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Alex
05-12-2007, 04:59 AM
Been on a kick with them lately, but i've run out of big name titles.
Blockbuster online, for some reason, doesn't put all it's documentaries under that tab, so i have to manualy search by title, so if you guys know of any good ones (any topic will do), lemme know.

Infra-Man
05-12-2007, 06:36 AM
Some of my favorite documentaries:

American Movie - Mark Borchardt and his friend Mike Schank are trying to make a full-length film. As Mark's ambitions crumble under the weight of his big talk, he tries to make a short film instead. This documentary follows the trials and tribulations in Mark's life as he tries to complete the short film. A lot of my friends find this one depressing, but I think it's a really moving depiction of a guy going after his dream. It's also one of my favorite movies.

The Cruise - Speed Levitch is one quirky, tripped out guy prone to waxing philosopical and poetic about New York City. If anything, that makes him the perfect guided bus tour guide. This doc chronicles Levitch's life and gives people an idea what his bus tour was like.

Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. - Can't go wrong with an Errol Morris doc. This one concerns Leuchter, an engineer who developed/improved devices for capital punishment. Leuchter is then called in to research Nazi concentration camps in a trial involving a holocaust denier. Using bad research methods and specious reasoning, Leuchter eventually buys into Holocaust denial. Interesting portrait of a deluded man. Definitely also check out other Morris docs like The Thin Blue Line (about a wrongful conviction in Texas), Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control (about how genius manifests itself in similar yet different ways), and The Fog of War (which centers around the hard lessons learned by former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara).

Lost in La Mancha - A must for Terry Gilliam fans, the movie shows the total failure of Gilliam's production of The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. It's heartbreaking but fascinating and makes me love Gilliam's work even more than I already do.

Capturing the Friedmans - The film follows the sexual deviance and pervsion perpetrated by Arnold Friedman, a man who, with his son Jesse, allegedly molested children during his private computer class. The dissolution of the Friedman family and their heat ache is told using their own home video footage.

K'Nort
05-12-2007, 08:05 AM
Can you search Netflix without a membership? They group all their documentaries together. Plus they have a ton of subcategories.

I second the recommendations for American Movie and anything by Errol Morris. (He's working on Abu Ghraib now, by the way.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_documentaries

Conn Seanery
05-12-2007, 08:09 AM
Baraka. A visual masterpiece.

Kirayoshi
05-12-2007, 08:36 AM
Murderball, about quadriplegics who play wheelchair rugby. Powerful stuff, well presented, and makes the principal players a lot more accessable.

BoosterBronze
05-12-2007, 12:20 PM
You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train: About groundbreaking historian Howard Zinn.

Lalee's Kin: A documentary about poverty in Louisiana (EDIT: I apologize... Mississipi, I can never keep Deltas straight)... it blew me away.

Infra-Man
05-12-2007, 02:05 PM
Another one that may be worth checking out:

Overnight - The film follows Troy Duffy, the writer/director of home video cult hit The Boondock Saints, as he self-destructs and acts like a total douchebag to his friends, his family, and the people who care about him. It's a cautionary tale about an egomaniac gone wild. It's a well made doc, but I admit that I enjoyed it mostly for schadenfreude value (then again I'm one of the few people in my age group who thinks Boondock Saints is a crap movie).

The Batman
05-12-2007, 02:09 PM
I recently saw Why We Fight which I really enjoyed. Also, the Macnemera doc Fog of War was interesting.

I've always enjoyed the Ken Burn's Civil War and Jazz docs too though they're admittedly a little less current and maybe compelling than some of the more recent ones that other people have listed.

ragnarok_2012
05-12-2007, 02:52 PM
I'm a big fan of documentaries, Alex. Here are some ideas:

*This Film is Not Yet Rated: a guy decides to hire a private eye to figure out who exactly rates films and how they go about doing it. He interviews several filmmakers (who are all rather critical of the US rating system), figures out who does the rating, and there are all sorts of surprises along the way. I think it's quite fun to watch him as he submits an early version of his documentary to the MPAA ratings board.

*The Yes Men: a group of political activists pretend to represent GATT (i.e., free trade). Hillarity ensues.

*Why We Fight is a good antiwar documentary.

*Sir, No Sir is another one (this one is about the Vietnam War).

*Super Size Me is quite good.

*I hear Orson Welles' F for Fake is very good, though I have yet to watch it.

Dr. Banner
05-12-2007, 03:04 PM
Predator.

Best documentary ever.

LtMarvel
05-12-2007, 03:11 PM
Grizzly Man (about a guy who volunteered to live among bears and filmed them for school kids)

March of the Penguins will make you thankful that you are not a penguin.

Planet Earth was just on Discovery and now on DVD. This was an amazing series as the filmmakers deliberately set out to get footage no one ever had before.

Wordplay, about the NY Times crossword puzzle and their devoted fans/competitors.

Spellbound about the National Spelling Bee (I went to graduate school in the same town of one of the regional finals).

When We Were Kings about a legendary Ali fight.

Panet Earth and March of the Penguins would look best on one of them fancy dancy HDTVs...

Infra-Man
05-12-2007, 03:31 PM
*I hear Orson Welles' F for Fake is very good, though I have yet to watch it.

F for Fake is really fun. It's so quirky and whimsical, like getting into this winding conversation with Welles about fakery that goes on separate but related tangents. A lot of the fun comes from the metafictive elements that Welles incorporates in the film.

---

Also, Alex, if you dig Wordplay and Spellbound, you might as well check out Word Wars, a documentary on Scrabble players. It's basically the same formula, i.e., meet people, they compete. Spellbound is still the best of these word competition docs since it set up the formula. I'm hoping the next documentary on word-based interests balks this format and does something differnet.

ultramandingo
05-12-2007, 03:36 PM
crumb - the super creepy comics legend and his wacked out family

Sabrina_Fried
05-12-2007, 04:42 PM
I'll second the nomination for Planet Earth, especially if you like nature films.

If you are looking for something more political, I'm not sure if this one is even available on DVD anywhere, but there is a partially-Canadian made documentary from about 3 or 4 years ago now called Oil:The World Over a Barrel, which looks at the status of life in oil producing countries like Nigeria and discusses the politics behind oil pipelines and things like that. It shows up on the CBC every few months, since they helped fund it.

Sabrina

BoosterBronze
05-12-2007, 06:01 PM
Another one that may be worth checking out:

Overnight - The film follows Troy Duffy, the writer/director of home video cult hit The Boondock Saints, as he self-destructs and acts like a total douchebag to his friends, his family, and the people who care about him. It's a cautionary tale about an egomaniac gone wild. It's a well made doc, but I admit that I enjoyed it mostly for schadenfreude value (then again I'm one of the few people in my age group who thinks Boondock Saints is a crap movie).

Seriously, that movie was a trip and a half. I mean, does this guy NEVER for one second realize what an ass he is?

(and on a small personal note, I was about 25 yards away from the scene in the end, where a car almost hits the dude at the Palm Springs Film Festival.)

Alex
05-13-2007, 03:52 AM
Thanks guys, i've seen pretty much every political one, but i'll look into the other one.

lboinyamouf4sho
05-13-2007, 05:49 AM
anybody seen death of a president??

K'Nort
05-13-2007, 06:12 AM
Thanks guys, i've seen pretty much every political one, but i'll look into the other one.

Of what's been mentioned, I bet you'd particularly enjoy Grizzly Man.

Another: My Best Fiend. The movie director Werner Herzog talking about his long love-hate professional relationship with the actor Klaus Kinski. They made five films together. Almost no one else was willing to work with Kinski, and never more than once, and they each tried to kill the other at least once. Plus they made some really interesting films and you get bits of that too.

Infra-Man
05-13-2007, 06:13 AM
Seriously, that movie was a trip and a half. I mean, does this guy NEVER for one second realize what an ass he is?

(and on a small personal note, I was about 25 yards away from the scene in the end, where a car almost hits the dude at the Palm Springs Film Festival.)

For real. I couldn't believe someone would act like that to his friends and family, and I really couldn't believe that he'd act like such an ass on tape.

Wow, you were there? Nutty. Hehe.... so, you think it was a hit job? jk

GRANT!
05-13-2007, 09:13 AM
Sherman's March is a favorite. It's not a traditional documentary. Guy sets out to make a movie about General Sherman and his effect on the American South and talks about his own failed relationships.

frankiedetroit
05-13-2007, 05:28 PM
I really liked Comedian, about Jerry Seinfeld's attempt to do stand-up again. It gave me mad respect for him and was a really fascinating look into his creative process. It's all about being funny.

You said you've hit all the major ones, so I'll assume you've seen Hoop Dreams. If not, check it out.

A second for When We Were Kings. It's centered around Ali-Foreman, Rumble in the Jungle, but is about so much more.

Justin D.
05-13-2007, 07:25 PM
I want to second Murdeball because it's such an amazing movie. Their handicaps don't make it an amazing movie, but the way everyone bonds and the brilliant way the movie is laid out blew me away.

Spellbound, a documentary that follows eight teenagers in their journey to the 1999 national spelling bee, is much more engrossing than you'd ever think it would be. The kids range from simply amazing to freakishly dorky. You have to know what happens with every student after the first minute of introduction. If I remember correctly, there's even a bonus DVD features that shows an update of the teenagers today.

Jesus Camp is about as inflammatory and interesting as the title and trailer makes it out to be.

Going back to the wordplay again, I'll suggest Word Wars - Tiles and Tribulations on the Scrabble Game Circuit. It's another case where you think that watching a certain event, Scrabble tournaments in this case, wouldn't be exciting, but you'd be proven wrong. One of the competitors focused on in the documentary goes through what seems like gallons of Mylanta because the Scrabble games make him so nervous.

mgs
05-13-2007, 07:28 PM
Crumb, American Movie and Planet Earth are all faves.

Alex
05-14-2007, 03:24 AM
anybody seen death of a president??

Wasn't a documentary.
As far as fake documentaries goes, i thought CSA was better.

K'nort: saw Grizzly man a while back, guy was like a total nutball version of the crocodile hunter. Which reminds me that nature wants to kill us!

As to other suggestions...i just watch some Goebels one, all diary excerpts and footage of speeches, that one was alright, nothing amazing.

Justin: I don't think i can get away with Jesus Camp...Lauren randomly gets really christian, so i try to stay away from anything anti religion for fear i will lose sex. (unless its about catholics, she doesn't care if the movie trashes catholics)
I might download it on the sly though, looks interesting.
I also ordered Spellbound, My Best Friend.

Just finished This Film is not yet rated and it bored me to tears. I don't care who the people on the board are, and i didn't learn anything new.(In defense of the film, it's because i've read every point they made before)

Edit: Also ordered Crumb, btw.

Justin D.
05-14-2007, 11:48 AM
Justin: I don't think i can get away with Jesus Camp...Lauren randomly gets really christian, so i try to stay away from anything anti religion for fear i will lose sex. (unless its about catholics, she doesn't care if the movie trashes catholics)
I might download it on the sly though, looks interesting.

Jesus Camp isn't anti-religion. It's anti-fanaticism. There was an interesting controversy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_camp#Controversy) surrounding the movie when it was shown at a Michael Moore film festival. The distribution company didn't want the movie shown there because it was afraid that the public would associate it with Michael Moore and agenda-based movies. A lot of the movie involves how evangelical Christians influence, or wish to influence, the government. A lot of the time you feel sad and angry on behalf of the children in the movie.


I also ordered Spellbound, My Best Friend.

I have a feeling you'll really like it.


Edit: Also ordered Crumb, btw.

I saw Crumb so long ago that I can't remember much about it now.

One documentary I really want to see, but haven't gotten around to it yet is F**K: A Documentary. No, I didn't censor the title, that's the way it's usually written.

If you haven't seen American Movie, you must see it right away. It's likely one of the funniest and most endearing documentaries you'll ever see. First, you might want to mock Mark and Mike (the two leads), but eventually, you'll find yourself rooting for them. I've seen this a few times and it never ceases to entertain me. The most charming real-life sad sacks that ever lived fill out this documentary.

DubipR
05-14-2007, 03:56 PM
Man, where to start on this one.

You can go the Ken Burns route and watch Civil War, Baseball, and Jazz. All of them wonderful.

Here's a list of some of my favorites:
A Great Day in Harlem
Murderball
Shoah (real title is Genocide)- Perhaps the greatest doc. of all time, IMO
Enron, The Smartest Guys in the Room
Anne Frank Remembered
The Living Desert- also any of the older Disney wildlife films are worth watching at least once.
When We Were Kings
Triumph of the Will- sure its propaganda, but its great time capsule
Fast, Cheap and Out of Control- Errol Morris is god. See of of his works.
Monterey Pop
Comic Book Confidential


Start with those...once you watch those, I'll list some more.

Mike Smash!
05-14-2007, 03:59 PM
Let me toss in another vote for This Film Is Not Yet Rated -- fascinating stuff and infuriating. You won't look at film ratings in quite the same way again.

ultramandingo
05-14-2007, 06:06 PM
"heavy metal parking lot " documents the start of humankinds slow slide to doomnation

king mob
05-15-2007, 07:19 AM
Pretty much everything Nick Broomfield has done.

berk
05-15-2007, 03:40 PM
Etre et Avoir - about a one-room school in rural France;

Darwin's Nightmare (http://french.imdb.com/title/tt0424024/) - about the effects of the introduction of perch into Lake Victoria, but then about so much more

Infra-Man
05-15-2007, 05:04 PM
"heavy metal parking lot " documents the start of humankinds slow slide to doomnation

I will never be able to look at a zebra the same way again.

PRIEST RULES! DOKKEN RULES!

ultramandingo
05-15-2007, 05:38 PM
I will never be able to look at a zebra the same way again.

PRIEST RULES! DOKKEN RULES!

.........be a good double bill with " decline of the western civilization - the meatal years " , now if only " decline of the western civilization " the punk years was on dvd

K'Nort
05-15-2007, 07:18 PM
One documentary I really want to see, but haven't gotten around to it yet is F**K: A Documentary. No, I didn't censor the title, that's the way it's usually written.

Heh. That reminds me of another one: What the #$*! Do We Know?


If you haven't seen American Movie, you must see it right away. It's likely one of the funniest and most endearing documentaries you'll ever see. First, you might want to mock Mark and Mike (the two leads), but eventually, you'll find yourself rooting for them. I've seen this a few times and it never ceases to entertain me. The most charming real-life sad sacks that ever lived fill out this documentary.

I barely remember that one. I saw it in the theatre, so it's been a while. But I do remember I liked it.

nervmeister
05-15-2007, 07:34 PM
I reccomend the most accurate and scientifically acclaimed documentary of all time. "Reefer Madness". :D

Kirayoshi
05-15-2007, 08:33 PM
Some docs set in the entertainment industry:

The Kid Stays In the Picture, about Robert Evans, famed Paramount Pictures exec, who co-produced The Godfather, Chinatown, True Grit and Rosemary's Baby, among other things, lifting Paramount to become one of the top film studios of the 70s.

Barenaked in America, following the band Barenaked Ladies during a major American tour. Directed by Jason Priestly(Brandon from Beverly Hills 90210).

Get Bruce, about Hollywood gag-writer Bruce Villanch. Funny view of Hollywood.

jesse_custer
02-29-2008, 02:26 PM
Some great choices here thus far.

Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills - Probably the most powerful documentary I've seen. Narration is completely absent, all parties are interviewed, the trial itself is taped. A wonderful, entertaining cast of characters but you realize you're watching real people and the horror scratches your brain. If you've ever wondered what the flaws of the American law system are, then watch this now.

Omega Alpha
02-29-2008, 04:32 PM
I don't know if anyone mentioned already, but Errol Morris' Gates of Heaven is a very powerful and touching film. Afterwards, you might enjoy see the "sequel" of sorts, the short documentary Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe. Yeah, that's for real. And is as hilarious as it sounds.

Speaking of Herzog, Grizzly Man is one of the best films of the decade.

And, while it's status as a documentary can be debatable, F for Fake is absolutely brilliant. It maybe Welles 2nd best film.

ultramandingo
02-29-2008, 05:28 PM
Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills - Probably the most powerful documentary I've seen. Narration is completely absent, all parties are interviewed, the trial itself is taped. A wonderful, entertaining cast of characters but you realize you're watching real people and the horror scratches your brain. If you've ever wondered what the flaws of the American law system are, then watch this now.

........the sequel Paradise Lost 2: Revelations (2000) is good and creepy too . even better is directors Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky's
Brother's Keeper (1992) more backwoods murder(?) and bufoonery - those guys dont do " feel good " - unless you count metalica therapy sessions

ultramandingo
02-29-2008, 06:47 PM
Afterwards, you might enjoy see the "sequel" of sorts, the short documentary Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe. Yeah, that's for real. And is as hilarious as it sounds.


.... i used to go to the theater in bearkley ( the cal ) where he ate that shoe before they finaly tore it down - any hoo also check out - Little Dieter Needs to Fly (1997) his doc about Dieter Dengler "star" of Rescue Dawn . he goes back to nam and hangs out with the cong - no bug or shoe eating thou

kmeyers
02-29-2008, 07:05 PM
Check out this trailer. This is a documentary that I got to work on. I think it turned out really well.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNt3-9Lq398

CONFESSIONS OF A SUPERHERO is a feature length documentary that chronicles the lives of three mortal men and one woman who make their living working as superhero characters on Hollywood Boulevard. *This deeply personal look into their daily routines reveals their hardships and triumphs as they pursue and achieve their own kind of fame. *The Hulk sold his Super Nintendo for a bus ticket to LA; Wonder Woman was a mid-western homecoming queen; Batman struggles with his anger, while Supermanís psyche is consumed by the Man of Steel. *Although the Walk of Fame is right beneath their feet, their own paths to stardom prove to be long, hard climbs.

It's out on DVD now at Hollywood video for sure, but possibly Blockbuster as well. It's gotten really good reviews. Let me know what you think, if you see it.

For more info check out:
http://www.therealsuperhero.com/

LtMarvel
03-01-2008, 07:45 PM
Just about to be released at a theater hopefully near you: Girls Rock! (http://www.girlsrockmovie.com/) about a girls only rock and roll camp. The girls are empowered through the 5 day camp in which they are to form bands, write and perform original song at a concert. Funny and hearfelt.