TOP 5 DOCUMENTARIES
I don’t watch as many docs as I’d like to which is a shame because in the last 10 or so years docs have gotten really good. I typically watch about 6 to 15 a year depending on the year. Not a ton considering I see hundreds of films a year. Still, I’ve seen enough to know that these 5 are pretty effing good.
As usual, with my lists, these are not the 5 greatest docs of all time. These are my top 5… but I stand by them. Here they are (in order):
5. BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE.
How morbid is this German poster?
Michael Moore… love him or hate him, and his politics, you can’t say he doesn’t make a good doc. Not only does he make them but he’s been making them for the better part of 4 decades (80’s, 90’s, 00’s and, presumably, teens). Bowling for Columbine is not only a good doc but it was the first doc that I actually saw in a theater. It was also the first documentary to be a financial hit, earning nearly 22 million dollars off a 4 million dollar budget. This is also the main reason we’ve gotten a steady flow of interesting docs since because it proved that these films could earn money.
Now, some people don’t like Moore’s documentarias because they feel he skews the audiences views on his subjects by injecting his own narratives. However, if you think all Documentarians aren’t trying to skew viewpoints (be it through footage used, dialogue chosen or voice over) you are all kinds of Mel Gibson insane!
4. THE KING OF KONG: A FISTFUL OF QUARTERS.
I don’t know what’s cooler…. this movie or the fact that I just bought it for 2 dollars! The film chronicles family man Steve Wiebe who, after losing his job, goes on a quest to break the world record high score on Donkey Kong. The drama surrounding the reaction this causes from the world record holder, Hot Sauce Mogul Billy Mitchell (you can’t make that shit up), is what fuels this classic doc. Here’s a shot of good ol’ Billy to give you an idea of the treats this movie has in store for you.
Who knew a national spelling bee could be so interesting… well, I’ve watched them on ESPN, oddly, and they’re not! What is interesting, however, are the kids spotlighted in this film. Spellbound chronicles 8 kids on their path to competing in the 1999 Scripp’s National Spelling Bee. In some cases, it’s a lot like watching Stage Moms… only nerdier. In other cases, it’s the kids themselves that make this little film so riveting. Like the young man with ADHD who says this classic line of dialogue in the film: I-AM-A-RO-BOT!
This one pisses me off and entertains the hell out of me all at the same time. As many of you know, my dream is to become a screenwriter… one of the toughest gigs to get in the world. Well, this film chronicles the dream being given to one Troy Duffy. Duffy was a bartender when his script for The Boondock Saints was swept up by the, at the time, powerful movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of Miramax Films. Weinstein loved the script sooooo much, he offered Duffy a million bucks, let him direct the film, arranged a record deal for his band and offered to buy Duffy the bar he loved and worked in.
You’d think when something like this happens to you, you’d be humbled and gracious… not Duffy! As a result, Duffy’s ego swells to the size of my… well… it gets REALLY big! What follows is one douchebags descent into a void of douchebaggery. He’s given the world in Cinderella fashion and, in the end, he ends up with nothing. Along the way, you cringe and watch with your jaw on the floor! An even greater film if you’re a fan of The Boondock Saints.
Hey, I’m not trying to point fingers here. I’m a pretty big nerd. I go to Comic-Con every year (exccept this year sadly), I collect toys and I have a movie blog and podcast for Chrissakes! However, I’m able to make a few distinctions. For instance, hobbies and responsibilities, fantasy world versus real life. I mean, I’d love to be a Jedi as much as the next guy but I’m not going to walk around in a robe with a lightsaber strapped to my hip pretendfing to really be one. Common sense you say? Not for everyone!
Trekkies follows the nerdiest of the nerds who can’t seem to distinguish the line between fantasy and reality. It is an utterly rewatchable and enjoyable doc which is why it makes my number 1. People have attempted to copy it, with The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, but the Star Trek fans reign solo at the top of geek mountain. Still not convinced. Well, if you need one reason to see it, how ’bout this guy?
Anybody else get the vibe he has lamps in his house made of human skin?