Archive | January, 2014

Netflix Documentaries for Your Snow Day(s)

6 Jan

So from what the internet is telling me, it looks like the whole world is having a snow/ice/coldness holiday today. Even many of you who are not in the education field are enjoying a day off that usually only happens if a bomb threat is called into your work (which is what I have always referred to as Adult Snow Days).

Now that you have an extra day to remain snuggled in your pajamas with your pet or your loved one(s), don’t you think it’s time to fire up your Netflix and participate in some informational movie film viewing on your new flat screen? Luckily my three-day NYE hangover has afforded me the opportunity to preview and review many of Netflix’s old and new docs for you. Here are some recommendations, in no particular order.

1. Blackfish (2013) Blackfish

You have been putting it off, or perhaps you didn’t even know it was available on Netflix streaming, but it is time to sit down and punish yourself for all the carefree hours (or days) you spent at SeaWorld in your childhood. Blackfish uncovers SeaWorld’s reckless policies when it comes to the capture and handling of orcas, and focuses in particular on Tilikum, an orca that really lives up to the killer whale nomenclature.

Somm2. Somm (2012)

I love wine, yet all I know about it is that you should drink white wine cold, it’s not technically champagne unless it comes from the Champagne region of France, and if you want to get the best Malbec, you should ensure that it originated in the Southern Cone (Argentina/Chile). I thought I was doing pretty well on my wine knowledge until I saw Somm, a documentary about some of the elite few sommeliers who put their lives on the back burner for years in order to study for, and often fail, the Master Sommelier exam. It is absolutely insane what these people have to know in order to pass. I hope this can lead to more wine parties in my future, as we attempt to recreate the “blind taste” part of the exam. “This wine tastes like a freshly opened can of tennis balls, freshly cut hose.” And for those of you who think wine is a drink that is just for women, you will be surprised at what a boys club it tends to be. Which leads me to my next recommendation…

3. Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony (2012)Bronies

Apparently I am late to the party, but until I saw this documentary, I had no idea that people flock, in the thousands, to My Little Pony conventions all over the world to join in

Abe Simpson

fellowship with Brony bretheren. This isn’t your MLP of the 80’s or 90’s, however. The (mostly) male followers of the new age of My Little Pony love it for its animation, music, and above all, the overall message of friendship and love in the show. I must admit, I still don’t really get it, but maybe I’m just getting too old. I really do appreciate the message and the vibe of these Bronies, however, and I think it’s a world worth gawking at through this doc.

ROOOS_70_M1V1.indd4. Room 237 (2012)

If you love Stanley Kubrick and/or The Shining, you’ll enjoy this documentary about the many (conspiracy?) theories that surround this masterpiece of cinema from 1980. Some of the theories presented in the documentary are downright frustrating, and remind me that I am in wayyyy over my head if I really wanted to be a film critic/analyst. It took me back to the days of high school English classes in which every little literary symbol is beaten to death as a possible reference to a Freudian nightmare. But overall, even my frustration came from a place of entertainment, and some of the theories I found quite enjoyable. My favorite one claims that the original moon landing shown on TV was actually a fake, directed by Stanley Kubrick himself. It refers to several instances in The Shining that support this conclusion. While some are far-fetched, I want to believe!

5. Kumaré (2011) Kumare

We all spend at least part of our lives pondering the existential questions of “who am I really? Why am I here? What is my purpose? Why is there suffering?” etc. Some of us even seek the answers from others, often a guru, or a spiritual teacher/guide/healer. Kumaré tells the story of a “false prophet,” a man who creates his own philosophy, teachings, and spiritual practices, and then gains followers to see how far he can take it. As a viewer, I often found myself wincing at how blindly these people accepted him as a guru and prophet. Yet at the same time, he did have a virtuous message underlying this whole project, and I think that those who came out of the project without hating him for his betrayal actually learned more about themselves, life and enlightenment than many who never see the veil of their guru lifted.

Keep warm, my friends! And stay tuned for my next wintery installment of Netflix streaming and Hulu TV shows to keep you warm until the first thaw.

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