Since getting Netflix, Huff the Hubs and I have found a new obsession: watching documentaries.
There are probably about 35 documentaries in my Netflix list right now. Seriously.
There have been so many that I’ve loved! We watched one that focused on an adorable betrothed couple with Downs Syndrome, one about the “real” Indiana Jones, and another about the life of Tolkien! But, out of all the ones we’ve watched, I definitely have ULTIMATE favorites.
This documentary was absolutely heart-wrenching. I know it was the director’s intention–I’m not so naive to think that this (or any documentary) is made to not get an emotional reaction from its viewers–but this documentary really struck a chord with me. The main focus of the documentary centers on Tilikum, a male orca now owned by Sea World, and the abuse and neglect he suffered, as well as injuries he caused. I got A LOT of flak for saying that I would never go to Sea World after I saw this film. Which is fine. Not everybody that watched it had the same reaction I did. But that’s the great thing about America, people. We can have differing opinions. This isn’t Panem.
2. Planet Earth
Technically, Huff the Hubs and I watched this pre-Netflix. I actually scored the entire DVD box set on Black Friday a few years ago for cheap! Since we didn’t (and still don’t) have cable, this docu-series was our nightly entertainment for about two weeks. The five disc set covers just about every inch of our planet and discusses the various flora and fauna that inhabit it. Its such an amazing series; HtH and I were constantly in awe of the complexities of nature. I remember him saying, “I don’t know how someone can watch this and NOT believe in God!”
3. Miss Representation
I actually turned this documentary on the other morning to have as background noise while I worked. I got sucked in within the first 10 minutes and subsequently got 2 hours behind on my editing. But it was worth it. This documentary brings to light the under-representation of women in leadership positions in America, and challenges how the media portrays what it means to be a powerful woman in today’s society. There were certain parts of the documentary I didn’t agree with, but all in all, I thought it was great at showing how mainstream media really makes it unfair for women to be seen as more than just “props”.
4. Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price
This 2005 documentary didn’t really hit me like the others did. However, it did open up a lot of debate between me and HtH. In The High Cost of Low Price, the filmmaker speaks with former and current Wal-Mart employees as well as small business owners that the national chain has put out of business. I did think there were a lot of things that Wal-Mart did that was wrong (such as asking their employees to donate money for struggling employees–which they did and raised over $9 million–when the Walton family only donated $6K and the openly sexist managers) but there were other parts to it that I didn’t quite agree with. They talked a lot about how the small, “Mom-and-Pop” businesses were being forced to close their doors once a Wal-Mart came to town. Which, yes, it was so sad to see these people who had worked their lives to create a business, have to box up their inventory and board up their windows. However, that’s just the nature of the beast in a capitalist society. Businesses come and businesses go everyday. Would I rather frequent a smaller, family operated store than a big conglomerate? Of course. I think its important to support those businesses. However, if I can get something substantially cheaper somewhere else, I’m more inclined to go there so I can make my dollars stretch.
Do all of these documentaries have a bias? Yes. Do they all have valid points? Yes. Are they worth watching? Oh, YES.
You may not agree with my take on these documentaries, and that’s fine! You don’t have to. I think what’s important to remember when watching documentaries is that these films are making us talk. They’re making us think outside of ourselves and take a look at the bigger picture and making us discuss the world around us. Films like these have the potential to bring about change and improvement. And that’s worth watching!