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Old 01-30-2007, 07:05 PM   #51
SomethingClever
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Re: Documentaries

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i have only seen a bit of it, but a good friend always recommended American Movie


I can verify that this movie is remarkable.
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Old 01-30-2007, 07:16 PM   #52
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Re: Documentaries

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Also very good was Capturing the Friedmans . Particularly since that was a huge bit of local news for me when I was growing up.
an excellent movie. by the time it was over, i wasnt sure what to believe, was confused but was sure i felt sorry for most everyone in the film. and those kids were still likable. what conflicting feelings.

the movie doesnt try and present any answers which is what a great documentary of this type does.

if youve never seen a movie about a child-abusing clown, i highly recommend this.
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Old 01-30-2007, 07:16 PM   #53
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Re: Documentaries

The Comedian follows Jerry Seinfeld as he creates a whole new standup act from scratch after retiring his old act on the I'm Telling You For The Last Time HBO special. Also follows Orny Adams, a journeyman comic trying to make it big. Interviews of many famous and not-so-famous comedians abound, it captures the craft of standup better than anything else I've seen.
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Old 01-30-2007, 07:26 PM   #54
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Re: Documentaries

7 Up Series as mentioned is great. You probably don't need to watch all of them as they show clips from all the prior shows. Girlfriend and I watched up to 42 a few months ago. Extremely interesting.

Marjoe is the story of a former child evangelist. His parents had him preaching (and even marrying couples) as a 3 year old boy. When his father left him and his mother in his teens, he quit and ran off with some hippies. The film documents his life in his twenties after he started preaching again so he can make money. He is getting out of the business again and exposes evangelists for what they are - scam artists.

I had more, but some friends walked in. Might post later.
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Old 01-30-2007, 07:26 PM   #55
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Re: Documentaries



really interesting from a music fan's perspective and quite sad. on the dvd there are some cool extras including him meeting the woman he was obsessed with for 20 years. not my favorite documentary of all time but something well worth seeing.
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Old 01-30-2007, 07:31 PM   #56
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Re: Documentaries

I also love documentaries and watch as many as I can. Here are some good documentaries that I don't believe have been mentioned:

One Day in September - Outstanding look at the 1972 Olympic hostage situation involving Israeli athletes.

4 Little Girls - Spike Lee film about the 60's bombing of a black church in Alabama.

Paradise Lost - Very good crime documentary about the West Memphis Three - boys arrested for murdering children. There is also a Paradise Lost II that gives updates, but it's not as good. It is worth watching if you really like the first one.

Last Days - Focuses on a handful of Hungarian survivors of the Holocaust.

Into the Arms of Strangers - This looks at the Kindertransport, where Jewish children during WWII were taken to escape the Holocause and live with English families.

Also, Capturing the Friedmans has been mentioned a couple of times, and it is unbelievably fascinating. You should also check out the separate bonus disc.
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Old 01-30-2007, 07:41 PM   #57
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Re: Documentaries

I thought "Fade to Black," which was basically a documentary (more in the mold of "the last waltz" in so far as it wasn't narrated but just did a good job of editing footage to convey its point) of Jay-Z's last concert in Madison Square Park cut with scenes of the making of the Black Album was extremely fascinating. Watching him construct songs on the fly with no preparation and listening to him talk about his life provided a lot of insight into how much different and more intelligent/artistic Jay-Z is from most other rappers.
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Old 01-30-2007, 07:42 PM   #58
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Re: Documentaries

Something The Lord Made

A story about Alfred Blalock, the surgeon credited with inventing the first operation to correct Tetralogy of Fallot (blue-baby syndrome), and Vivien Thomas, his lab assistant. A good bit of it revolves around how Thomas' contributions were marginalized because he was African American.

Besides it just being a good story, it was interesting to me because it shows places I went to school and talks about a lot of people who were lumiaries from there. I went to Vanderbilt as an undergrad which is where Blalock and Thomas start out before going on to Johns Hopkins, Tinsley Harrison (Blalock's medical school rommmate) basically built my medical school into what it is today, and a couple of Blalock's surgical residents became faculty members at my medical school as well.

Also interesting for me because it talks about a time when some things we take for granted in medicine today (treating shock with fluids/plasma, heart surgery) were considered novel and even taboo.
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Old 01-30-2007, 07:48 PM   #59
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Re: Documentaries

Speaking of Spike Lee, last month I saw When the Levees Broke, his amazing Katrina doc. While I didn't need all 4 hours of it (the first 90 minutes or so is standard reporting, and the last hour is a bit redundant), the middle section is so incredibly powerful that it has to be seen.

Spike gets really angry, and the political skewering of Bush & co. is really intense. The characters are rich, the footage is striking, the score is beautiful, and you'll weep several times at some of the accounts from survivors.
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Old 01-30-2007, 07:48 PM   #60
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Re: Documentaries

The Mark Twain documentary by Ken Burns is excellent. Of course I may be a bit biased in thinking this as Mark Twain is one of my heroes.

The Jazz 10 part documentary also by Ken Burns is also amazing, although I have only seen a couple episodes of it.

Come to think of it pretty much anything by Ken Burns is amazing.
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Old 01-30-2007, 08:00 PM   #61
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Re: Documentaries

Gimme Shelter (link) is a great rock & roll documentary about the Rolling Stones, and captures a violent riot at the Altamont Springs concert.
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Old 01-30-2007, 08:08 PM   #62
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Re: Documentaries

Burden of Dreams shows the difficulties Werner Herzog faced making his epic 'Fitzcarraldo', which is about bringing an opera house to the Peruvian jungle.

Project Grizzly highlights one man's obsession with building a grizzly bear attack proof suit. I think all the best docs are about obsessions.

The Decline of Western Civilization covers the early punk scene in LA and has great footage of some pioneers of that genre. The Metal Years sequel is also good for different reasons and has some priceless footage of dumb metal dudes.

Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer tells the story of the woman at the center of 'Monster'. Don't watch it just for that reason though, see how the director is very much a part of the story, for better or worse.

KJS
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Old 01-30-2007, 08:10 PM   #63
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Re: Documentaries

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Also very good was Capturing the Friedmans. Particularly since that was a huge bit of local news for me when I was growing up.
I thought this was fantastic, and really hard to watch.

"Hookers At The Point" is horrible. The naration is just awful.
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Old 01-30-2007, 08:12 PM   #64
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Re: Documentaries

I really just meant to post to ask where you have seen these documentaries (specifically, Cocaine Cowboy) are they rentable at say, Blockbuster? Or do you have to buy them online...but one of the best documentaries i have seen is the one that takes place in Lowell, MA. when it was the "crack city of the U.S." it's titled High on Crack Street: lost Lives In Lowell I remember seeing it when was younger and it had a pretty big impact on me. I also watched a grateful dead documentary that is very long but real fun to watch, however i'm sure its about 100x better if you're on mushrooms/acid since everyone in the video is sooo messsed up and the music is just trippy.
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Old 01-30-2007, 08:28 PM   #65
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Re: Documentaries

Here is a link of good (free) onine documentaries covering several subjects:

Docs
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Old 01-30-2007, 08:35 PM   #66
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Re: Documentaries

Anyone see the documentary "Driver 23", it's about this delusional musician. It's kind of hard to describe but I found it entertaining. He leads this crappy life and is hopelessly optimistic that he's going to be a rockstar.
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Old 01-30-2007, 08:38 PM   #67
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Re: Documentaries

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Startup.com -- I defy anyone to find a better exploration of the dot-com boom and bust.
I can not remember if this was any good but E-Dreams, the "rise and fall" of Kozmo.com, is an in-depth look at a company that typified the dot-com boom-bust. I believe ~$60M was invested by VCs, along with ~$100M from corporations, and it may have even enjoyed a post-money valuation of >$1B! (Diablo correct me if I'm wrong.)

March of the Penguins is incredibly well executed, and I will 5th / 6th whatever Hoop Dreams as my favorite documentary.

-Al
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Old 01-30-2007, 08:46 PM   #68
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Re: Documentaries

Just realized Michael Moore is nowhere to be found in this thread. Despite the fact he is an insufferable, miserable prick, I think people often underrate his skills as a filmmaker. The craft involved with Bowling For Columbine is extremely strong and people forget how good he is at what he does. Agree with his politics or not, BFC is a really good movie.
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Old 01-30-2007, 08:53 PM   #69
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Re: Documentaries

The Devil's Playground - A documentary about the Amish tradition of Rumspringe(spelling is awful), when Amish kids leave the Amish way of life for an undefined amount of time and are allowed to live the way the rest of society does. They can leave for as long as they want, and are always welcomed back into the church if they want to be. These kids do some absolutely crazy stuff, drugs, beer, sex, you name it. Very interesting watch.

James
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Old 01-30-2007, 09:01 PM   #70
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Re: Documentaries

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Just realized Michael Moore is nowhere to be found in this thread. Despite the fact he is an insufferable, miserable prick, I think people often underrate his skills as a filmmaker. The craft involved with Bowling For Columbine is extremely strong and people forget how good he is at what he does. Agree with his politics or not, BFC is a really good movie.
I left out a lot of political documentaries. Documentaries are another good reason to be a liberal. Liberals make better documentaries.
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Old 01-30-2007, 09:12 PM   #71
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Re: Documentaries

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Just realized Michael Moore is nowhere to be found in this thread. Despite the fact he is an insufferable, miserable prick, I think people often underrate his skills as a filmmaker. The craft involved with Bowling For Columbine is extremely strong and people forget how good he is at what he does. Agree with his politics or not, BFC is a really good movie.
I actually agree with some of MM's ideologies and find them very enjoyable. However, I have such a tough time considering him a documentary filmmaker.
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Old 01-30-2007, 09:15 PM   #72
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Re: Documentaries

Just because he's biased doesn't mean his movies aren't documentaries. No doc is completely objective. Consciously not taking a stand can be equally subjective and manipulative. Moore is an idealogue and often narrow-minded in his aggressive politicking, but at least he doesn't vote for people like Bush and at least he has real talent for getting gripping footage.
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Old 01-30-2007, 09:27 PM   #73
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Re: Documentaries

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I saw one titled The Cats of Mirikitani this past Tribeca Film Festival. I'm not going to do the description justice, so from the website:

Quote:
Eighty-year-old Jimmy Mirikitani survived the trauma of WWII internment camps, Hiroshima, and homelessness by creating art. But when 9/11 threatens his life on the New York City streets and a local filmmaker brings him to her home, the two embark on a journey to confront Jimmy's painful past. An intimate exploration of the lingering wounds of war and the healing powers of friendship and art, this documentary won the Audience Award at its premiere in the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival.
Apparently, the filmmaker initially intended the film to chronicle four seasons in the life of a homeless NYC artist, until 9/11 happened and she ended up taking the guy in, at which point she learns his history (i.e. his being in an internment camp, his having his American passport revoked, etc.). It was very moving. Probably more so for me being that I'm Japanese-American. But I recommend it to all.
I saw this at a film festival here in Norway, and it won an award here too. I second the recommendation, it was really an amazing little film.
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Old 01-30-2007, 10:17 PM   #74
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Re: Documentaries

Jesus Camp by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady is a pretty good look at an evangelical camp for kids. I used to go to these things, so I think it was pretty accurate. It focused mostly on three kids (Levi, Rachel, and Victoria), the head of the ministry (Becky Fischer), and a radio host for Air America, Mike Papantonio who debates Becky Fischer.

Some people called it "disturbing" but what I saw were some genuine and likable kids. If you want to know what it's like to be an evangelical, go ahead and watch this.
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Old 01-30-2007, 10:29 PM   #75
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Re: Documentaries

the grizzly man

from IMDB
A devastating and heartrending take on grizzly bear activists Timothy Treadwell and Amie Huguenard, who were killed in October of 2003 while living among grizzlies in Alaska
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