My friends and I chat in an IM application called Telegram on the daily. I had mentioned that I had re-discovered my love for documentaries and my friend Brian posted this link and told me to “get crackin'”.
I started watching these because:
A) I was tired of searching for things on Netflix that sounded interesting.
B) A few of these were already on my “to watch list”.
C) I thought it would be a good idea to step outside of my normal genre of films.
D) I had some free time.
So, I eliminated the ones that I had already seen & set a goal of 3 movies per day. That knocked the number down to 93. While watching these, I decided that at each 25 film mile stone, I would post my thoughts about the films (while trying not to give away spoilers). I just hit # 25 so here we go.
- Cartel Land: This film was brilliant. To me, it opens your eyes to the struggle against the Mexican drug cartels on both sides of the border and may change you perspectives on a few things like it did mine.
- What Happened, Miss Simone?: This film was WAY outside my usual range of films; however I found it intriguing. It made me appreciate the bio-pic genre of documentaries a lot more.
- Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom : This movie depicted Patriotism in the face of tyranny and was very graphic (just a heads up). I was moved, shocked and enraged all at the same time. It was a very powerful film. I say that this is a must watch.
- Chau: Beyond the Lines : This documentary honestly didn’t move me in the way it was supposed to. I think it may be nominated for an Oscar, but I don’t see why. I know that may sound horrible, but hear me out. A disabled kid discovering art isn’t a new story. I didn’t focus on that part. What I did focus on (Sorry, SPOILER ALERT) is that the effects of Agent Orange are still being felt in Vietnam today and the treatment of these kids by the Government of Vietnam is pretty fucked up. They are man-handled, shamed, treated as tourist attractions, and if they don’t play ball with the hospital staff; they are tossed onto the street or back to a family that doesn’t want them. It’s pretty deplorable.
- Last Day of Freedom: This one was soul crushing and left you feeling defeated and angry. Almost as bad, if not worse than “Making a Murderer”. The style that it is filmed in is also very amazing. Bring a tissue or two, you may get “allergies” during this one. I say this is a must watch.
- In the Basement: This is a German documentary (so subtitles) and is about what people do in there basements. So, Germans in their basements…you have been warned.
- Meet the Patels: Honestly, this is probably one of my favorites, if not my absolute favorite so far. It takes you into the pressure to get married in Indian culture and the pitfalls that the pursuit of love that a first generation Indian-American faces. I loved the way this was filmed, the subject, and well I just loved the whole damned thing. It’s also on the must watch list.
- Crazy Love: This film tells probably one of the most fucked up love stories that I have ever heard. You just have to watch this one to see what I am talking about.
- Jesus Camp: I have already seen this film; however Netflix is taking it off on 2/21/2016. If you have never seen it, I beg you to watch it. It shows the evils and harm of church camps and what indoctrination can do to children. Please watch.
- The Thin Blue Line: This story is set in Dallas during the 60’s and revolves around a shooting of a police officer. It details how the system fails people and proposes the question if things have changed. Honestly I fell asleep during it, twice.
- The Cruise: OK, this film was like a fucked up train wreck. Other than the subject of the film being a guy that does double-decker bus tours in NYC, I couldn’t tell you or even explain to you what this film was about except this unusual oddball of a man. I almost want to re-watch it to try to figure out what the fuck I previously watched. You do actually learn some NYC history in it, so that’s a plus.
- Hoop Dreams: Not only am I not a huge bio-pic documentary fan, I can’t stand sports bio-documentaries. I expected to suffer through this, but it was actually very enjoyable. It exposes the exploitation of young black children, and the struggle that their families go through. I would also put it on the must watch list.
- Life Itself: I never really gave much thought to Roger Ebert. To me, he was just a film critic that had a show in the 80’s with another film critic. After watching this, I have a new found respect for the man and his life. It’s also a much watch.
- Sherman’s March: I expected a historical piece on Sherman’s march through the south. Man,was I ever wrong. SPOILER ALERT: This was about a guy that got a grant to do just that, but between bits of historical narrative he films his quest to find love from ex’s and random girls and his epic failure in love and fucking whines about it for almost 90 minutes. I cringed almost all the way through this film because of this guys pathetic attempts to win back or establish relationships with women. Honestly, it had to be the worst film on here.
- Brother’s Keeper: I enjoyed this film. It told a story that I wanted to know more about. I wanted to see the events unfold. It was heartwarming and actually gave you hope in humanity. I would recommend it.
- Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer: Probably the only biography documentary I can say that I do like is serial killer biographies. This one doesn’t just tell about Aileen, but it tells the tragedy of her story. I know she was a killer, but even killers can be tragic tales as well.
- Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer: The second part (more or less) of the above film. This goes more into her life on death row, and the continuation of her trials, up to her execution.
- Seen it
- Seen it
- Expedition to the End of the World: In Danish, so subtitles. Basically, Danes explore an unexplored part of Greenland and do science. Includes Death Metal.
- Encounters at the End of the World: This film goes to Antarctica. The narrator will put you to sleep but the subject matter is amazing and the things you learn are amazing. I will put it to you this way, I have whole new fascination with ice bergs and a new level of disdain for people who say climate change isn’t real (I’m looking at you Ted Cruz).
- Cave of Forgotten Dreams: Same guy that did the above film. He takes you to the Chauvet Cave in France. It’s amazing what is in there, but again the narrative. I suggest you bring a cup of coffee. It really is a brilliant film and full of great information about our ancient past.
- The End of Time: One thing that I am always fascinated by is the concept of time. This is probably why I am a huge Doctor Who fan. While this film is at sometimes hard to keep up with, it does a a great job of explaining time in the literal/scientific, the perceived, the spiritual and the abstract. It’s definitely interesting, but probably not everyone’s cup of tea.
- Particle Fever: I just finished this film before I started typing this. I was amazed by this film mainly because I now have a greater understanding of the Higgs Particle and the universe itself. Now, I am not a physicist, I just really like science and the discovery of this particle was a huge thing for science, especially physics and yet it also left more questions open, which is always a good thing for science. I would consider this a must watch, but not everyone may enjoy it. If you are a science geek, you may want to watch it if you haven’t already.
- Cosmos: A Space Time Oddyssey: I have already watched this series, I own this series on BluRay. I highly recommend watching this series, especially with your kids. It’s HIGHLY EDUCATIONAL and informative not only about space, but about how human life and life in general began. I can’t recommend this series enough.
Now I am onto my next 25 films. Some I am looking forward to, and some I am skeptical about; however a few that I was skeptical about through the first 25 I ended up really enjoying. I do hope that anyone that reads this post checks out this list of films and enjoys them as much as I did. Even if documentaries aren’t your thing, give them a shot.
That’s how I got started.