Documentaries to watch

I’ve been on a documentary kick streaming from Netflix lately.  I don’t know what it is about Netflix (perhaps the terrible and limited selection of movies), but it makes me want to watch all of the documentaries that ever existed.  Please tell me you know what I’m talking about.

This month’s binge includes the following:


Blackfish is getting widespread attention for calling out SeaWorld’s poor treatment of killer whales and negligent treatment of whale trainers.  The movie itself isn’t very well put-together (extremely old and poor-quality footage), but the message it sends is loud and clear: SeaWorld is a terrible place for whales.  I couldn’t watch parts of it and cried for the whales at several points.  Needless to say, I will never go to SeaWorld or any other place that captures and encloses whales in my lifetime.  This is a must-see.


Craigslist Joe follows one man as he sets out on a month-long journey to see if there is a big enough online community to feed, shelter, and entertain him for free for one month.  I don’t know what else to say about this movie other than the fact that I was in shock, awe, and horror throughout the whole film.  Besides the obvious safety concerns, Craigslist appears to be a genuine community of strangers that help one another survive and travel.  It was fascinating.

north korea

Inside North Korea was something I happened upon when trying to find a different North Korean documentary my friend told me about. (Does anybody know the name of the documentary that follows a basketball team into North Korea?)  This one is from 2007 and follows Lisa Ling and a team of ophthalmologists who train doctors to perform cataracts surgery.   I was expecting a lot more out of a documentary on North Korea, since the country is under the most extreme dictatorship in the world, but alas, it is difficult to film, interview, and report on anything that happens there.  I will say, that the levels of isolation, fear, brainwashing, and idolatry are extreme and frightening.  Biggest takeaway message: I am glad to live in America.

Have you watched any documentaries lately?  What do I need to add to my must-see list?



9 thoughts on “Documentaries to watch

  1. I’ve been on a documentary bender, too! Blackfish is waiting for me to get to it in my queue. I thought National Geographic: Civil War Gold was really interesting–about a ship heading from the north to the south in the reconstruction days after the civil war that sunk with a ton of gold on board. American Harmony was fun–it follows a group of competitive Barbershop singers for a few years to the national championships. We had no idea this subculture existed nor that it wasn’t a bunch of old guys. A college group won one year! Secrets of the Viking Sword was also interesting–tells about a special type of sword made during Viking times when the technology necessary to make it was scarcely available and the craftsmanship is considered extremely difficult even now. .I’m putting the Craigslist doc in my list.

  2. Blackfish made me extremely sad. As someone who’s seen Orcas in the wild and at Sea World, my heart breaks over the penned whales situation. If you’ve seen how fast they move in the wild and how much ground they cover, you’ll never make sense of a theme park pool again. I haven’t seen Craigs List Joe yet, but it has been on my radar. Will be tuning in soon. Other documentaries we’ve enjoyed on Netflix lately are:
    1. Ken Burns’ series – National Parks: America’s Best Idea (I’m determined to see them all)
    2. The Blue Planet series
    3. Rockumentaries – on The Who, The Rolling Stones, Woodstock, etc.

    And we watched Secrets of the Viking Sword, too! Amazing craftsmanship that makes our modern products look pathetic in comparison. Makes you want to take up a skill/trade again.

    • Rockumentaries! I love it. My brother also recommended the Ken Burns’ series, so I need to investigate that.
      Craigslist Joe was entirely bizarre, but I really enjoyed seeing the quirky underbelly of America and the internet. You will probably shake your head at it all. haha

  3. Mads, I haven’t seen any of the three you recommend here, but I do like me a good documentary. I’ll probably get on Netflix and watch these. Thanks!

  4. We are connected by a truly deep and invisible spirit! I have been binging on documentaries as well! Blackfish kick-started everything–very good indeed. If you haven’t seen “The Cove”, I HIGHLY recommend that one. For something a bit lighter–“Jiro Dreams of Sushi” is nice. “Baraka” is an all-time favorite, but you have to be in a zen-like observational mood or you might find it slow (there is no dialogue). I’ve heard that “Gasland” and “Park Avenue: Money, Power & The American Dream” are supposed to be good.

    • I loved “The Cove” and “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”…deep and invisible spirit, indeed! I’ll add the others to my list, although, I’m not sure I’ve ever been in a zen-like observational mood. haha It sounds like I might need some shavasana and wine to get me in the right head space.

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