For the past couple of days I have been overcome with sickness. It is the kind of sickness that leaves you stuck in the horizontal position coughing and sniffling for days on end while you finally make good use of your Netflix account and come up with elaborate theories on who you should blame for getting you sick in the first place. You know, that kind of sickness. Also, hi I am the most dramatic sick person, ever.
During my illness induced Netflix bender this past week I inevitably managed to fall down the rabbit hole of documentaries and discovered some real gems. My favorite kinds of documentaries are the ones that follow people full of passion for what they do. These people have found the thing that makes them come alive and it is entirely enthralling to watch the many ways in which their passion has shaped their lives. I think these documentaries hit me so hard because I am still struggling to find that thing that makes me soar and I like hearing the stories behind how other people found what works for them.
So if you find yourself overcome with my sickness, or are just looking for some new documentaries to watch, allow me to recommend the following. Click the links to be magically transported to the trailers.
the art of flight | The first time I saw this documentary it wasn’t at all by choice and I was so completely furious that I was being forced to sit through a stupid snowboarding highlight reel in which I’d watch bros do obnoxious tricks and high-five each other for an hour and a half. Less than five minutes in to this movie all of my annoyance disappeared as I found myself in complete awe of the beautiful images in front of me. And I really think that is the best way to describe this documentary – beautiful. Having just watched this movie for the second time, I can reaffirm that it doesn’t at all disappoint. Eye candy, I tell you.
being elmo | Disclaimer: it wasn’t until after I saw this documentary that I learned of the recent controversy surrounding Kevin Clash (which just saddens me so darn much), but even with that in mind I still highly recommend this documentary if for no other reason than the powerful storytelling. Being Elmo tells the story of a man who knew what he wanted to do from a very young age and made it happen. His passion for his art is a true inspiration and this documentary definitely left me a sobbing mess. Also, I just watched the trailer and started crying all over again.
first position | Oh hai, my name is Ameena and I have an unhealthy
obsession fascination with the ballet and ballet dancers. First Position follows five young dancers from around the world as they prepare for a really important ballet competition that will determine their future as dancers. It is wildly fascinating to watch how dedicated these young artists are to what they do. The way dance has shaped their entire lives is incredibly, even though they know the risk to their bodies is high and the career can be drastically short. Their dedication and passion is so inspiring and thrilling to watch.
bill cunningham new york | I just don’t know that I have ever seen anyone like Mr. Bill Cunningham. This incredibly adorable 83-year-old man has dedicated the past forty plus years of his life to taking pictures of fashion on the streets of New York City. Whether or not he will take a picture of you has nothing to do with your social status, and everything to do with what you are wearing. Travelling on bicycle and living in an apartment literally filled from wall to wall with filing cabinets containing every picture he has ever taken, Bill is a truly intriguing individual. The most striking moment of this documentary comes when the interviewer asks him if he has ever been romantically involved with anyone and he looks completely taken aback by the question. It is as if the thought has never crossed his mind before and he says, “It never occurred to me, I guess I was just too interested in clothes.” It is impossible to not fall in love with Bill Cunningham by the end of this documentary.
6 days to air: the making of south park | I get that South Park isn’t most people’s cup of tea, and if that is the case then this documentary probably isn’t for you. But! If you love South Park as much as I do (or probably more because sometimes I am still squeamish during episodes) then this is the documentary for you! It is an awesome look at how each episode is created (just in case the name didn’t give that away). They literally come up with the idea of a new episode six days before it is set to air and create the whole thing within that time. The team behind South Park creates magic, I tell you. Also, of course this movie had to follow the week they created one of the most disturbing episodes in recent memory. But hey, it’s also one of the episodes I reference the most. So there’s that? Also, someone take me to see the Book of Mormon musical IMMEDIATELY.
happy | So yeah, this documentary definitely took all of my preconceived notions on happiness and turned them completely and totally on their head. Basically Happy takes a look at the lives of people from around the world and asks them the most basic question of all – what makes you happy?