Top 10 Must-See Documentaries

This summer I’ve been obsessing over documentaries. Here are a few ones I’ve seen recently- and some I’ve loved for years. But regardless they’re compelling, eye-opening, and definitely worth checking out!

10. We Live in Public <-Click here for the trailer

As far as documentaries go, this one isn’t really my style. It starts off a little kooky but once you get into the real story, it’s an interesting look into the Internet and origins/futures of social networks like Facebook. Josh Harris was a visionary, who’s idea of putting people’s lives on display has translated into an everyday reality. He was a pioneer and a visionary, who changed the face of the world as we know it.

SheBop Note: A bit of a mind melter. Might not want to watch right before bed.

9. Super Size Me

Classic. Makes you look twice at what we eat and why. We’ve all had to watch it at one time or another for health class, but it deserves another viewing. This movie introduced me  to the how advertising plays into food decisions- especially with children.  I love Morgan Spurlock’s documentary style, and even occasionally watch his spin-off 30 Days

SheBop Note: Might make you crave McDonald’s.

8. Religulous

Bill Maher’s look into the religious world is funny, insightful, and damn thought provoking. He asks questions we’ve all had, and points out the ridiculous facts that masses have come to believe and dedicate their lives to.

SheBop Note: Maher’s mocking tone might be offensive to a devout believer.

7. Don’t You Forget About Me

OK OK… this one might be a guilty pleasure.  I already wrote about this movie once, but I stand corrected. Everyone’s been touched by a John Hughes movie. He’s an amazing man who doesn’t get enough credit. This documentary follows four filmmakers on a journey to get an interview with the man, and along the way talk to people who he’s to affected. You can’t go wrong with a little John Hughes action. Plus I’m sure you’re wondering what the stars of all his movies look like now… 25 years later.

SheBop Note: Made excruciatingly close to before he died, it definitely caused me to shed a few tears.

6. Sicko

During the hot button debate over health care a few months back, I wanted to familiarize myself with the issue at hand. Sicko was my first stop. I’ve never really cared much about politics, but after watching this movie I started voicing my opinion and keeping up with the news. The health care system is atrocious, and Sicko showed its harsh everyday realities. It moved me deeper than I expected. Seeing the horrors and hearing stories from upstanding Americans made me cry, and even re-watching the trailer made me tear up. A definite must-watch.

SheBop Note: After viewing another documentary: Michael Moore Hates America (view my blog post here) it definitely makes me rethink the validity of Moore’s movies. However, even Moore’s outlandish tactics still can’t overshadow the facts in Sicko.

5. Business of Being Born

This movie kept being suggested to me by Netflix but I was never interested. What’s the big deal about the birthing experience?? Well, one night I watched it, and oh, my, god. I’ve never had a movie completely rock my belief in something I didn’t even know I should be concerned with. HOSPITALS ARE EVIL, MIDWIVES ARE GOOD. Seriously though, this documentary will be something I will always keep in mind when my friends and I have kids.  It’s well made and something everyone should watch.

SheBop Note: If you’re adverse to watching a child being born, probably should choose something else…

4. Sound and Fury

Ever since Jodi Lerner on The L Word, I’ve always been fascinated my deaf culture. Sign language is amazing and beautiful to watch. This documentary delves into the cochlear implant debate, following two families with deaf children trying to figure out the right answer. Should a child grow up deaf if there’s a solution to the problem? Is being a deaf a problem? You really come to understand both sides, and struggle with your own opinion watching this intriguing documentary.

Side Note: Might cause you to want to learn sign language and adopt deaf children… OK maybe just me.

3. Dear Zachary: a Letter to a Son About His Father

This film blew me away. I resist the urge to tell you what it’s about simply because I had only a vague notion myself. And that added to my involvement in the story of this family who faced a tragedy, that just kept unfolding into a bigger and bigger storm of events. It’s a sad story, but it’s one worth hearing, so definitely check this one out.

SheBop Note: So good. So sad.

2. American Teen

Ok, again, another guilty pleasure. But this modern-day-Breakfast-Club documentary has a soft spot in my heart. It follows five teenagers in their senior year of high school. It’s such a memorable time for all of us, and this movie captures it. I’ve shown it to all of my friends, and it’s one of my favorite movies all of time. It’s simple and beautifully made. It’s an idea I haven’t seen before, actually making a movie staring real-life teenagers.

SheBop Note: LOVE THIS MOVIE. Oh and doesn’t Mitch looks STRIKINGLY like Robert Pattinson??

1. Jesus Camp

My favorite documentary of all time. As a stone cold atheist, seeing these children so committed to a religion that is so … fucking crazy is, at times, hard to watch.  Seeing the scene where a group are kids sobbing, chanting in tongues, vowing to put end to abortion makes me sick to my stomach. A 7-year-old little girl should not know the definition of abortion. These kids are being robbed of a childhood, and being recruted to a cause they don’t even fully understand. It’s a disturbing and powerful film that will stay with you for years.

Hope you watch you watch all of them! Did I miss your favorite? Let me know and I’ll make sure to give it a view :-)

    • Mme D
    • July 24th, 2010

    So, i have only seen about the first 10 minutes of the John Hughes documentary, but I am committed to watching it. I just have to find the time to sit uninterrupted in front of the computer. Speaking as someone who was a teenager when all those came out, JH wrote our lives (or our best imagined lives) at the time. And not just then, but now too. He wrote and directed She’s Having A Baby too (Kevin Bacon is in it) and it reallyn resonated when I started having my boys.
    I may have to watch the documentary about giving birth, however, I can tell you that if I hadn’t been in the hospital when I had Sam I would have bled to death. And Cooper was an emergency delivery with both of us in danger. Jack is the only one that didn’t cause me major trauma! Points for the baby!

    • I’m so jealous that you actually got to experience John Hughes first hand!! Yeah I have She’s having a Baby on my Netflix! You should definitely watch the baby documentary! I would love to know what a mother thinks about it. You’ll see that they always have the hospital as the back up plan because it is important if something goes wrong. But seriously it like blew my mind!

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