Reviews & Media

  “Sex, Drugs & Bicycles” featured on CNN’s “Hollywood Minute.”

“When you consider the United Nations study that ranks Dutch kids as the happiest in the world (while adults rank sixth, well-ahead of 18th place U.S.), the Netherlands must be doing something right, and Blank’s generally breezy film, packed with playful Monty Pythonesque animations by Fiely Matias, effectively sums up the contented mood.” – Michael Rechtshaffen, LA Times

Sex, Drugs & Bicycles really is about sex, drugs and bicycles with the implication throughout the documentary that the more you have of each, the happier you will be…Directed, written, edited and whatever by Jonathan Blank, whose sense of humor is most like that of Michael Moore, this doc moves forward like a stiff dose of amphetamines with a love for Holland that might make you think that Blank is high on Ecstasy…With snappy and often hilarious animation where Blank morphs into Rembrandt, Sex, Drugs & Bicycles lauds, among other things, the four+ weeks of holiday that the Dutch are required to take, even getting paid for their extra month off. And unfortunately for us cinephiles, director Blank seems to have taken far more time off than that…So…if you’re a Michael Moore fan and you had not heard of Jonathan Blank before, you are likely to enjoy this movie’s eight-five minutes and get depressed when you realize that the U.S. ranks so low in the developed world in education, affordable health care (though Medicare is fantastic making it great to be old), and harbors a puritanical fear of recreational drugs. A-” — Harvey Karten, New York Film Critics Online

“For anyone who still believes documentaries are dry and boring, the cure is Sex, Drugs & Bicycles from Jonathan Blank. Entertaining and informative is a terrific blend as Mr. Blank uses interviews, statistics, and animation to contrast the Dutch way of life with that of the good ol’ United States of America.” – David Ferguson, International Policy Digest

“What Sex, Drugs & Bicycles made me realize is that the Netherlands is such a happy place because they are free. Nothing seems to be taboo to the Dutch. They do not keep secrets about the way things work. Rather the opposite, they help explore the way they work. The film also made me realize that I want to visit the Netherlands. This film is done in a seemingly comedic way that does not make it just another boring educational documentary. It is effortless to watch and enjoyable.” 8/10 – Chris Salce

“Sex, Drugs & Bicycles is an important documentary for the moment because during this time of crisis, we, as Americans, need to consider how our system is failing and how we can make it better for everyone. The film allows us to consider cruelties within our system that we have come to accept as the status quo, but these cruelties are choices that we have made and they only continue because we choose not to change them…
Exposure to other countries, cultures, and governments serves as a cure for our national myopia. But, of course, many of our citizens lack the resources to travel abroad. With the restrictions on travel from COVID-19, we risk becoming even further isolated, and that is where cinema and TV can step in and serve the public good by taking Americans from their couches to beyond our national borders. Jonathan Blank’s new documentary Sex, Drugs & Bicycles, accomplishes this medicinal feat by helping its audience to re-examine American norms by comparing them to the sixth happiest country in the world: the Netherlands (America is ranked eighteenth, according to The World Happiness Report). The appeal of Sex, Drugs & Bicycles is not only the fact that it focuses on one country but also that it is attempting to answer a single question: are social democracies the hellscapes that U.S. conservatives have painted them to be? When America’s healthcare system and labor laws and practices are compared to the Netherlands, it becomes obvious that social democracies are not hellscapes. In fact, adopting some of these policies may help Americans live healthier and happier lives.” – Zachary David Rogers

“Blank takes us through the current setup with regular comparisons to the USA, which doesn’t come out on top, for anything, in a light-hearted and humorous way. Blank doesn’t force anything on you, he simply presents the facts, with Monty Python-esq visuals in between, and, as he says himself, you should decide what is right for you. But the facts are hard to deny. Sex, Drugs & Bicycles is a funny and quick way to look at another countries setup and how that compares. It isn’t an answer, but it should certainly be looked at as part of one.” 4 stars! – Mark OC

“Before watching this documentary, the most that I knew about the Netherlands involved tulips and the ceramic clogs that my mother and grandmother collected. It’s only been more recently that I’ve even begun to intentionally learn more about countries and lifestyles beyond American soil, so it made sense to me to take a look into this film and see what it could show me about a country so very different than my own. And I left enlightened. Sex, Drugs & Bicycles from Jonathan Blank takes us through a comedic and visually engaging journey in and around the most common (and some of the more obscure) highlights of Dutch infrastructure and lifestyles. From their healthcare, family lives, and work-life balance to the political scene, climate responsibility, and even bike riding, Blank makes sure we see all the color and drama that life in the Netherlands has to offer. For starters, the filmography matches the vibrant content. In a style I can only describe as “paper-animation-puppet show meets no-holds-barred video,” this documentary is a fun mix of satire and insight presented in a way that kept me completely engaged.” – Heather Johnson, ScreenFish

“It is difficult to make a documentary that provides information but is also fun. Usually mixing the two tends to water down either the message or the comedy. Sex, Drugs & Bicycles revisits the Netherlands and offers some eye opening information while also making audiences laugh.” – Nathaniel Muir

B&S About Movies “The country may be best known for its windmills and tulips — and let’s face it, the red light districts and legal marijuana — but the it also leads the world when it comes to free speech, animal rights, LGBTQI equality and, perhaps surprisingly, the economy and life indexes. It doesn’t shy away from the problems that this country has endured, but this is a really eye opening look at how other countries have solved issues that we face every day. One way that they do so is by highly taxing those in the highest brackets, while not allowing the CEOs of companies to pay themselves more than their prime minister. Yet they lead the world in studies of the best places to own a business and overall gross domestic product. No place is perfect and Hollan has a history of slavery and holidays that still have no real issue with blackface — but there are some systems worth studying. This would be a good start for anyone looking to learn more. I certainly discovered so much in my watch, which moved quickly thanks to the director’s flair for storytelling and mixing in animation along with live action interviews.” – Sam, B&S About Movies

Sex, Drugs & Bicycles seeks to uncover whether the Dutch model of social democracy is just as good as it sounds, in this bright, engaging documentary With its colorful animated sequences, sweeping cinematic shots of Dutch landscapes, and playful music choices, the film ensures a breezy watch that never fails to hold the viewer’s attention. While a strongly opinionated film, Blank’s subjective approach feels warranted with his outsider perspective and his personality shines through with his wry sense of humor. In addition to narrating the film, he voices the interview questions, often asking follow-up questions that elicit amusing reactions from his interview subjects. These moments feel much more casual and intimate than we’d expect from a documentary, and Blank’s curiosity keeps us eager to learn more.” – Nils Gollersrud

“All in all, informative, entertaining, and amusing. A documentary worth catching; well recommended. Movie Grade: A” – Rob Williams

“The film uses a lot of interviews, stats, and plenty of images from around the country. I like that the director utilized a plethora of sources to teach viewers about this unique country. There is even a bit of humor in the film as well. It’s a well rounded documentary. It kept my non-documentary loving husband interested through the entire film. That is impressive as far as I’m concerned.” – Kimberly Vetrano

“HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Sex, Drugs, & Bicycles allows viewers to get an up-close and personal experience of what life is like as a Dutch citizen living in the Netherlands. If you love fast paced documentaries that explore unconventional topics with progressive ways of life this may be the perfect film for you.” –Tori Clinevell

Jonathan Blank interviewed by Jamie Roxx on Pop Roxx Radio

Jonathan Blank interviewed by Steve Sievers on Bionic Buzz

Jonathan Blank Talks With Us About ‘Sex, Drugs & Bicycles’ By David Duprey, That Moment In

Jonathan Blank interviewed on Free Forum by Terrence McNally

Jonathan Blank interviewed by Meagan J. Meehan

Jonathan Blank interviewed by Nathaniel Muir

“Sex, Drugs & Bicycles” featured at the SxSW Film Festival

Jonathan Blank interviewed in Voyage LA