Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Top 10 Documentaries of ALL TIME (probably) - Part 1

I am a big watcher of documentaries. And I am not, like some, a documentary snob. I am open-minded, and always hopeful that I may be pleasantly surprised by the excellent quality of the many late 90s documentaries still available on 4od, or even, dare I say it, Channel 5. Of course I also enjoy the weighty insightful political stuff that wins awards at obscure French festivals too.

So this is my top 10 list. In reverse order.

10. Grizzly Man

Tells the story of the life and death of the lunatic "bear enthusiast" Timothy Treadwell. Treadwell is a captivating topic, whom, it seems, would have been happier as a bear than a human. In all fairness to him, the fact that he survived so long in such close proximity to the bears is pretty damn impressive. Werner Herzog's German accent is soothing, but I can't decide if it makes the story of Treadwell's death feel more or less shocking- but it is definitely a good thing. For those who have seen the film already, I recommend this fun Sporcle quiz that gets you to identify Treadwell's bear friends by name: http://www.sporcle.com/games/MistahSchwartz/GrizzlyMan. The only one I could remember was Mr. Chocolate.

9. My Penis & I

Oh BBC Three you wonderful, wonderful beast. This is about a man and his quest to come to terms with his smaller than average... well, penis. Despite the initial hilarity caused by the majority of the content of this documentary, poor Lawrence's self-confidence issues are actually quite touching. Essentially, his emotional journey is an thinly veiled excuse for BBC3 to allow viewers to gawp and gasp at lots and lots and lots of images of our favourite male organ. I'd recommend watching this with a group of squeamish girls and lots of wine.

8. Bowling For Columbine

Probably my favourite Michael Moore documentary. Watching as a Brit rather than an American means that most of Moore's arguments in favour of gun-control seem outrageously obvious, but Moore is absolutely the best at wittily handling very serious subjects, and Bowling For Columbine gives a fascinating insight into the history of the town that has seen such horrific violence.

7. Grey Gardens

Grey Gardens is a classic, and should probably be much closer to #1 on this list. It captures the lives of two highly eccentric reclusive women, a mother and a daughter called Big Edie and Little Edie. Their garden is wild and overgrown, they live without running water and their large mansion is infested with racoons, cats and fleas. They muse about the past, and rarely admit any outsiders in. Little Edie is basically Blanche Du Bois in real life; and as such, utterly mesmerising to watch.

6. King of Kong

King of Kong transports us to a bizarre American microcosm where Video Games rule the world and where the baddies make hot sauce and have really stupid hair. The amount of time and energy that the extraordinary characters in this film put into playing Donkey Kong is just incredible; if you wrote this as a fiction it would be dismissed as far too ridiculous to be believed. Trust me, YOU HAVE GOT TO WATCH THIS ONE. 

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