The Benefits of Documentaries

I love, love, love documentaries. Every time I turn on Netflix, I go straight to the documentaries section to see if there is something I haven’t seen yet. I honestly rarely watch scripted shows anymore. Acting rarely keeps me engaged. I now, 90% of the time, only watch reality T.V and reality movies (documentaries, and docu-series). It is so much more intriguing and REAL to watch something that is ACTUALLY happening, rather than watching some director with a fantasy/fake script. To me, it is just so cheesy; I don’t get it. It’s even hard for me to watch movies.

best-documentaries

Deidre Pike in Reality Movies, touches on 3 questions addressing the credibility of the newly popular documentaries. “Are news documentaries, honest, independent, and productive?”

Are documentaries honest? I truly believe that news documentaries, for the most part, try and present a picture that will increase the sells. Documentaries try and portray the situation, but just like any news source, there is always going to be multiple factors in deciding why they are covering the issue, and how they are benefiting from it. I do believe that documentaries  do a great job at presenting a fair depiction of the story they are covering. Most of the time, they present a well balanced view.

Pike discusses the move Super Size Me, and I agree with the viewers who were critical of the documentary. It was a a smart and calculated decision for Morgan Spurlock to eat this crazy amount of food daily. Yes, you gain weight if you eat 5,000 calories a day, is that a shock? But..  the documentary made it seem like McDonalds was in the wrong for serving food and acting like a business. As if they have some ethical obligation?! I believe over eating is a personal responsibility. If Spurlock would have eaten healthy choices at McDonalds (and yes there are some!), he wouldn’t have gained weight. It is not the corporations responsibility to worry about individuals inability to control their portions. Do I think fast food should be regulated in general, yes, but it’s pure existence for so long, lets me know it will never go away. I wish the world was free of unhealthy foods, but that’s NEVER going to happen. The grocery store will always have Oreos, soda, and chips. If you ban one, you have to ban em all, and that will NEVER happen! So why blame McDonald’s for making money? It’s like saying plastic surgery can be unhealthy, and people become addicted, so let’s outlaw all plastic surgery for everyone.

The Super Size Me documentary did a great job, of presenting a message that McDonalds will make you fat if you eat it everyday, and let viewers interpret it how they felt. Like news satire, Documentaries really make it possible for viewers to critically think about what’s being presented to them. And, sometimes their message is skewed to present a message that sells. Pike states, “Such “gimmicks” aren’t unusual in the history of journalism.”

So0o0o many documentaries stand out for me, I don’t know which one to choose. I personally love Lisa Ling documentaries. I really feel like she does and excellent job of really getting to know the people she’s filming. Her view acts as an insider’s perspective ,and that really adds to the credibility of the documentary. She has a good show called Our America, and it’s more of an investigative type of docu-series. It ranges from inside looks from prostitution, to sugar daddies/sugar babies, to the oil boom in South Dakota. It really lets me see what something is like that I would never personally experience, which is freakin awesome!! I want to see what a prostitute goes through walking the streets at 4am in high heels, 7 months pregnant with a jon’s baby, and addicted to crack.

I love how documentaries really give an in-depth look into situations that don’t make the mainstream news feeds. It allows the audience to see understand issues that we don’t see on a daily basis. Documentaries take us up-close and personal to the in’s and outs of what’s really happening. It lets the viewer feel as if they are living, and dealing with the issue along side of the people in the documentary. It not only informs the viewer on the facts, but documentaries do a great job of engaging viewers and evoking emotion.

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5 thoughts on “The Benefits of Documentaries

  1. Nice post! I totally agree with your belief in the importance of documentaries and whether they are about something you do have a bit of knowledge about or not, they will teach you something of substance about reality. I laughed a bit when you said “I want to see what a prostitute goes through walking the streets at 4am in high heels, 7 months pregnant with a jon’s baby, and addicted to crack.” Although this is a bit depressing… Yes I want to see this too.

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  2. I’m glad you enjoy documentaries. I have gradually been developing a greater interest in them and find they can be very informative. As far as your take on the video Super Size Me, I think you make some really good points. It IS up to each individual to limit the amount we eat each day. McDonalds supplies food to their customers and makes money as is their right but at the same time I feel it is because of places like McDonalds that eating healthy becomes more difficult. Overall, it does seem that the documentary went over the top but in doing so the message definitely got across

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  3. I agree completely – documentaries really do stand out in your head and and provide and interesting way of looking at things. Even if you don’t agree with everything presented the way the film goes about collecting the information is always interesting and good to consider when considering different topics.

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  4. when you said “I believe over eating is a personal responsibility” in my head I was thinking yes that is the best way to put it. I truly believe we live in society where the responsibility falls onto the consumer. Of course some people don’t share the same opinion. Imagine a world with no junk food? oh man that’s impossible I believe. What do you think? One thing when doing this assignment was the fact that some documentaries have many fallacies which bothers me but of course nothing is perfect. Great Post. I hardly watched any documentaries. What do you recommend?
    Have a nice day

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    1. Thank you Eddi. Yeah, there are really good documentaries on Netflix, and I also just watched a good one on HBO. It’s about the Robert Durst cases, and his killings; it’s called “The Jinx”. It was really, really good. The crazy thing is, Durst is thought to have killed a girl here in Eureka CA when she was walking from the mall back in the 80s. He use to come to Trinidad all the time, and in the documentary it takes the viewers through Humboldt County and interviews a Taxi Cab driver from City Cab who had a run in with Durst, and it was way cool!

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