6. Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (2010)
The Doc: Most people might know Joan Rivers for her crass humor and plastic surgery, but in this documentary we are encouraged to take a closer look into her personal life. The film documents Rivers’ career from her more modest beginnings up to the present. We see a bold Rivers in her early career during the 60’s when it was very difficult for a woman to be a comedian. Her charisma allowed her shock humor to launch her notoriety and transform into the personality she is today. After years working her way to the top, Rivers remains a workaholic going to great lengths to keep her career from becoming stagnant.
Why It’s A Must-See: To see a more emotional and at times somber Rivers. Also she keeps her thousands of jokes in a hilarious filing system! How amazing is that?!
7. A Band Called Death (2012)
The Doc: Three brothers from Detroit form a band, call it Death and make punk music before punk existed. Due to various reasons relating to the brother’s personal lives, Death went under the radar and was almost forgotten until recently when discovered by record fanatics. “A Band Called Death” recounts the story of these brothers and their recent new found popularity. Since very little video footage was recorded of the band, director Christopher Covino used scanned photos to piece together this visually captivating documentary.
Why It’s A Must-See: Three African American brothers, growing up in Detroit surrounded by Motown, and inspired by The Who created a punk record in the 1970’s. You have to watch the movie to believe it.
8. Room 237 (2012)
The Doc: A look into Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” narrated by fans who have their own interpretation of the film. This documentary not only looks into “The Shining” but Kubrick and his work as a whole. Some of the theories offered by the narrators are so bizarre that it makes “The Shining” scary in a way you may have never expected. Offering the audience a large array of conspiracies you will never be able to watch “The Shining” the same way again
Why It’s A Must-See: Kubrick was a genius but one of the things that made him an incredible director was his motive to challenge the audience to take a closer look into his work. As explained by the theories, there is much more to Kubrick’s work than meets the eye.
9. The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters (2007)
The Doc: Donkey Kong fanatics attempt to break the record high score in the game. Although a documentary, the characters are so appropriate for this movie that it almost seems scripted. A cult classic for many years, this film is gaining a wider audience with even a scripted version rumored to be in the works.
Why Why It’s A Must-See: “King of Kong” is pure delight and will never get old no matter how many times you’ve seen it.
10. Boys of Baraka (2005)
The Doc: The film opens with a shocking statistic: “61% of Baltimore’s African American boys will fail to graduate high school”. A masterpiece from directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, this film documents a program where 20 at risk African American boys are selected to attend school in Kenya at the Baraka School. Included in curriculum is climbing to the top of Mount Kenya.
Why It’s A Must-See: Heartbreaking and intriguing, “Boys of Baraka” arouses concerns about our country’s school system. The footage from the school where the boys are selected is truly upsetting. A must see film for many reasons.