Documentaries to recommend?

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StormShadow
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Documentaries to recommend?

Post by StormShadow » Fri Nov 28, 2014 10:39 pm

I find that I enjoy documentaries even more than regular movies nowadays. Here are a couple that I've liked.

Ivory Tower (2014) - discusses the current student loan crisis

Inside Job (2010) - features the global market crash of 2008

Word Play (2006) - about people who are obsessed with crossword puzzles

Encounters at the End of the World (2007) - Werner Herzog travels to Antarctica to interview people that live there.

Hoop Dreams (1994) - follows two inner city boys as they pursue basketball in hopes of making it to the NBA

Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision (1994) - biopic about the asian american architect who designed the Viet Nam War memorial (most famous for winning the Best Documentary Oscar the same year Hoop Dreams was released)

Any film directed by Michael Moore (even though I disagree with the premise and conclusions from most of them):
I've seen: Roger & Me, Bowling for Columbine, Fahrenheit 9/11, Sicko, Capitalism: A Love Story

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cheese_breath
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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by cheese_breath » Fri Nov 28, 2014 10:53 pm

Smithsonian channel and National Geographic channel frequently have good documentaries.
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TPS_Reports
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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by TPS_Reports » Sat Nov 29, 2014 1:05 am

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

LeeMKE
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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by LeeMKE » Sat Nov 29, 2014 1:13 am

Chasing Ice - photography of Glaciers

20 feet from Stardom - The backup singers behind famous bands

Muscle Shoals - Blues and R&B powerhouse for recording artists

Alive Inside - A breakthrough for Alzheimer's patients, and an App for families to use themselves.

Somm - 4 students of wine preparing for the Sommelier test

Gotta love the Milwaukee Film Festival.
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anonenigma
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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by anonenigma » Sat Nov 29, 2014 1:30 am

The Act of Killing (stunning - unique, really)
Man on Wire
Food, inc.
Super-Size Me
The Up Series
anything by the Maysles brothers

TPS_Reports
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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by TPS_Reports » Sat Nov 29, 2014 3:49 am

Fathead

scooterdog
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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by scooterdog » Sat Nov 29, 2014 6:32 am

dbh25 wrote:Jiro Dreams of Sushi
I came here to recommend this.

As fans of food in general, it was unexpectedly about more than that.

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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by TPS_Reports » Sat Nov 29, 2014 6:52 am

Bill Cunningham New York
(parallels some aspects of Jiro Dreams of Sushi)

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in_reality
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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by in_reality » Sat Nov 29, 2014 7:16 am

Temple Grandin

Her mother was a Harvard graduate and insisted on pushing her beyond her comfort zone for her own good ...

I think what she learned from her mother was mostly the desire to learn to make things better. Despite all she had going against her, somehow she managed to do just that.

I only hope I can encourage my son who is like Temple to do the same.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpkN0JdXRpM

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stemikger
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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by stemikger » Sat Nov 29, 2014 7:31 am

Good Post! I too love docs. The latest one I just watched was great.

Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon - I rented it on Amazon Instant Video for $3.99 (for 48 hours)
Herb and Dorothy - Amazon Instant Video
Dad's in Heaven with Nixon - Amazon Instant Video
Cutie and the Boxer - I saw this in at the movies
I Like Killing Flies - This one might be tough to find. It is no longer on Netflix.
A Matter of Taste - Netflix
Candy Man- Netflix
Kings of Pastry - Netflix
Burts Bees The documentary - Netflix
The September Issue - Netflix
Marwencol - Amazon Prime
Camp 14 - Total Control Zone (Netflix) (2012 German/South Korean documentary film directed by Marc Wiese. It features interviews with Shin Dong-hyuk who was born in the Kaechon internment camp (known as "Camp 14") in North Korea. The film details abuses inflicted on him and witnessed by him as prisoner there).
Three Stars - What it takes to be a Michelin 3 star restaurant (Netflix)


I'll post some more here. I watched too many to remember many of my favorites. These are just come that came to mind.
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triskelion
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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by triskelion » Sat Nov 29, 2014 7:44 am

The Fog of War (2003): The entire documentary is an interview with Robert McNamara. I learned more history in this one film than in whole classes in college.

tigermilk
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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by tigermilk » Sat Nov 29, 2014 8:13 am

+1 on some of the other recommendations:

Jiro Dreams of Sushi - as a sushi lover, it leaves me hungry
Kings of Pastry - artisans striving to get top honors
Cutie and the Boxer - a married artist couple from Japan

Some others

Senna - about F1 legend Ayrton Senna
Rising from the Ashes - development of professional cycling in Rwanda, very inspiring how these young men came from a broken country
Weekend of a Champion - follows Jackie Stewart over the weekend at Monaco in the early 70s as he preps, practices, qualifies, and races
The Endless Summer - who can forget this classic '60s surf documentary?
The Monastery - a Dane who wants to convert his decaying castle into a Russian Orthodox monastery
Helvetica - who knew fonts could be so interesting?
Man on Wire - prepping to walk a tightrope between skyscrapers
Don't Stop Believin' - about the band Journey and their search for a new lead singer
Chops - some REALLY talented high school kids trying to be the top jazz band in the US
A Band Called Death - about an urban Detroit trio who predated the punk movement
Nature: My Life as a Turkey - raising wild turkeys

whomever
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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by whomever » Sat Nov 29, 2014 8:30 am

Anything by Ken Burns...'The West', 'The Civil War', 'Prohibition',.... I haven't watched all of them, but all of them I have watched have been excellent.

'Band of Brothers' was very good. It's not a traditional documentary - they hired actors to reenact a nonfiction story, and did a good job of it without changing the facts at all from the book, AFAICT.

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gardemanger
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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by gardemanger » Sat Nov 29, 2014 8:49 am

If you liked the Maya Lin documentary, you should check out My Architect (2003) - which is a very personal take on the architecture and life of Louis Kahn by his son. Louis Kahn was, to put it mildly, a flawed individual, but his (illegitimate) son searches through

One of my all-time favorite documentaries is a Chilean movie called "Nostalgia for the Light." It's set in the Atacama Desert, which is home both to an observatory probing the mysteries of the universe and to bereaved mothers combing the desert for traces of the "disappeared" from the Pinochet regime. The connections between these two searches are movingly painted.

Agrippa
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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by Agrippa » Sat Nov 29, 2014 8:51 am

Two classics I haven't seen mentioned yet:

The King of Kong: two rivals vie to set record videogame scores in Donkey Kong.
This is Anvil!: follows an aging Canadian heavy metal band

Lots of laughs in both.
Agrippa

stumblebum
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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by stumblebum » Sat Nov 29, 2014 8:51 am

Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness
A Year in Burgundy

Dadarkar
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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by Dadarkar » Sat Nov 29, 2014 9:05 am

As whomever suggested I will watch anything Ken Burns makes !
Roosevelt's recently aired on PBS is a masterpiece

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stemikger
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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by stemikger » Sat Nov 29, 2014 9:25 am

Agrippa wrote:Two classics I haven't seen mentioned yet:

The King of Kong: two rivals vie to set record videogame scores in Donkey Kong.
This is Anvil!: follows an aging Canadian heavy metal band

Lots of laughs in both.
+1

I've seen them both and I agree. If you liked Kong of Kong, you would also like Special When Lit. On a side note, a very good friend of mine has been playing bass for Anvil for around two or three years now.
Posted by Tigermilk
Helvetica - who knew fonts could be so interesting?


I haven't seen Helvetica yet, but Linotype: The Film surprised me. I really enjoyed the history of this machine and how many aficionados there are out there.
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ramsfan
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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by ramsfan » Sat Nov 29, 2014 10:18 am

Bigger, Faster, Stronger - has to do with the role of Steroids in American society

hiddensee
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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by hiddensee » Sat Nov 29, 2014 10:28 am

I would separate documentaries, which are at least intended to contain purely educational content, from 'advometuries' that are advocating for a political cause. Naturally at this point the BBC sweeps the field:

Civilisation
World at War
Simon Schama's History of Britain (he made another very good one about the American Revolution)

Ken Burns' The Civil War, however, is possibly the best documenatry ever made.

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BolderBoy
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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by BolderBoy » Sat Nov 29, 2014 10:32 am

Fed Up (2014) - powerful indictment and good explanation of the obesity problem - not rocket science but may not be exactly what you have thought, either.

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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by mt » Sat Nov 29, 2014 11:00 am

The Rise of ISIS

Frontline episode aired last week 10/28. Can watch on the Frontline website.

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ChicagoMedStudent
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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by ChicagoMedStudent » Sat Nov 29, 2014 11:06 am

Another vote for Jiro Dreams of Sushi
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GenXer
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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by GenXer » Sat Nov 29, 2014 11:35 am

Another vote for Jiro Dreams of Sushi, Muscle Shoals, and the Up series.

Ones I haven't seen mentioned:

•Wild Horse, Wild Ride. About the annual competition to break in wild mustangs. Focuses on 5 or 6 individuals around the country who decide for one reason or another to take part in this competition. Really compelling.

•Searching for Sugarman. One of the best movies I've seen in the past 10 years. It's a Swedish-British documentary about the search for musician Sixto Rodriguez (long thought to be dead), an American who never became well-known in the U.S. but was a phenom in S. Africa. Won the Academy Award for Best Documentary in 2013.

•Exit Through the Gift Shop (about the street artist Banksy). Some critics say it's a mockumentary,not a documentary, but it's pretty fascinating nevertheless.

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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by Boglegrappler » Sat Nov 29, 2014 11:39 am

Harvard beats Yale 29-29

If you're old enough, you'll enjoy the flashback to the events of the late 60s, which this movie spends a great deal of time talking about. It has Tommy Lee jones (as himself) and many other interesting players from these teams. It helps if you care a little bit about college sports and football, but this is different that your regular sports documentary.

beachlover
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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by beachlover » Sat Nov 29, 2014 11:57 am

Love this topic. Will have to check out recommendations. A few recent favorites include:

A Man Named Pearl - http://www.docurama.com/docurama/a-man- ... vd-cd-set/ - about Pearl Fryar - an amateur gardener who made a labor of love in transforming his suburban property into a topiary extravaganza.

20 Feet from Stardom - http://twentyfeetfromstardom.com/ - profiles a number of the background singers that added so much to the sound of many rock/pop/R&B classics - many of whom came up through gospel roots.

Muscle Shoals - http://www.magpictures.com/muscleshoals/ - about the small-town Alabama recording studio that became a "hit factory" and go to place for many legendary R&B, pop and rock legends. Interesting story of a unique place and time, as well as back stories on number of iconic classic tunes from the couple of decades covered.

Radio Unnameable - http://www.radiounnameablemovie.com/ - about NYC talk radio icon Bob Fass, perhaps the first late-night free-form FM talk radio host, through several decades in New York and cultural influences of the times.

Edited to add: oops, missed LeeMKE's pervious mention of two of the above. Also to second GenXer's votes for Searching for Sugarman and Exit Through the Gift Shop.

target2030
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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by target2030 » Sat Nov 29, 2014 12:13 pm

Yet another vote for "Jiro Dreams Sushi" - Available as Instant Watch at Netflix

Sushi - The Global Catch is also a great documentary on Netflix if you do not have the time to read http://www.amazon.com/Sushi-Economy-Glo ... hi+history

If you have a lot of time: just about any documentary series by Ken Burns . Lot of catch up to do here...

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stemikger
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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by stemikger » Sat Nov 29, 2014 1:28 pm

Posted by GenExer
Searching for Sugarman. One of the best movies I've seen in the past 10 years. It's a Swedish-British documentary about the search for musician Sixto Rodriguez (long thought to be dead), an American who never became well-known in the U.S. but was a phenom in S. Africa. Won the Academy Award for Best Documentary in 2013.
Great documentary and the fact that the filmmaker filmed and edited the entire documentary on his I-Phone made it even cooler.
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stemikger
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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by stemikger » Sat Nov 29, 2014 1:32 pm

Here is a list of 100 best documentaries on Netflix.

http://nonfics.com/best-on-netflix-september-14/

I highly recommend Jesus Camp, Crazy Love and Enron The Smartest Guys in the Room.

Also Unraveled free if you have Amazon Prime. He would have been the Ponzi King, but Madoff got caught the same year. Being in the legal profession and knowing his firm made it even more interesting.
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OSUmountaineer
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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by OSUmountaineer » Sat Nov 29, 2014 1:37 pm

The Two Escobars - about the relationship between the Medellin drug cartel in Colombia and the murder of Andres Escobar, a soccer player who scored an own goal in the 1994 World Cup against the USA.

Fantastic.

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Nicolas
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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by Nicolas » Sat Nov 29, 2014 1:41 pm

Grizzly Man -- by Werner Herzog. Scary film about Timothy Treadwell and his misguided attempts to live with grizzly bears. Herzog makes some of the most off-beat and interesting films I've seen.

Fat Sick & Nearly Dead -- by Joe Cross. One man's victory over obesity.
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pennstater2005
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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by pennstater2005 » Sat Nov 29, 2014 1:46 pm

Anything done by Werner Herzog:

Into the Abyss - 2 men convicted of a triple homicide.
Little Dieter Needs to Fly - This was made into the movie "Rescue Dawn"
Grizzly Man - About Timothy Treadwell and his interaction with grizzly bears

Check out wikipedia for a full list. He narrates very well. I'm with you Storm Shadow, documentaries intrigue me way more than actual movies anymore. And no I'm not just watching stuff like Wedding Crashers (never seen that believe it or not).
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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by stlutz » Sat Nov 29, 2014 3:18 pm

Senna - about F1 legend Ayrton Senna
Rising from the Ashes - development of professional cycling in Rwanda, very inspiring how these young men came from a broken country
+1 on both of these.

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Boglenaut
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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by Boglenaut » Sat Nov 29, 2014 3:23 pm

The Galapagos Affair: The Unsolved Murder Mystery

I watched it on Netflix recently.

From NYT:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/04/movie ... .html?_r=0
The movie focuses on the eccentrics who, beginning in 1929, settled on Floreana, a small, uninhabited island in the remote Galápagos archipelago, 575 miles west of Ecuador in the southern Pacific. Its original Adam and Eve — Friedrich Ritter, a German physician, and his younger lover, Dore Strauch, who were both married to others — abandoned their mates to put down roots in this supposed Eden. So what if Dore was weakened by multiple sclerosis and had limited stamina? They were determined to go it alone.
I found "The Baroness" intriguing.
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selftalk
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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by selftalk » Sat Nov 29, 2014 3:24 pm

The Men Who Built America was great and done well.

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cfs
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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by cfs » Sat Nov 29, 2014 3:39 pm

For Investment Aficionados and Business Students

Money, Power and Wall Street - Frontline PBS

Episode 1 - Inside the epic rise of a new financial order - and the troubles that followed.

Episode 2 - How U.S. leaders struggle to respond to a financial crisis that caught them by surprise.

Episode 3 - How Obama inherited a financial crisis that would define his first term.

Episode 4 - Frontline probes a Wall Street culture that remains on risky trades.

The Untouchables - Frontline PBS

Frontline investigates why Wall Street's leaders have escaped prosecution for any fraud related to the sale of bad mortgages.
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frugalguy
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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by frugalguy » Sat Nov 29, 2014 4:58 pm

Two archeological mysteries that I recently caught on PBS:

* Quest for the Lost Maya
* The Lost Gardens of Babylon

Also enjoyed a PBS documentary that follows a moody 15-year-old Russian ballroiom dancer who struggles to survive away from home and family in Denmark in the household of a 14-year-old Danish female ballroom dancer.

* Dance for Me

John Z
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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by John Z » Sat Nov 29, 2014 5:19 pm

The Newburgh Sting (2014) is a documentary film about the Federal Bureau of Investigation's sting operation on four Muslim men involved in the 2009 Bronx terrorism plot. Beginning in 2008, an FBI informant, Shaheed Hussain, recorded hours of conversations with the men who were ultimately arrested and convicted of planting three non-functional bombs next to two synagogues in Riverdale, Bronx and for planning to use Stinger missiles to shoot down United States military cargo planes near Newburgh, New York. The point of view of the documentary is that it was later brought to light that the plot with the four men who were coaxed into participating was created by the FBI. The men argue that this was a case of entrapment. In April, 2014, the film was shown at the Tribeca Film Festival.

My comment: Very sad that our government could do something like this to prove to the public that they are protecting us from terror.

Puakinekine
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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by Puakinekine » Sat Nov 29, 2014 5:24 pm

Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie Aikau (2013)

Bill Cunningham New York (2010)

skylar
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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by skylar » Sat Nov 29, 2014 5:55 pm

I recommend watching both Carl Sagan's and Neil deGrasse Tyson's Cosmos - even if you have a scientific background it's amazing to see how they can make dry topics interesting.

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StormShadow
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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by StormShadow » Sat Nov 29, 2014 6:04 pm

The Bridge (2006) - haunting and controversial film due to the subject matter. Basically, a guy sets up a video camera watching the Golden Gate Bridge for a year looking for jumpers. Film is mixed with interviews of various friends and family of those who died.

Some TV documentaries (miniseries style) for the military-inclined folks:

Carrier - a camera crew spends 6 months on board a US aircraft carrier
Navy SEALs: BUDS Class 234 - watch a group of Navy SEAL candidates undergo the selection process

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Zabar
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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by Zabar » Sat Nov 29, 2014 6:44 pm

The Queen of Versailles -- a portrait of an immensely wealthy but dysfunctional family as it goes through a financial meltdown.

The U.S. vs. John Lennon -- how the U.S. government tried to kick him out of the country.

In the Name of Heaven -- how various religions view heaven.

island
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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by island » Sat Nov 29, 2014 7:25 pm

Good topic, one I'll be sure to bookmark.
Agree with anything by Ken Burns.

I like the "American Experience" series on PBS. I recall "Death and the Civil War" was a very interesting episode for me. You can watch some of the past ones online. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/

"World Wars" aired on the History Channel (H2) 3 nights in a row in the spring. I really like that one. Focused on the major players: Hitler, Stalin, Patton, Churchill, etc and how WWI and the aftermath shaped Hitler's rise to power and how the time, events, interactions led to WWII.
I don't think the full episodes are online, but can get info, see clips or order the DVDs.
http://www.history.com/shows/the-world-wars
Maybe available in your library too.

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VictoriaF
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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by VictoriaF » Sat Nov 29, 2014 7:40 pm

The Art of Procrastination - online, 2min51sec

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

frugalguy
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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by frugalguy » Sat Nov 29, 2014 9:09 pm

VictoriaF wrote:The Art of Procrastination - online, 2min51sec

Victoria
For diversification, one can even procrastinate & waste time in Russian.

Here's a Russian Cat Watching the Luge (Youtube video) during the Winter Olympics.

Plenty of cats + World Cup examples too.

Even dogs. :D

One can literally spend an entire day...

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VictoriaF
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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by VictoriaF » Sat Nov 29, 2014 9:30 pm

frugalguy wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:The Art of Procrastination - online, 2min51sec

Victoria
For diversification, one can even procrastinate & waste time in Russian.

Here's a Russian Cat Watching the Luge (Youtube video) during the Winter Olympics.
Funny! Especially, if you understand Russian.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

Mountain Man
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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by Mountain Man » Sat Nov 29, 2014 9:35 pm

Here are two more I haven't seen mentioned yet:

Cowspiracy

And

DamNation.

TPS_Reports
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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by TPS_Reports » Sat Nov 29, 2014 9:36 pm

stumblebum wrote:Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness
A Year in Burgundy
Where did you find "A Year in Burgundy"?

d0gerz
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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by d0gerz » Sun Nov 30, 2014 12:09 am

Great thread with some great recommendations. Some documentaries that I like:

When We Were Kings - about Ali vs Foreman and the Rumble in the Jungle fight.

Style Wars - about the origins of graffiti and hip-hop culture in New York City.

The Devil's Playground - Amish teens who explore life outside their bubble.

The Dark Glow of the Mountains - Werner Herzog on Italian climber Rheinhold Messner. (Link is original German with Portuguese subtitles.)

An Unreasonable Man - about the life and career of Ralph Nader.

Fire in Babylon - history of the West Indian cricket team of the 1970s and 80s

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The529guy
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Re: Documentaries to recommend?

Post by The529guy » Sun Nov 30, 2014 12:40 am

The Town That Was.

Watch for free at http://www.snagfilms.com/films/title/the_town_that_was.
In 1962, a trash fire ignited a seam of anthracite coal beneath Centralia, Pennsylvania, a once thriving mining town of over 1600 people. By the mid 1980's, giant plumes of smoke and deadly carbon monoxide gases billowed from fissures in the ground, the local highway cracked and collapsed, trees were bleached white and petrified, as the fire continued to rage unchecked.

It wasn't until a young boy nearly died after falling into a smoldering mine subsidence that the government was pressed into action. After estimating the cost of extinguishing the fire at over a half a billion dollars, the government opted to raze the town and relocate its residents.

Today, 11 die-hards remain. Filmed over a period of five years with interviews ranging from former residents to Congressmen, THE TOWN THAT WAS is an intimate portrait of John Lokitis, the youngest remaining Centralian, and his quixotic fight to keep alive a hometown that has literally disintegrated under his feet. His unbowed determination and steadfast refusal to acknowledge defeat reveal a man, a town, a region, and a way of life abandoned and forgotten.

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