Welcome to the 3rd installment of J-Bo’s documentary challenge! I challenged myself to watch 52 documentaries this year and I’m reviewing them (kinda- i’m getting lazier and lazier) as I go along. Check out my 1st Installment and my 2nd Installment. I have them linked to their Amazon pages though many are available free on Netflix. Here are the ten documentaries I watched over the summer, in order from my favorite to my least favorite. Most of these were pretty good, so I found it difficult to rank them (except the last two). I choose a lot of my documentaries based on recommendations, so please leave some for me in your comments!
Follows eight kids as they compete in the 1999 Scripps National Spelling Bee. I was so invested in each of their stories that I spent several hours after I watched it researching where they are now.
Follows kids at Jesus camp being
brainwashed indoctrinated into the fundamentalist Christian movement. Super creepy.
I was SO into this documentary! Super captivating. Like an episode of Catfish, but much darker: An online love triangle that leaves one person dead and another in prison. The only thing that bothered me about this documentary is that it was told through the “voice” and “perspective” of the person who died- really, really tacky.
Really interesting look at the lives and expectations of women in India. The documentary tells the stories of the very westernized Miss India pageant contestants, contrasted against the stories of girls being trained at a fundamentalist Hindu camp to violently resist westernization.
Takes you inside North America’s largest music festival, The Electric Daisy Carnival. Watching this documentary is the closest you will come to feeling like you are at a rave without having to actually be at a rave.
The Up documentary series started following fourteen British children in 1964 and has put out a new documentary every seven years since catching you up on their lives. I think this is a cool concept, especially to the audience who has gotten to follow them throughout their lives/grow up with them. At the time I watched this I thought 49 Up was the most recent and didn’t realize there was a 56 Up– otherwise I would have watched that one instead. Don’t worry about jumping right in without having seen the previous ones, because each installment gives you a recap on everybody. (At least this one did- I assume the others do as well.)
Explores the prejudices that dark-skinned girls face compared to lighter-skinned girls, even and especially within their own race. I’m glad I watched this–I did not realize that this was a thing so afterwards I felt like an ignoramus.
A college graduate who can’t decide what to do with his life decides to work a different job each week, every week for a year. I’m not entirely sure what he or I learned from this experiment, but I still found it fun to watch. Mostly because I liked his dreadlocks.
I know this is a highly acclaimed documentary, but it doesn’t stand out as having been particularly interesting or memorable to me. Story of an eccentric artist being eccentric and arrogant.
A family lives in their van for a summer and interviews other people with non-traditional housing to explore the concept of “home.” Overall I found this to be boring and much too long. The most interesting part was the segment on the tiny house movement, which is presented in a much more engaging way in the documentary called Tiny, which is on my list to review next time.
Leave your recommendations below!
I just got started on a documentary kick! This past week I watched Tiny. It was so amazing that you could build a little house on the back of a trailer and pretty much put it anywhere without the worry of taxes. They were so spacious looking on the inside too! I almost ran out to buy supplies to make one myself. I also watched a documentary about a young girl who sails around the world by herself. It was pretty impressive since she left home when she was 14. I especially liked her attitude when a reporter came on the boat to ask her some questions about her trip. Those cheeky teens. That one was called Maidentrip.
Maidentrip sounds interesting! I’ve decided to watch that one next- thanks for letting me know about it. (I’d heard about this girl but didn’t know there was a documentary, so now I’m super excited). Yeah, Tiny did make small houses seem tempting… but if it took him that long to build his, I’m sure it would take me at least ten years.
Some documentaries I like:
1. Forbidden Marriages in the Holy Land, by Michel Khleifi
2. American Revolutionary- the Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs
3. Lots of wonderful documentaries on IPTV-World, the Iowa Public Television affiliate
4 Lots of great documentaries on http://www.dw.de, live stream television of Deutsche Welle, German TV in English for the US.
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Do you have a 2017 challenge?
Just boring stuff- eating better and paying down my student loans