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.
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.