50 + Docs to See Before You Die

Current TV just completed the series “50 Documentaries to See Before You Die” The list included a number of entertaining and socially moving films. Admittedly, I’ve only seen 20 of the 50 in this list and I had 7 more of them already on my own list. However there were a number that were on my list that were left off of Current TV’s list. So here are a 10 more documentaries to see.

10. Ghosts – Although this is more of a docu-drama and not strictly a documentary. Filmmaker, Nick Broomfield (Kurt & Courtney. Biggie and Tupac, Sarah Palin: You Betcha!) brings his documentary expertise to the story of a young Chinese girl is smuggled into the UK so she can support her son and family in China. The use of non-professional actors brings a cinema-verite fell to the film. http://nickbroomfield.com/

9. How the States Got Their Shapes – Based on the book by Mark Stein. America’s first century was defined by expansion and the negotiation of territories among areas colonized by the French and Spanish, or occupied by natives. Amazom.com

8. Sicko – Michael Moore had the most number of films on the “50 Docs” list (Roger & Me, Bowling For Columbine & Fahrenheit 9/11). Sicko is a documentary comparing the highly profitable American health care industry to other nations, and HMO horror stories. Whether or not you agree with Moore’s philosophy, his filmmaking style worth noting. This movie as well as Capitalism: A Love Story should also be added to your list must see docs. http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/sicko/

7. Word Wars – In this character-driven documentary, filmmakers Eric Chaikin and Julian Petrillo follow four “word nerds” through their fastidious preparations and smaller tournaments that lead to the national championship Scrabble tournament in San Diego in 2002.

6. I.O.U.S.A. – Filmmaker Patrick Creadon (Wordplay) interweaves archival footage and economic data to paint a vivid and alarming profile of America’s current economic situation. The ultimate power of I.O.U.S.A. is that the film moves beyond doomsday rhetoric to proffer potential financial scenarios and propose solutions about how we can recreate a fiscally sound nation for future generations.

5. The Cove – Academy Award® Winner for Best Documentary of 2009, THE COVE follows an elite team of activists, filmmakers and freedivers as they embark on a covert mission to penetrate a remote and hidden cove in Taiji, Japan. The team uncovers how this small seaside village serves as a horrifying microcosm of massive ecological crimes happening worldwide. The result is a provocative mix of investigative journalism, eco-adventure and arresting imagery, adding up to an unforgettable story that has inspired audiences worldwide to action.

4. Afghan Star – After 30 years of war and Taliban rule, Pop Idol / American Idol has come to Afghanistan – people are risking all to sing. www.afghanstardocumentary.com/

3. Wordplay – An in-depth look at The New York Times’ long-time crossword puzzle editor Will Shortz and his loyal fan base. Featuring Jon Stewart, Ken Burns, Bill Clinton & more. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0492506/

2. Where in the World is Osama Bin Ladin – I think this film is more relevant now with 20/20 hindsight. Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold) travels to Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Afghanistan, Pakistan amongst others to try and locate the man who eluded the American army for nearly a decade.

1. We Live In Public – Winner of the 2009 Sundance grand jury prize for U.S. documentary. Ondi Timoner’s documentary chronicles a decade in the life of Internet pioneer Josh Harris, who instigated an “artificial society” experiment in which more than 100 artists lived under 24-hour surveillance in an underground compound in New York City. www.weliveinpublicthemovie.com/
Currently available on Hulu Plus

What docs are on your list?

One Comment

  1. 50 Documentaries to See Before You Die

    50. Spellbound (2002)
    49. Madonna: Truth or Dare (1991)
    48. The Kid Stays in the Picture (2002)
    47. One Day in September (1999)
    46. Little Dieter Needs to Fly (1998)
    45. Decline of Western Civilization: The Metal Years (1988)
    44. Burma VJ (2008)
    43. When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (2006)
    42. Catfish (2010)
    41. The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters (2007)
    40. When We Were Kings (1996)
    39. Biggie and Tupac (2002)
    38. March of the Penguins (2005)
    37. Inside Job (2010)
    36. Taxi to the Dark Side (2007)
    35. Paragraph 175 (2000)
    34. Brother’s Keeper (1992)
    33. Tongues Untied (1989)
    32. Dogtown and Z-Boys (2001)
    31. Jesus Camp (2006)
    30. Farenheit 9/11 (2004)
    29. Man on Wire (2008)
    28. GasLand (2010)
    27. Tarnation (2003)
    26. Murderball (2005)
    25. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005)
    24. Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills (1996)
    23. The Eyes of Tammy Faye (2000)
    22. Shut Up & Sing (2006)
    21. Exit Through The Gift Shop (2010)
    20. Capturing the Friedmans (2003)
    19. Touching the Void (2003)
    18. Food, Inc. (2008)
    17. Street Fight (2005)
    16. Bus 174 (2002)
    15. Crumb (1994)
    14. Dark Days (2000)
    13. The Fog of War (2003)
    12. Bowling For Columbine (2002)
    11. Paris Is Burning (1990)
    10. Grizzly Man (2005)
    9. Trouble the Water (2008)
    8. An Inconvenient Truth (2006)
    7. The Celluloid Closet (1995)
    6. The War Room (1993)
    5. Super Size Me (2004)
    4. Waltz with Bashir (2008)
    3. Roger and Me (1989)
    2. The Thin Blue Line (1988)
    1. Hoop Dreams (1994)

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