i am a good idea.

Documentary Binge

I’ve been on a bit of a documentary binge for the past few weeks.

See, aside from a couple Michael Moore documentaries in my youth, and maybe some one-off specials on the History Channel or PBS that my teachers showed in school when they didn’t feel like teaching, I just never really got into documentaries. I didn’t know what was out there or where to get them, for starters.

But a couple weeks ago I spotted one that looked interesting on Netflix streaming and then my hair stylist suggested a few more and now Netflix documentaries are like Pokemon and I’ve gotta cwatch em all.

I get that documentaries are usually biased, and I’m not saying I agree or disagree with the points made in any of these documentaries. All I’m saying is that I posted online yesterday “My name is Cheryl and I’m addicted to documentaries on Netflix” and several people asked me for my favorites so I decided to dedicate last night to making a scatterplot quadrant of the documentaries I’ve watched in the last few weeks ranked by entertainment and informative value because obviously and when I tried to make the chart in Excel I couldn’t figure out how so I made it in Paintbrush instead which is basically the same program.

Some of them are feel-good (Being Elmo), some of them are informative (This Film is Not Yet Rated), some of them are fun (Under the Boardwalk: The Monopoly Story) and some of them are fucking weird (I Think We’re Alone Now) but all of them have a special place in my heart now.

Dear readers, tell me in the comments which documentaries I should watch next.

14 Responses to “Documentary Binge”

  1. Tony says:

    Hot coffee, the story about the women who spilled coffee and sued McDonald’s.

  2. Cheryl…I have three for you to watch.

    1) Gasland
    Essential for people who live in Ohio and be prepared to be infuriated.

    2) Paul McCartney Really is Dead: The Last Testament of George Harrison
    Ridiculous, but really fun. Have 2 glasses of red prior to watching.
    Next time you see Paul, you will call him Faul.

    3) The Big Uneasy
    Important documentary on what really caused the devastation during Katrina.

    4) Food Matters
    Important to learn what is happening with our food supply.

    Would love to discuss any of these!

  3. Carl says:

    Buck – fantastic even if you’ve never been around a horse

  4. EBS says:

    Documentaries which have fueled my Netflix addiction:

    -The Cove (seen it like six times, still cry every time)
    -The Vice Guide to North Korea (film makers sneak into DPRK and film all the craziness)
    -National Geographic: Inside North Korea (I have a DPRK obsession, it’s casual. I would recommend any of the Netflix documentaries about North Korea, except maybe Kimjongilia, which is just kind of depressing.)
    -Supersize Me (I didn’t see it on your list, but it’s kind of a classic)
    -30 Days (TV series by the same guy as Supersize Me where he has polar opposites trade lives. I don’t think it’s on Netflix anymore, but if you can track it down, it’s excellent. There’s one episode where he and his wife spend 30 days living on minimum wage in Columbus!)
    -Born Rich (documentary by the Johnson & Johnson heir about rich people)
    -Nursery University (crazy people in New York try to get their toddlers into elite preschools)

  5. Daced says:

    You have to watch Senna – amazing story about a formula one racer. I won’t give anything away, but even if you don’t like racing (which I don’t) it’s an unbelievable documentary.

    Also, Darkon is hilarious and a great one to watch.


  6. Michael Kent says:

    I think I tweeted this to you yesterday, but when I asked for documentaries to watch, a lot of twitter followers suggested “Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles.” It was very interesting. Also, HBO had a documentary called “Loot” about WWII vets and their secret hidden war prizes that completely captivated me.

  7. Dan W says:

    “Farewell” (netflix streaming): Not a documentary, but a fantastic historical drama that covers an obscure but highly influential moment in geopolitics.

  8. Well, you already watched Being Elmo, so…hm. Maybe “Comedian” ( It’s the documentary Seinfeld made a while back to show his process for coming up with a new act. Pretty fascinating.

    Also, this is my favorite line: “…and when I tried to make the chart in Excel I couldn’t figure out how so I made it in Paintbrush instead which is basically the same program.”

  9. Rick Hunt says:

    You’ve already covered two of my suggestions, “Beer Wars” and “Herb and Dorothy”, so next up is “Senna”. Highly recommended.

  10. Cheryl says:

    Ahhh I am so excited to watch all of these and I am never going to accomplish anything every again! Keep ’em coming!

  11. Claire says:

    Bill Cunningham New York (joyous)
    King of Kong (so good!)
    The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill

    Not sure if these are available for streaming but they are all great. Thanks for adding to my Netflix queue!

  12. MB says:

    Can’t wait to start watching everything on your list and everything in the comments.
    My favorite docs-
    -Man on Wire- about Phillipe Petit’s tightrope walk between the two World Trade Towers in 1974
    -Spellbound- about the national spelling bee
    In the Entertainment category-
    -Carol Channing: Larger Than Life
    -Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work
    -Get Bruce- about Bruce Villanch, the guy who writes jokes for Bette Midler, Whoopi Goldberg, Billy Crystal, and almost every Oscar show I’ve every seen
    Films that broadened my perspective about their subjects-
    -The Eyes of Tammy Faye [Baker]
    -The Trials of Ted Haggard

  13. Cheryl says:

    thanks for the great recommendations!

  14. […] back and watched what seemed like every documentary available on Netflix streaming and then made this really awful scatterplot quadrant in Paintbrush comparing […]

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