Adult Content Warning

This community may contain adult content that is not suitable for minors. By closing this dialog box or continuing to navigate this site, you certify that you are 18 years of age and consent to view adult content.

Documentaries!

Discussion in 'Pop Culture Board' started by FoamyBologna, Feb 1, 2010.

  1. FoamyBologna

    FoamyBologna
    Expand Collapse
    Village Idiot

    Reputation:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2009
    Messages:
    26
    I'm starting this so that we can recommend/discuss documentaries. I can't be the only one here that loves documentaries.

    They can be political at times, so let's not discuss the political aspects of them. If you want to recommend a political documentary, go for it. Provide only a summary. Just don't be an asshole.

    I'll start with a documentary I saw very recently: Collapse. It's based on a long interview with one man, Michael Ruppert, who is an independent investigative journalist of sorts. The documentary outlines a number of interesting topics, notably the utter dependence that industrialized civilization has on petroleum. He talks about food, money, politics and how he believes they are all quite dependent on infinite supplies of cheap oil. Then it goes into "Peak Oil theory," and the impact that dwindling oil supplies have on geopolitical events. The whole time the interviews and clips are going on, there is just a creepy feel to the whole thing. It's dark, mysterious and has pretty ominous music. I'd recommend it on that basis alone. Politics aside, it left me with some interesting questions. I like that.
    .
    What are some that you recommend? Seen any that were utter crap? Let's hear it all.
     
  2. KIMaster

    KIMaster
    Expand Collapse
    Emotionally Jaded

    Reputation:
    1
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2009
    Messages:
    1,870
    I watched the documentary King of Kong about the classic arcade game "Donkey Kong". It was atrocious garbage, as I mentioned here.

    A day after that, I watched a documentary about a very similar subject, with many of the same people interviewed, Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade.

    While mostly overlooked, this was a genuinely funny, engaging documentary, with a more mature, realistic outlook, instead of the bullshit good versus evil.

    It interviews once-nerdy teenagers that were great at certain arcade games in 1982, and sees where they are 25 years later, constantly alternating between events in 2007 and 1982. Some of them are successful businessmen or family men who haven't played a game in 2 decades. Some have moved on to normal lives, but still enjoy the occasional foray into their youth. Some of them are loser bums whose only accomplishments in life were some high scores on an arcade machine.

    There are also some amusing transformations; for instance, one of the nerdiest guys from that scene, who once played a game 70 hours straight, is now a strip club owner and pimp with a bunch of illegitimate children and women hanging around him.

    That's amusing in and of itself, but the main theme of the film was demonstrating how the video game junkie and degenerate was no different than the high school basketball/football/baseball junkie and degenerate. They are one and the same, except one is considered nerdier than the other, and back then, one couldn't make a living at the former.

    However, the tunnel vision, attitudes, and oftentimes pathetic adults it produces are identical, and that's what I got the strongest impression of from watching the documentary.
     
  3. Dcc001

    Dcc001
    Expand Collapse
    New Bitch On Top

    Reputation:
    322
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2009
    Messages:
    4,032
    Location:
    Sarnia, Ontario
    Perhaps this qualifies more as a miniseries than a documentary, but it's too excellent not to mention.

    Ken Burns' The Civil War is, in my opinion, the finest documentary I have ever seen. Without overstating the obvious, it outlines the events leading up to the American Civil War, what occurred on all sides during, and briefly touches on where everyone involved in the narrative wound up.

    Unlike virtually every other documentary ever made, it contains no re-enactments or acting. It also contains very little footage of anything but interviews with historians; the bulk of the piece is told through still photographs of the era, and voiceovers of actors reciting quotes from the people involved. The 'cast' is a list of heavyweights: Morgan Freeman, Jeremy Irons, Kurt Vonnegut, Jason Robards, Julie Harris, and on and on.

    I know, you're probably reading this and thinking, "Nine episodes of nothing but dry old historians, still photos and old actors reading quotes?" Trust me. This is one of the best documentaries ever shot. I own the DVD and it's worth every penny.
     
  4. downndirty

    downndirty
    Expand Collapse
    Emotionally Jaded

    Reputation:
    174
    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2009
    Messages:
    2,060
    It's not a tv show, but Unmistaken Child is amazing. The story follows a Buddhist monk whose mentor (for lack of a better word) dies and he is charged with finding him again as a reincarnated infant. It's a stunningly beautiful journey through poor villages and monasteries. It's one of the few things I have ever seen with such emotional range and depth that is 100% not acted in the least. You will not be disappointed.

    Also, if you don't watch a lot of documentaries (like me) Planet Earth is the best place to start. A BBC miniseries done in HD, it's short and stunning and it explores various habitats and the creatures found there. The jungle episode made me think I was watching Alice In Wonderland. Along the same lines, but not quite as good is Earth, Power of the Planet which examines parts of the earth that keep us alive (volcanoes, atmosphere, oceans, etc.).

    This might be pushing the definition of documentary but, if you are a car person or if you wish Nitro Circus was done with old, nerdy British men, watch Top Gear. It's part car-porn, part British humor, part stupid motor challenge, but it's entertaining and you get to see some truly cool things (fastest vehicles of 1949 race, crossing Vietnam on a motorcycle that costs less than a pair of Jordans, racing $1M super cars in Dubai). Plus there are 13 seasons out.
     
  5. lust4life

    lust4life
    Expand Collapse
    Emotionally Jaded

    Reputation:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2009
    Messages:
    2,562
    Location:
    Deepinthehearta, TX
    If you're into psychology, This Emotional Life which aired recently on PBS is quite interesting.
     
  6. Crown Royal

    Crown Royal
    Expand Collapse
    Emotionally Jaded

    Reputation:
    638
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2009
    Messages:
    16,677
    Location:
    London, Ontario
    The Thin Blue Line (1988)

    This is the best documentary I've ever seen, and my vote for the greatest documentary ever made. Chimed in with a haunting music score (usually I'm not a Phillip Glass fan), it's about Docu-wizard Errol Morris' quest to prove that a drifter Randal Adams didn't murder a Dallas policeman, but the piece of shit that ratted him out (and sent him to death row) did.

    It's a mesmerizing account on Morris' war to release an innocent man, and this film wqas so brilliantly calculated that the accused was quickly dismissed of the charges after the film's release.

    This film is an absolute must-see. You owe it to yourself.
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Trifecta

    Trifecta
    Expand Collapse
    Village Idiot

    Reputation:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    27
    Here's some documentaries I'd recommend:

    Lake of Fire
    Easily the most honest and even-handed discussion and inquiry into abortion I have ever seen. It never really preaches one point or the other. It does, however, show a woman before and after the abortion and the effects of it. Pretty graphic for many people. I thought this was fantastic and extremely informative.

    Waco: The Rules of Engagement
    I never knew much about Waco, as I was pretty young when it happened. Too young to really know what was going on. However, it was such a huge event of the 90's that I wanted to learn more.

    This movie hits hard. It lays out the facts in the actual police records and the FBI/ATF footage. It is shocking to see what happened.

    This one's on Google Video for free if anyone's interested:
    <a class="postlink" href="http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...7966377572665#" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...7966377572665#</a>

    Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About his Father
    This is about failures of the U.S. and Canadian police/justice systems. I don't want to get into too much detail, but this one is an emotional sledgehammer. They do a great job portraying all the characters involved, and you really connect with them and relate to them. By the time the movie is over, it is so powerful that you just need to sit and absorb it.

    Frontline: Bush's War
    Everything there is to know about the Iraq War. This is not really entertainment though. The people who were in the positions of power (CIA leaders, White House officials, U.S. Military officer, etc.) all talk about what happened. You get to hear it from the horse's mouth. This is an incredible 2 hour summary of everything leading into the Iraq War.

    You can see it online at:
    <a class="postlink" href="http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/bushswar/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/bushswar/</a>

    Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
    One of the best documentaries I've ever seen. They somehow managed to take something as boring as the Enron scandal and make it into a really interesting and entertaining movie. They use interesting visuals and humor to keep it interesting while also explaining the complexities of what was going on.
     
  8. KIMaster

    KIMaster
    Expand Collapse
    Emotionally Jaded

    Reputation:
    1
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2009
    Messages:
    1,870
    I actually forgot to mention my favorite documentary ever;

    Story of the Gun

    They showed this on A&E in the mid 90s, and it's one one of the most fascinating and engaging shows I have ever seen. It chronicles the technology, use, and history of guns since the early match lock rifles in the 13th century all the way to Kalashnikovs and M-16s in the present day, as well as the major wars, and personalities involved with them.

    There are demonstrations of old and new firearms, technical discussions of why one gun was superior to another, as well as historical re-enactments. They also interview historians, museum curators, and people involved in the manufacture and distribution of popular guns today.

    Outstanding documentary for anyone who has ever wondered about one of the most important shapers of history.
     
  9. Crown Royal

    Crown Royal
    Expand Collapse
    Emotionally Jaded

    Reputation:
    638
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2009
    Messages:
    16,677
    Location:
    London, Ontario
    I don't think I've ever seen a film that caused more simmering, white-knuckle anger in me than this crisp, straight-forward documentary. Jeff Skilling has to be the very epitome of the fat rich white scum bag that has taken part in destroying Western society for the last 25 years. I could kill him with a bucket of water and a bad extension cord. If he gets raped in jail that would be too good for him or Kenneth Fucking Lay.

    This film was exceptionally detailed and very entertaining to watch, but I've never known a person to watch it and not feel infuriated afterwards.
     
  10. Gravitas

    Gravitas
    Expand Collapse
    Emotionally Jaded

    Reputation:
    1
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2009
    Messages:
    1,905
    Location:
    somewhere vaguely rapey
    The Weather Underground

    I don't watch a lot of documentaries, but I found this one to be absolutely riveting. You can watch it in its entirety on google video http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6078589535743610981#.

    One of the reasons I think I found this so enthralling was because I had never even really heard of the Weather Underground. After the 2008 election I think everyone in the United States had heard of Bill Ayers, but I never investigated what he and his associates had actually done.

    Here is the basic story outline of the documentary from wikipedia:

    To me, the story is about a group of young people that lost control of their message and essentially went nuts. They basically unravel over time. Today some of the people involved are completely unrepentant while others view their actions in a more reflective way.

    This documentary offers an interesting contrast and comparison between the 1960's students and antiwar movement and the students and protests of today. I know a lot of people against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but none of them are leading protests that shut down campuses for days at a time. Or forming groups dedicated to the violent overthrow of the United States government either.

    Watch the first five minutes. If that doesn't hook you I'm not sure what will.
     
  11. Frebis

    Frebis
    Expand Collapse
    Emotionally Jaded

    Reputation:
    260
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2009
    Messages:
    2,104
    Most documentaries don't really move me, because I could care less about how shitty other people have it, etc. However, I watched Beer Wars last week and it moved me. If you are a fan of good beer, do yourself a favor and see this film. Because of it I will never drink anything from the big 3 again.
     
  12. Maltob14

    Maltob14
    Expand Collapse
    Space Cadet

    Reputation:
    2
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2010
    Messages:
    938
    Location:
    Halifax, NS
    The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara

    I loved this documentary not only because of the interesting topics touched on, but the presentation as well. I'm sure we can all imagine how boring a movie on statistics can be, but this one was engaging throughout.
     
  13. KIMaster

    KIMaster
    Expand Collapse
    Emotionally Jaded

    Reputation:
    1
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2009
    Messages:
    1,870
    I've been watching a lot of documentaries recently, and oddly enough, the only good ones I've seen have been about sports. While most of ESPN's "30 for 30" was poor, I was very impressed by The Best that Never Was. It starts off by following a fat, middle-aged black truck driver, solemnly doing his job on a cold morning in a hick Southern town. Then, some yokel with a crazy twang asks him if he really is Marcus Dupree, once the name of a legendary athletic marvel and can't miss superstar. The fat black man replies in the affirmative.

    I actually learned some things, like the nature of a small Southern town, Marcus's simple, trusting nature, regret over mistakes made before he hit 20, the fraudulent leech of a "reverend" that served as his agent, or how far removed Marcus is today from that past, as he stares in awe at his own high school highlights, noting that it looks like someone else. Even the attempts at emotion resonate, especially those of Marcus's younger brother.

    It's a very well-told piece, extracting as much interesting, in-depth information as it can given the premise.

    Anyways, with some highly acclaimed documentaries coming out this year, like Restrepo, this topic deserves a resurrection.
     
  14. Average Idiot

    Average Idiot
    Expand Collapse
    Village Idiot

    Reputation:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2010
    Messages:
    13
    Surfwise was a fantastic documentary about a family that lived in an RV, traveling around America to surf. The kids were all surfing legends, and surprisingly all of them turned out ok and mildly successful.

    Man on Wire is another one that I enjoyed, and absolutely adored by the critics. Story of a man who dreamed to walk between the Twin Towers on a tightrope, more proof that the French have too much time on their hands.
     
  15. scotchcrotch

    scotchcrotch
    Expand Collapse
    Emotionally Jaded

    Reputation:
    18
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2009
    Messages:
    1,978
    Location:
    ATL
    Religulous- A decent documentary about organized religion with Bill Maher.

    It's been awhile since I saw it, but I recall him tip toeing around Islam while outright offending Christians and Jews.

    I lost a little respect for Bill after that.
     
  16. Rutabaga

    Rutabaga
    Expand Collapse
    Village Idiot

    Reputation:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2009
    Messages:
    21
    When We Were Kings
    If you like boxing at all this is an awesome film. It details the lead up to the Rumble in the Jungle – Muhammad Ali vs George Foreman. It uses mostly primary source material, with some but not a ton of interview and voiceover. Especially the first half of the film shows just how charismatic Ali was and just how beautifully he could talk shit.

    Anyone who likes the Enron doc should check out the show American Greed on CNBC. It is a show about white collar criminals and scam artists. Some are a little lame, but some, like the pharmacist who diluted chemo medications to the point where they contained less than 1% of the amount he was supposed to be providing, are as enraging and evil as the Enron stuff.
     
  17. hawkeyenick

    hawkeyenick
    Expand Collapse
    Experienced Idiot

    Reputation:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2009
    Messages:
    129
    While he focused more on Christianity than anything else, I don't think he tiptoed around Islam. There was one point in the film where he was interviewing Muslims who essentially out-and-out said that murdering for Islam was totally supported by the Koran and cool with them. And these were the people who identified themselves as more liberal members of the Muslim community. Really, I don't think Maher had to say much when what they were saying on their own made the point for him. I think its possible Maher pulled back a bit on Islam, but I think it has more to do with him having more personal issues with Christianity and desiring to focus more on that.

    I do think a documentary that really explores Islam as a society in depth would be informative and interesting. When seemingly normal and integrated into society Muslims express the belief that murder and violence is supported by their foundational document, it really makes me wonder about what is being taught by the Islamic church. If anyone knows of one, I'd like to hear about it.

    I will second Beer Wars being an excellent documentary. I love beer and I had gotten into trying different microbrews whenever I could, and seeing the challenges faced by those small companies in a market dominated by basically 2 companies (at the time of filming 3) really encouraged me to continue expanding my palate and to support places trying to provide a product that is enjoyed by more than just the lowest common denominator.

    I will also second the specific film from the 30 for 30 series mentioned by KIMaster, The Best That Never Was. It was by far the best one of the series that I saw, and it was an excellent, excellent film. Besides what KI mentioned, I thought the interview with Barry Switzer was the most intriguing part of the movie. He said that the way he handled Marcus Dupree was his greatest coaching regret, and I truly believed it. The story was both inspiring and heartbreaking at the same time. I am hoping that once all of the series is out on DVD that the price will be reasonable to buy them all. I saw a few of the series, and every one of them was great. The Guru of Go was my other favorite from the series. The film covered the offense of Paul Westhead, and broke it down really well. But the most compelling part of the film was the coverage of Hank Gaithers' collapse on the court and death.
     
  18. Viking33

    Viking33
    Expand Collapse
    Disturbed

    Reputation:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2009
    Messages:
    313
    Restrepo. Holy shit go watch it now. You'll never look at the Afghanistan war the same way again...
     
  19. Gargamelon

    Gargamelon
    Expand Collapse
    Average Idiot

    Reputation:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2010
    Messages:
    61
    American Movie is one of the best/funniest/memorable movies I've seen period. It's about a determined and surprisingly smart guy from a wisconsin backwater town and his dream to make horror movies. He's overflowing with passion energy, and vision, but lacking any of the sense or organization he needs. It's good. Watch it.

    Obscure one but very moving is The Cats of Mirikitani. A film-maker in New York was befriending a japenese homeless man, trying to make a documentary about him. Every day he draws cats and an odd city surrounded by a fence. Then 9/11 happened and she took him in--and learns about how his life was tragically altered by Japenese internment. It's a very personal story that speaks volumes on big social issues, and ties in Japenese internment with the post 9/11 muslim hating. It's a bit of a tearjerker, both happy and sad.
     
  20. eno

    eno
    Expand Collapse
    Village Idiot

    Reputation:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2009
    Messages:
    13
    An Encounter at the end of the world by Werner Herzog is a poetic tale about Antarctica and its inhabitants.

    Can you relate to this little guy? If so, I’d recommend it.

     
    #20 eno, Dec 10, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 27, 2015