Friday, January 27, 2012

Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction

While I love to read and watch movies, the older I get the more I enjoy nonfiction.  I've always loved nature shows -- growing up my family always watched 'Wild Kingdom' before 'The Wonderful World of Disney.'  I love to read essays, memoirs, biographies, travelogues.  And my husband and I (really, our whole family) love to watch documentaries.  We just watched 'The Cave of Forgotten Dreams' (although I have to confess my husband slept through part of it).

In no particular order (and with the important caveat that you need to make your own decisions about what is appropriate for your family), here are some documentaries we've found interesting:

'Alone in the Wilderness' -- beginning in the late 1960s, a man documents his solitary life in the    Alaskan wilderness

'A Man Called Pearl' -- a man in SC creates an extraordinary sculptural garden (FAVORITE)

'Ferrets:  The Pursuit of Excellence' -- bizarre, but fascinating

'Grizzly Man' -- a self-appointed grizzly ambassador.  very sad.  Be prepared.

'Into the Wild' -- kind of the opposite of 'Alone in the Wilderness.' also very sad.  Again, be prepared.

'Supersize Me' --  a man spends 30 days living on McDonalds food

'Spellbound' -- backstory of the National Spelling Bee

'The King of Kong'  -- Donkey Kong championship

'Darkon' -- live action role players

'Hands on a Hard Body' -- this is hard to find, but it's about trying to win a pickup truck (Love it!)

'Good Hair' -- Chris Rock on African-American hair care

'Is That Skunk?' -- on skunks

'The Meerkats' -- my ten-year-old's favorite

'Cave of Forgotten Dreams' --1990s discovery of fantastic cave paintings in France

'It Might Get Loud' -- rock guitar

'Wordplay' -- crossword puzzle fanatics

'Buena Vista Social Club' -- underground Cuban musicians

'Rush:  Beyond the Lighted Stage' -- backstory of the rock band Rush

'High Lonesome' -- beautiful movie about the start of bluegrass music

'Buck' -- horse whisperer

'Winnebago Man' -- tracking down a TV pitchman.  FOUL LANGUAGE alert, but interesting.

'Who the #$%% Is Jackson Pollock?' -- a woman seeks to find out the value of a painting

'King Corn' -- the turning of agriculture into a monoculture

'Forgiving Dr. Mengele' -- a Holocaust survivor's quest of forgiveness

'Jesus Camp' -- kids at an unusual summer camp

'Herb and Dorothy' -- a modest couple collects modern art

'Kon-Tiki' -- the original footage of an experimental voyage across the Pacific

'This Is It' -- Michael Jackson

'Jonestown:  The Life and Death of Peoples Temple' -- Guyana cult

'Riding Giants' -- surfing

'Collision' -- a debate between Christopher Hitchens and Douglas Wilson

I've not personally seen these, but they are recommended by my college and teenage sons:

'Ultimate Predator' --  a real-life Tarzan

'Surviving the Cut' -- marines

'Restrepo' -- US soldiers in Afghanistan

'Bigger, Faster, Stronger' -- steroids

I'm interested in seeing:

'Gasland' -- controversial drilling in Texas

'Food, Inc.' -- thinking about our food supply

'Waiting for Superman' -- education

Most of these can be found on Netflix.  Feel free to make your own suggestions.

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