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  1. #1
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus jaguar skills's Avatar
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    Documentary recommendations

    I've been on a bit of a documentary spree on Netflix lately. Can't get enough of them. Problem is, the recommendation algorithm is absolute dogshit so it always takes ages for me to find the next hit.

    Anyone got some gems I may have missed? Region isn't an issue, doesn't have to be limited to the UK selection.

    I'll throw out a few that I enjoyed to kick things off;

    Into The Abyss - Werner Herzog interviews a guy due to be executed in a week for an awful crime, and also talks to others caught up in the aftermath

    Happy People - Werner Herzog again, spending a year with some of the most remote people on earth as they hunt and survive in an incredibly hostile part of Siberia

    Knuckle - A documentary spanning 20+ years of feuding between two Irish traveller families and the fights between their bare knuckle boxers

    The Act of Killing - Gangsters involved in the violence of Indonesias communist hunt in the 60's/70's recreate their crimes on camera, possibly one of the most disturbing pieces of work I've seen (yeah, I'm just all butterflies and sunshine)

    Mirage Men - Looking at the possibility that most, if not all of the alien mythology coming out of the US over the last 60 years has been the result of government misinformation to cover up the far more crucial information about advanced weaponry testing. This one was very special as I had all sorts of baggage going in and yet it still surprised me and confronted certain predispositions I had about the subject.

    Cocaine Cowboys / Cocaine Cowboys 2 - The first is an amazing study of the Florida cocaine boom in the eighties, it focusses mainly on the smugglers, dealers and hitmen involved and talks briefly about the woman overseeing it all who makes Scarface look like a pussycat. The second documentary somehow manages to be at least as fascinating as, from jail, the same woman starts a relationship with a young drug dealer from Oakland. Don't want to give anything away but both pieces are hypnotic.

    Dogtown and Z-Boys / Bones Brigade / Waiting for Lightning - Pretty much essential viewing if you've ever had a passing interest in skateboarding but riveting even if not. The first is about the 70's skateboarding scene and the California-based surfers who transformed it from a 60's fad to near enough the machine it is today. Bones Brigade picks up the story in the 80's, when a member of that original group put together another team featuring kids who would go on to be icons in the sport (Tony Hawk and Rodney Mullen being two of the best known). Finally, Waiting for Lightning is about 90's - present icon Danny Way and his quest to jump over Chinas Great Wall. All brilliant for different reasons, but each great insights into the sort of obsessive, insane mind it takes to be the best at your chosen field.

    Ayahuasca Vine of the Soul - A documentary exploring the spiritual shortcut possible with DMT, a powerful hallucinogen used in ceremonies for hundreds of years in Peru. It's become popular with westerners seeking enlightenment through the least amount of work possible, and apparently acts as a purging process for the soul. Whatever your opinion on that sort of thing, it's an interesting watch.

    Cosmos - The new one, with Neil Tyson. I don't think anyone will spend this much money on proper educational TV for a long time, so make the most of it and watch it!

    Inequality for All - Essentially a lecture, but structured to be easy to digest and fun to watch. It's about how the structure of the USA has gradually eroded, resulting in economic and political dysfunction. It's very left-leaning (probably not too much of a problem around here), but eloquently argued. I'd be interested to see a companion piece done by one of those Randian libertarian nutters.

    Right, I think that gives you an idea of where my tastes are. What shall I watch next?
    Last edited by jaguar skills; 19-09-2014 at 07:12 PM.
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  2. #2
    Network Hub moms's Avatar
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    My hubby is the real documentary watcher in our household, though occasionally I will watch with him. The following list is what he suggested.. well, all but one of em, which I suggested.
    Can you guess which one I picked?
    Some are just an episode from a documentary series, some feature length projects, one is epic in length.
    (We've watched all these via NetFlix, so, should hopefully be available to you.)

    First off, if you have alot of time to kill there is the Up series.
    Otherwise, there's these, which would be more conventional in format and length..

    Bettie Page Reveals All

    Particle Fever


    Gimme Shelter

    The Lost Diary of Dr Livingstone

    Madness In The White City
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    I guess you watched Grizzly Man and Encounters At The End Of The World, also by Herzog?

    The Hip Hop Years is a must see; even if you are knowledgeable about the subject you will enjoy the interviews with MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice.

    Anything by Adam Curtis, particularly The Century Of The Self and Pandora's Box.

    Gods In The Sky by Allan Chapman, about astronomy and religions. Watch it instead of Zeitgeist, which is bullshit.

    The Fog of War, an extended interview with Robert MacNamara, about Vietnam and other subjects.

    The Coconut Revolution, basically Avatar in real life. Inspiring. I guess this is the one I'd recommend above the others.

    Contagion is fictional but carefully researched speculative fiction, about a killer virus and the reponse to it. Similar to Traffic, about the drugs trade.

    Then there's Baraka, and Koyaanisqatsi and its sequels. No words, just video and Philip Glass music.

  4. #4
    Network Hub laldy's Avatar
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    "The smartest men in the room." About the Enron collapse. (God's away on Business plays over the end credits....)
    You can find a lot of Adam Curtis' documentaries on youtube. Watch them all. Jaw dropping stuff. His last doc series, "all watched over by machines of love and grace" is amazing. All of his docs make you despair for the human race.
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  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sabrage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by laldy View Post
    You can find a lot of Adam Curtis' documentaries on youtube. Watch them all. Jaw dropping stuff. His last doc series, "all watched over by machines of love and grace" is amazing. All of his docs make you despair for the human race.
    Adam has a way with archival footage. Mesmerizing.

    Anything by Herzog and Errol Morris is more than worth watching. I've recently enjoyed My Best Fiend and A Brief History of Time, respectively.

    Jodorowsky's Dune is a treasure trove of beautiful concept art. If you don't know anything about Jodorowsky, his magnetic personality is on full display.

    Sugar Man is one of the few movies I can recommend as "heart-warming" without cringing.

    And opposite that, Jesus Camp is absolutely horrifying, and I'd imagine moreso if you don't live anywhere near the Bible Belt. Its tendency to editorialize is absolutely un-needed given the subject matter though.

    Devil's Playground documents the Amish practice of Rumspringa for another look at strange American customs. An interesting look into a very isolated culture, worth watching for the culture shock (both the viewer's and the subjects') alone.

  6. #6
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    Apologies for multiple posts, but my phone is being rubbish. So:
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    The Bridge - all about suicides from the Golden Gate Bridge. Brilliant and affecting
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    The Crash Reel - The story of a pro snowboarder and his traumatic brain injury. Really moving.
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    20 Feet From Stardom - Great doc about backing singers from the 50s until now. Deserved it's Oscar.
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  10. #10
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    Blackfish - an investigation into Seaworld's most lethal Orca and why he's killed so many trainers
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  11. #11
    Network Hub laldy's Avatar
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    This lot of suggestions should keep you busy for a while JS

    Also, given that this is the anniversary of the start of the Great War, I heartily recommend the excellent BBC series "The Great War", 26 episodes with a lot of footage rarely seen in other WW1 documentaries, and interviews with veterans and civilians (if you have seen a lot of interviews with WW1 veterans, you'll recognise several of them). Created in 1964 (year of my birth), it was the model that ITV used for "The World at War", the series about "The Great War, Round 2".
    Last edited by laldy; 20-09-2014 at 10:01 AM.
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  12. #12
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Cephas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guvornator View Post
    Blackfish - an investigation into Seaworld's most lethal Orca and why he's killed so many trainers
    Very interesting documentary that

  13. #13
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus jaguar skills's Avatar
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    Some great suggestions there, I should be busy for quite a while with that little lot but keep 'em coming!
    Quote Originally Posted by Kanye West
    I think what Kanye West is going to mean is something similar to what Steve Jobs means. I am undoubtedly, you know, Steve of Internet, downtown, fashion, culture. Period.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kanye West
    I am God's vessel. But my greatest pain in life is that I will never be able to see myself perform live.



  14. #14
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    Searching for Sugarman
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  15. #15
    Network Hub moms's Avatar
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    Oh, and how could I have forgotten... Crumb.

    Though, don't know if you can get it from NetFlix.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by moms View Post
    Oh, and how could I have forgotten... Crumb.

    Though, don't know if you can get it from NetFlix.
    Nice! Although I would probably read a bunch of Robert Crumb comics to get a sense of his life. Or just read the caveman one.

    Reminds me of American Splendour too, although it's technically a fictionalised account of his life it also features Harvey Pekar as himself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rizlar View Post
    Nice! Although I would probably read a bunch of Robert Crumb comics to get a sense of his life. Or just read the caveman one.

    Reminds me of American Splendour too, although it's technically a fictionalised account of his life it also features Harvey Pekar as himself.
    Ooo, yeah.. I missed American Splendor. Heard it was good, though I'm not a real big Paul Giamatti fan. (Hated Sideways.)
    Still, the subject matter interests me, so gonna put American Splendor on my To Watch list.
    Thanks Riz.. and sorry Jag, for jerking the topic my way.
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  18. #18
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus jaguar skills's Avatar
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    Not at all! If documentaries are being recommended, that's all I'm here for.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kanye West
    I think what Kanye West is going to mean is something similar to what Steve Jobs means. I am undoubtedly, you know, Steve of Internet, downtown, fashion, culture. Period.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kanye West
    I am God's vessel. But my greatest pain in life is that I will never be able to see myself perform live.



  19. #19
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    Shoah - if 566 minute long holocaust documentaries are your thing. I'll be honest and say that I have it but haven't had the heart to start watching it beyond a few minutes.

    Really want to see The Act Of Killing, disturbing as it sounds from the synopsis.

  20. #20
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Cooper's Avatar
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    Sound it out

    75 mins on the last vinyl record shop in Teeside.

    Not really either exceptionally interesting or covering grand sweeping issues like some of the other suggestions, but it's really lovingly put together.
    Quote Originally Posted by CROCONOUGHTKEY
    KING GEORGE IS A FROG
    le BANG~__-MICHEAL FUCK OFF~~__-INTERPOL KNOW YOU WELLBIENG~—
    OFF
    NOT RUSHMORE MOUNTAIN
    KILL WESTON KILL MUST KILLTHEWESTERNINMYHEADDOESN’TEXSIST
    TEXASISDEADINPARISHEWASAMAN..BINGBING.TETTOHEAD.SP ACEOK,TIMEDEADANDSTOPPED1920HOKKAIDO.UNDERSTOODAT1 ONE.
    UNDERSTANDTHISANDFUCKOFFPIRATEBAY.TIMEDOESNTEXSIST FORMEASIMPATEKPHILLPE.
    BANG

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