Thursday, September 12, 2013

Top 10 Documentaries

This weeks top 10 list is Top 10 Documentaries of All Time.I watch an absurd number of Documentaries, so many that I often forget them, so trying to remember specific ones for this list was actually rather difficult. There are hundreds of fantastic documentaries, but I wanted to make this list about ones that I thought were the most important, most informative, and left the biggest impact on me, because I think thats really the point of documentaries. So here it goes:

10.) Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room
Very intriguing and mind-blowing documentary about this giant company and its enormous corruption which led to the company's ultimate demise. Its unbelievable the level that they went to to make money. These were some seriously bad people, they were incredibly greedy people who went to any length to get money. I urge pretty much everyone to watch this movie to understand just how the world really works and why Capitalism isn't always the answer. Its a great system in theory, but when you account for the human error of greed, its a system that just can't work. You can't let men have that much power without assuming that they will gain a god complex.

IMDB: 7.7/10

9.) Deliver Us From Evil
Really great documentary about the aftermath of the child abuse problem within the Catholic church. It clearly shows just how bad the cover-ups are and how high they go. This documentary is full of first-hand accounts of abuse from abuse victims of the same man, Father Oliver O'Grady, who abused dozens of children, boys and girls, in the 1970s when he was relocated numerous times throughout the state of California as an attempted coverup by the Catholic Church. The documentary even has interviews with Father Oliver O'Grady himself. Very eyeopening and disheartening film for sure. Another extremely important documentary that I think will paint a clear picture of where the Catholic Church actually stands on this controversy. 

IMDB: 8.0/10

8.) The Invisible War
This new documentary is currently up for an Academy Award, and I think its definitely a front-runner for sure. Very powerful documentary that shows the horrifying effects of the incredible problem of rape in the military. Most of the stories are about women being raped but there is one about a man. It shows not just the traumatic emotional effects, but in some occasions, also the physical effects. It also shows the clear cover-up that the American Military has become part of. Its not exactly what I would call surprising. I think the film "A Few Good Men" with Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson, is the perfect example of the intense loyalty that people in the military feel. This documentary has a similar message because most of the rape cases in the documentary never actually went to trial despite the fact that all of them had been reported to their superiors. Really horrifying but important stuff. 
IMDB: 7.3/10

7.) Dear Zachary: A Letter to A Son About His Father
I almost forgot about this one somehow. Probably the most heartbreaking film I've ever seen, simply because its a true story. I decided to watch this film because of its ties to Newfoundland, but that had very little to do with what I loved about it. It starts off with the filmmaker interviewing family, friends and colleagues of Andrew Bagby, a newly graduated doctor who has just been murdered. The film takes place all over the world to cover his ties to all of the places that were important to him. It follows the murder but we soon find out that his probable murderer is pregnant with his child, and has also fled back to Newfoundland. This film shows the clear failure of the Newfoundland and Canadian justice system when they fail to extradite Shirley Turner before its too late. Unbelievably heartbreaking story. Its so clear how much Andrew meant to everyone in his life. I can only hope that I leave a legacy like his when I am gone. Do yourself a favor and watch this. Also, there is no shame in crying at this movie, even if you are a fully grown man. IMDB: 8.5/10 

6.) Fahrenheit  9/11
A lot of people feel like Michael Moore is extremely biased and that his films are propaganda. There's no doubt that Moore is biased, but 90% of documentaries are, because they are trying to get across their own message, so I'm not really sure why everyone hates on him so much more then others. This documentary raises a lot of questions, and puts a spotlight on some of the many horrors of war, and the many mistakes the American military made during the early years. I think that the most important thing that this documentary exposes is the fact that most Americans don't actually know why they attacked Iraq. They think that the war was because thats where they would find the terrorists who attacked them on 9/11, when that wasn't the reason at all. Even if you don't believe the oil reasoning that Moore relays in this film, that wasn't the reason behind attacking Iraq. I remember hearing about this film when it was first released so I knew there had been controversy, but I didn't see it until about 4 years later. Great movie that I think should be seen whether you agree or not. IMDB: 7.5/10

5.) The Cove
Few documentaries leave me sobbing at the end, but my god this one did. The premis of this film is basically that the man behind the TV show Flipper(Rick O'Barry) has a sudden change of heart when he believes that his dolphin, the one who actually plays Flipper in the show, kills herself in his arms. Thus begun his life-long mission to undo the fascination that his own show created with dolphins around the world. Since then he has been arrested dozens of times for rescuing and releasing dolphins form captivity. This film is an incredibly exciting, nerve-wracking story of a group of activists desperately trying capture on film, the annual dolphin slaughter in Taijii, Japan. They use cameras hidden in fake rocks, underwater microphones, and tons of other impressive devices to help on their quest. There are tons of twists in this story, and it isn't dull for a moment. The final images are shocking and horrifying, but also incredibly effective. This film has changed laws all over the world, and I hope it will continue on its mission. It won the 2010 Academy Award for Best Documentary, and it definitely deserves it. It changed my view on many things, including Sea World, which I will never, ever visit again. IMDB: 8.4/10

4.) Inside Job
This Oscar winning documentary is a shocking and upsetting film that takes a closer look at the 2008 stock market crash. The film makers interview top financial and political experts to get to the bottom of what caused the crash. It is made pretty clear that the cause of the crash was extremely greedy people who had an incredible amount of power within their companies and banks, but also within the political system. The most horrifying part of seeing this documentary is the knowledge that no one has been sent to jail for destroying the entire American financial system, causing many Americans to be left with practically nothing, while they got to keep billions of dollars for themselves. This films shows the sex and cocaine fueled lifestyle of these Wall-Street bankers. Few documentaries have angered me more. There's a reason that this film won its 2011 Oscar. (PS. Matt Damon narrates the entire film)
IMDB: 8.2/10

3.) An Inconvenient Truth
This was the first documentary that truly made me enjoy them. I really believe that this film changed my life. A lot of people are sceptical that this film is purely propaganda especially because of the seemingly random stories told by Al Gore about his life throughout the film. I personally cannot understand in the least how someone can think that Climate Change isn't happening, but apparently there are people who are that naive. My cousin has a doctorate in environmental  sciences, and she told me that 90% of this film is correct (leaving out the parts about his life because that has nothing to do with the actual point of the film.) That personally was enough for me because she clearly knows what she's talking about. Its pretty crazy to see the change in the last few years, I remember when this was first released, it was everywhere, and then Al Gorehad that huge concert on 07/07/07, and now the only time you hear about climate change is when the right-wing nuts are making fun of the "theory." I think we need to get back to talking about climate change before its too late. Like I said, the film changed my life, and more importantly my lifestyle. This film won the 2007 Oscar for best Documentary. IMDB: 7.6/10

2.) Food, Inc.
I think is by far the most important documentary about the food industry, mostly because most documentaries on this topic are either solely focused on turning us all into vegans, or leaving us without any other options. This film does a fantastic job at showing the horrors that these animals are forced to endure, and that there are no laws to protect them. I realize it seems kind of silly to have laws for animals that are raised for the sole purpose of consumption, but its not just for them, if they spend their whole lives living in their own excrements, the chances that said excrements will contaminate the meat that we will eventually be consuming. This also shows how the farmers are being put into a headlock by the owners of these cattle and poultry farms by putting them in crippling debt because of the constant changes they are forced to make. At the end they show that farming how it used to be done is still possible, but we have to tell the politicians that we need to see change. 
IMDB: 7.8/10

1.) Bowling For Columbine
This was my first introduction to Michael Moore, and man is it good. Again, those complaints about him being biased are brought up, but the facts in this film are just un-debatable for me. Right now the topic of guns is huge in America, like it should be, but the fact that it is still such a huge problem is mind-boggling to me. The numbers and statistics in this documentary are mind-numbing and truly horrifying. It has now been more then 10 years since this film was released, and we now have a school shooting that is even worse then the horrors at Columbine High School. This year alone there have been dozens of mass shootings in America. I'm so lucky that I live in Canada, but America is a little too close to me to feel truly safe. This film is also about the culture of fear-mongering that the media and government has become part of, which is clearly true. What I really love about this film is that they managed to get an interview with Marilyn Manson who proves how intellectual he is and that he isn't the cause for these horrible crimes. If for some reason you haven't seen this year, go watch it immediately. This film won the 2002 Oscar for Best Documentary.Michael Moore proved just how defiant he was when he used his acceptance speech to voice his opposition to the then new war on Iraq where he was then booed off the stage. Funny how things change. IMDB: 8.0/10

I'd like to stress again how hard it was for me to make this list, all of my honourable mentions are also very important in their own ways, with very important messages to offer so definitely look them all up as well!

Honourably Mentions: Waiting For Superman, Gas LandHow to Survive A Plague, Who Killed The Electric Car?, The Tillman Story, Paradise Lost 3, Super Size MeFor The Bible Tells Me SoCatfishReligulous,  SickoCapitalism: A Love StoryThe Times of Harvey MilkJesus CampCapturing the Friedmans, No Impact ManExit Through the GiftshopCraiglist Joe, Shut Up and Sing.

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