually had.

The documentary Bill Nye: Science Guy does a good job of exploring the man behind the persona with biographical tidbits and deeply confessional moments. There’s also some interesting behind-the-scenes info about his old show.

Much of the documentary focuses on Bill Nye’s self-conception as a science stalwart combating nefarious anti-science forces, particularly creationism and climate change skepticism.

Though sometimes it seems that opposing views are being straw manned with the weakest possible representatives, Bill Nye: Science Guy does exhibit a real earnestness for combating falsehood and promoting the common good.

Bill Nye: Science Guy is fairly entertaining and provides an opportunity to think about science, rationality and public policy.

Just don’t get any ideas about tossing inanimate objects off roof tops.

Bill Nye: Science Guy screens Saturday May 5 at the Revue Cinema at 6:00PM.

Ramen Heads

Sushi isn’t the only jewel in Japan’s culinary crown.

Ramen soup – a basic yet versatile mix of broth, noodles and various ingredients – has become a staple in Japan and loved around the world, particularly here in Toronto.

Ramen Heads focuses on Osamu Tomita, a highly respected ramen chef and connoisseur who owns a very small but very popular ramen shop, where line ups can stretch around the block and people arrive hours before the noodle house even opens.

The Japanese-produced documentary takes us into the artist’s workshop, showing us Tomita’s philosophy and craft, how he painstakingly prepares his rich broth and handmade noodles. You feel a real admiration for his dedication, his respect for customers and his daily grind. His personality is as compelling as his signature dish.

The documentary also spotlights other ramen chefs who create their own unique regional variations, illustrating the adaptability of this popular dish.

Ramen Heads rhapsodizes ramen with slow, carefully composed stylistic footage of its loving, precise preparation, and mindfully savored slurping. It wants the viewer to see ramen as more than a dish, more than a mere meal. It wants the viewer to see it as a work of poetry, forged by passion and dedication. It wants you to appreciate and love ramen with your palate and your heart.

You’ll know that the documentary has done its job when you find yourself looking up local ramen restaurants during the closing credits. And trust me, you will.

Ramen Heads screens Saturday May 5 at 10:45AM at TIFF and Sunday May 6 at Hart House at 12PM.

Hot Docs runs now until May 7. For more information and for tickets visit To hear these reviews and more tune in to Movie Mixtape on Friday May 5 at 10:00AM and our extended film coverage at 3:00PM.