Saturday, September 25, 2010

5 documentaries that are worth watching.

I love real life stories. No, not Toddler and Tiaras... interesting real life stories. Documentaries. The ones that leave me wanting to learn more about the topic. (Ala This American Life. Watch it. Listen to it. Good stuff.) As I was trying to find a new one to watch today, I thought I might share a few of my favorites in case any of you are as enthralled with them as I am.

If you have never been, check out It is just as the name of the site implies: some of the greatest documentaries online for you to watch at will, for free. If not there, you will find plenty on Hulu or even on the instant watch if you have Netflix. I guess if you are inclined by your twentieth century technology, you could *gasp* rent them.(If that is even possible anymore??)

1. One of my all time favorites is Tarnation, a movie made by Jonathan Caouette. It compiles 20 years of hundreds of hours of old Super 8 footage, VHS videotape, photographs, and answering machine messages to tell the story of his life and his relationship with his mentally ill mother Renee. The saddest part is to see Renee's unnecessary transformation over 30 years due to the fact that she was treated with electroshock in her youth. She did not need this electroshock therapy, which resulted in her lifelong insanity. It is the type of film that is so powerful, it is uncomfortable to watch. As a matter of fact, I had to shut it off the first night I watched it because it creeped me out that much. It is simply a well made movie that I would recommend to anyone.

2. Speaking of mental illness, I also loved Grey Gardens. It is the story of the lunacy of a mother and daughter, or perhaps that pure happiness can be found in this lunacy.

3. One of those films that will change your mindset and personal habits is Food, Inc.

It is one of my personal favorites especially since Gary Hirshberg is involved. Gary is a local hero to me as the chairman, president and CEO of Stonyfield Farm, an organic yogurt producer, based in Londonderry, New Hampshire. (Stonyfield has even contributed to building my local parks- reason #343 why I love them.) Watch this film with your children as they start to learn about healthy eating (but not so young that it might scare them!)

4. The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia- This movie will not be released until October 26, so I had to watch it in 10 parts on YouTube. It is the story of a gas-huffing , drug dealing, pill popping, murdering family in West Virginia. I loved it so much because the tragic family reminded me of my extended family back home in Maine. Although, you know what they have that my family doesn't? A fantastic tap dancing lineage.

If only we had a Jesco White to sauce up our family gatherings!

5. 'The Most Hated Family in America' is the story of the We$stboro Baptist Church as told by a BBC documentary. The 'church' became famous since the Iraq war by protesting at veterans funerals and other equally vile tactics to 'promote' God. I despise what these people stand for and, if you watch the film, you will understand why.

1 comment:

  1. Those all sound pretty interesting - I will have to check them out.

    I am usually more of a wildlife/nature documentary fan myself. (if you ever feel the need to watch an AMAZING documentary about the lives of bugs check out Microcosmos - seriously phenomenal!! Great for kids too!!)