The first documentary I saw was The Fog of War at the Biograph Theater during a film course at DePaul University and based on that film I’m surprised I love documentaries as much as I do. #snoozefest. Being open minded I watched Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine and it was then I realized I wanted more. More opinions, more stories, more real life. In the words of ABBA, gimme gimme gimme!!! I could watch a documentary a day if I had the time. I find them to be so incredibly interesting, thought provoking, excellent conversation pieces and some of the best films I’ve seen in my life. Here are just a few of my favorite documentary films I’ve seen over the course of several years…more to come my friends!
If I were Roger Ebert I would definitely give his documentary about his life a two thumbs up. I’d give more if I could. I didn’t know I love Ebert as much as I do until I saw Life Itself. It starts from Roger’s birth and goes on to detail his schooling, his expansive career as a film critic and his relationship with the love of his life, his friends and family. Oh! Let’s not forget about his tumultuous relationship with Gene Siskel. Who knew behind the scenes there was so much tension yet they worked incredibly well together, well, for the most part. We follow Ebert as he receives treatment for his illness later in life, which is heartbreaking and difficult to watch, but he was such a fighter and so frigging positive. In his film, he has a very special way of inspiring his viewers and sharing everything about himself. We see his love and zest for life and his work, right up until a day before he passed. Life Itself was a beautiful documentary about a man that loved his life and the people in it.
Hungry for Change is completely responsible for changing the way I eat, buy and look at food. I literally took notes and watched it back to back to let all of the information sink in. This is not a fear mongering film, it is based on facts and more facts. We hear from nutritionists, doctors and scientists as they explain how the body reacts to what we put in it, both the good stuff and the bad stuff. If you are looking to understand food and how you have the power to put what is best on your dinner table and in your beautiful body then watch Hungry for Change. Be prepared to be wowed.
Holy shitballs! Prepare to have your jaw hit the floor a few times and then a few more times after that as you follow Preacher Becky lead children while they attend Jesus Camp. The film focuses on several children and detail their experiences as they are home schooled about creationism and the “non-issue” of global warming, their preparation before camp and ultimately their time spent away from home learning about their religion and Jesus. Buckle up buttercups! We watch as the tiny children are taught about abortion, how they are sinners in the eyes of God and how Preacher Becky “knows” each of them behave sinfully at home and school. Seriously? On another day, a cardboard cutout of President Bush is brought in to greet the children and is there for them to touch and pray to it/him. These poor children are seen weeping and barely able to take a breath in because they literally have the fear of God in them. To put things into perspective: according to their preacher, “Harry Potter is a warlock and warlocks are enemy of Jesus and if he were alive when the Bible was written, he would have been put to death”. That is the message told to these little ones. You’ll have to see it to believe it.
*Disclaimer: do not watch this movie stoned.
This film documents several children who are severely, you guessed it, bullied at school. It follows as the students are pushed, laughed at, picked on, verbally assaulted and tormented on a daily basis and in many instances, administration doing nothing in response. We are introduced to two families who lost their children as a result to constant bullying and are now taking action to fight against a very common and gigantic problem happening in schools across the country. Bully is super sad and difficult to watch at times but it is so important for parents, teachers, children and school administrators to understand this issue and know how to handle it. I have zero tolerance for little asshole bullies and after seeing this film I now have less than zero. I’m that crazy aunt that would have no problem going to the school yard and dealing with it myself if I were to find out one of my ten monkeys was being bullied and the school system was doing nothing to stop it. Watch this movie parents, get your teachers and administrators to watch it as well.
Blackfish is an incredibly powerful documentary and details so much about the captivity of animals, especially killer whales, specifically that of SeaWorld’s Tilikum. This thought provoking film goes into detail to how these beautiful whales are captured, taken from their pods, held in dark waters and eventually transferred to facilities to which they will most likely remain for the rest of their lives. Trainers and marine biologists go into detail about the effects of holding such a highly intelligent mammal in such a small, confined space…and it’s not good. I was never a supporter of zoos or any facility that held animals for the purpose of human enjoyment and this film confirms why. Support the whales, F SeaWorld.
*This recent Huffington Post article explains the effect exterior sound has on the whales.
The Culture High digs deep into this country’s war on drugs and the fight to legalize marijuana, particularly for medicinal use. I mean, it’s no secret, I’m a huge hippie at heart and I totally support the legalization of marijuana…ESPECIALLY to help the sick and dying. This is a huge moment in our lives, times are changing. This documentary portrays how marijuana is classified in this country, how people smoking grass in their own apartment are thrown to the floor by SWAT teams, searched and thrown in jail and fined $300, how a sick child’s seizures have subsided with the help of low doses of THC and the many political aspects of this situation. One of my favorite quotes is seen in the trailer where a man says, “I’m sorry you’re going to tell me, a grown man, “no, no you cannot smoke marijuana”…what??” It is a bit laughable if you think about it. Doctors, researchers and scientists along with many pro-marijuana celebs grace the screen with thought provoking pieces of evidence, facts and ideas. This film is packed with very interesting information and you’ll also have a few laughs as well.
*Disclaimer: watch this movie stoned.
How did I do Roger??? Was this up to your standards, sort of?:) xo