Documenting Netflix, Canada-Style

Why aren’t documentaries more popular? Sure there’s the odd Michael Moore film that gets lots of attention, especially during the Academy Awards, but generally they don’t get the box office of superheroes and movie stars. Why? Reality TV is huge, and has been for a while. Youtube videos of real people telling their stories, and giving insight into their lives, are getting millions of views. I don’t get it. Documentaries provide as much drama, action and mystery as any Hollywood blockbuster, usually more so. Looking through Netflix Canada, I thought I’d direct you to some to get your docu-juices flowing (you can use the term “docu-juices” if you want)…

Exit Through the Gift Shop – who is Banksy? A rebel? An artist? A hypocrite? Well, one thing we know from this is he’s a filmmaker. Originally beginning as a look into the world of street/graffiti artists, it moves into a spotlight of one man’s obsession of this art form and his attempt at becoming a part of it. Even if you aren’t an art lover, you’ll find it amazing how this guy goes from voyeur to “visionary”. Yes, the quotations were on purpose.

Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son about his Father – I will never stop recommending this doc. It was probably one of the biggest reasons I got back into watching them. The story starts like this:  a director tries to film his  best friend’s memorial, through family and friend interviews, to be given as a gift to that man’s newborn son. Got that? The movie goes far beyond that, kicking you in the emotional gut with its shocking twists and unbelievable heart. Murder, Canadians, and the power of wronged parents. Go ahead, cry like a baby at the end. We won’t judge.

This Film is not Yet Rated – as a bit of a film geek, I love the behind the scenes stories. Not the who’s dating who stuff but rather what goes on behind the curtain, how/why movies get made, the financial trouble of special effects houses, which studio has the better marketing campaign…the business info. That’s why I really enjoyed this analysis of how films are rated and, more importantly, the mysterious figures that do the rating. It’s a hell of a lot more interesting and political than you might think. The business of censorship is surprising. (someone has turned off the embed code so you’ll have to copy and paste. Sorry)

No Impact Man – Could you give up your daily coffee? New clothes? Electricity? A New York family decides to create as little impact on our world as possible for one year. What that looks like: local food only, no new products, no elevators, no cans, no TV…don’t get me started on toilet paper. Watching the Starbucks-loving, shoe-obsessed wife go through this gauntlet will make you giggle. Funny and fascinating. Could you do it?

Go Tigers! – how crazy is southern America for high school football? Answer: really, really crazy. This a place where sports trump scholastic achievement and, if you’re not with the football program, you’re not part of the town. It is amazing to watch a community defined by it’s high school football program, for better or for worse (most of it seems to be worse). Can’t fault them for their passion. OK, yeah you can.


I hope some of these entice you to sit down and enjoy the “original reality TV”. If you’re a fan of documentaries or couldn’t be bothered, let me know. I’m curious to understand you.

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