Best Netflix documentaries right now

first_img Tags More streaming recommendations Netflix original documentaries and docuseries have been knocking it out of the park lately. Not only did Netflix win best documentary feature at the Academy Awards last year — for Icarus — it’s also been nominated six additional times in that category since 2014. Here are some of the best documentaries and docuseries to stream this weekend. Documentary featuresFyre: The Greatest Party That Never HappenedStream on NetflixBy now you’ve heard plenty of debate over whether you should watch the Hulu or Netflix Fyre Festival documentary. Pro tip: Abandon all your responsibilities in life and just watch both. OK, I understand that isn’t the most realistic option. So my vote is for the Netflix one. I found it to have the most insight into the logistics of what went wrong, which I find very fascinating. They’ll Love Me When I’m DeadStream on NetflixOrson Welles spent years trying to get enough money to complete The Other Side of the Wind, a mockumentary style film about a Hollywood director played by the late director John Huston. Upon Welles’ death in 1985, the film spent decades in limbo. Fortunately, the rights were acquired in 2014 by Royal Road Entertainment and director Peter Bogdanovich helped to complete the film, which premiered on Netflix this year. But perhaps even more fascinating than watching the actual film itself is this documentary on the making of the film. It’s narrated by Alan Cumming and filled with interviews from those involved with the making of The Other Side of the Wind. This documentary is quite a wild ride and a must watch for any Orson Welles fans, or those who want a deeper look into the complexities of trying to get a film made in Hollywood. Orson Welles and Peter Bogdanovich in the Neflix documentary They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead Netflix QuincyStream on NetflixQuincy is a very enjoyable documentary on legendary record producer Quincy Jones. Directed by Alan Hicks and Quincy’s daughter, Rashida Jones, the film repeatedly hammers home the fact that none of us will ever be as cool as Quincy. From Quincy’s work with Frank Sinatra, to scoring countless hit films, to producing musical masterpieces like Michael Jackson’s Thriller album, it’s hard not to watch the documentary and wonder how Jones managed to accomplish so much in his career. Hint: He’s incredibly talented. The Bleeding EdgeMetacritic score: 74Stream on NetflixDocumentary film fans are probably already familiar with director Kirby Dick’s work. From his investigation of the MPAA in This Film Is Not Yet Rated to the Academy Award-nominated The Invisible War about sexual assault in the US military, Dick doesn’t shy away from difficult subjects. The Bleeding Edge tackles implanted medical devices and the lack of regulation surrounding them. Though I’m squeamish when it comes to medical details, I felt The Bleeding Edge was absolutely worth stomaching. The individuals’ stories were powerful, and the film is eye-opening. Mercury 13Metacritic score: 82 Stream on NetflixThis documentary tells the story of the 13 female pilots who were tested, in secret, for the space program in the early ’60s. Sadly, for political reasons, these women would never be sent into space. (Although Russia sent a woman into space in 1963, it’d be another 20 years before America followed suit.) But these passionate, eager women were ready to be the first pioneers in space, and the documentary does a wonderful job of recognizing an often overlooked piece of space race history.Seeing Allred (2018)Metacritic score: 68 Stream on NetflixYou have to have pretty thick skin to be an activist in the public eye. And even thicker skin if you’re a female lawyer. But Gloria Allred has championed women’s rights for decades, seeming completely immune to the childish taunts thrown her way. This documentary is a fascinating look at the life and motivations of one of America’s best-known attorneys.Strong Island (2017)Metacritic score: 86 Stream on NetflixStrong Island is an incredibly moving film about a family’s history, and its struggles with racism in America. The movie is centered on a horrific 1992 tragedy, when William Ford Jr., a 24-year-old black high school teacher on Long Island, was murdered by a white 19-year-old. Yance Ford’s documentary on his brother’s death is a heartrending film that tries to celebrate William’s potential.Icarus (2017)Metacritic score: 68 Stream on NetflixBryan Fogel’s documentary Icarus, about sports doping, may as well be called a thriller. While making the documentary Fogel accidentally uncovered a massive Russian doping scandal after meeting with a Russian scientist. Icarus is an insightful yet scary look at the complex world of sports and the politics surrounding them. Oh, and Icarus won best documentary feature at the Academy Awards in 2018.13th (2016)Metacritic score: 90 Stream on NetflixAva DuVernay’s documentary about the mass incarceration and disenfranchisement of African-Americans in the US gets right to the point. 13th has to cover quite a bit of ground, and DuVernay’s skills as a filmmaker shine through as she carefully lays out a very complex history of injustice. 13th picked up an Oscar nomination for best documentary and won three Emmys and a Peabody Award. 6 TV and Movies Casting JonBenet (2017)Metacritic score: 74 Stream on NetflixIf you’re a true-crime fan looking for answers on the JonBenet Ramsey case, this isn’t the documentary for you. (Don’t worry, there are plenty of specials, books and podcasts on this case.) Instead, this thought-provoking documentary turns the camera onto the actors auditioning for re-enactment roles and makes the viewer wonder about how we might project our own experiences onto sensational cases like JonBenet’s.Gaga: Five Foot Two (2017)Metacritic score: 63 Stream on NetflixAs someone who casually enjoys Lady Gaga’s music but knew very little about her, I wasn’t expecting much from this documentary. But I found Gaga: Five Foot Two to be an enjoyable, easy watch, perfect for a lazy afternoon. Lady Gaga may have a larger-than-life persona, but the documentary really highlights the dedication and hard work required for the singer to be a superstar and pull off something as grand as a Super Bowl performance.Virunga (2014)Metacritic score: 95 Stream on NetflixVirunga was one of the first documentaries to really put Netflix originals on the map. It received a nomination for best documentary at the Oscars, the second Academy Award nomination for Netflix. At that point, people began to notice that Netflix was picking some real winners. And Virunga is absolutely a winner. The film focuses on the park rangers at the Virunga National Park in the Congo, and their struggle to protect the mountain gorillas who live there. It’s a powerful film well worth your time.  Docuseries7 Days OutStream on NetflixThe show focuses on the seven-day lead-up to major events like the Kentucky Derby or the Chanel fashion show and how they successfully come together at the last minute. In that sense it’s basically the antithesis of the Fyre Festival documentary. I highly recommend checking out the Westminster Dog Show episode, just to get a sense of how eerily accurate Christopher Guest’s mockumentary Best in Show really was. Chef’s TableStream on NetflixVolume 6 is now available on Netflix, so it might be time for you to finally check this one out. This docuseries on the culinary arts is pure visual poetry. Every episode tells the story of a different world-renowned chef. As a generally stoic person, I’ve cried maybe three times over a movie or TV show in my entire life. The first episode of Chef’s Table, which tells the love story of Massimo Bottura and his wife, had me sobbing on my couch. Make of that what you will.Making a Murderer Stream on NetflixWhen Making a Murderer first premiered about three years ago, it put Netflix docuseries on the map. Like most gripping true-crime stories, there’s been an endless internet debate over the murder of Teresa Halbach. Is Steven Avery, the man convicted of her murder, innocent or did he actually kill her? Was he framed? Dark TouristMetacritic score: 70Stream on NetflixIn this docuseries, journalist David Farrier tackles “dark tourism,” which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: tourists who visit deadly, tragic or violent sites. In the first episode, Farrier spends time with Pablo Escobar’s own hitman and Farrier voices his own moral conflict between finding the murderer charming and reprehensible. I don’t love true crime enough to build my holiday itinerary around a serial killer, but I’m fascinated by the people who actually would. The StaircaseMetacritic score: 95 Stream on NetflixNetflix brings us three new episodes of this true-crime docuseries, which first premiered in 2004. The series follows the trial of Michael Peterson, an author accused of murdering his wife Kathleen, after she was found dead at the bottom of their home’s staircase. After binging the entire 13 episodes and reading up on numerous theories, I still have absolutely no idea if Michael Peterson is guilty, innocent or framed by an owl. But as a true-crime fanatic, I’m obsessed with this case. Jump on the hype train! Evil Genius Metacritic score: 71 Stream on Netflix Calling all true-crime fans! Netflix has blessed us with another mind-boggling docuseries. Evil Genius: The True Story of America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist is just a roller coaster of emotions. This docuseries dives into the 2003 pizza bomber case, where a pizza delivery driver was forced to rob a bank while wearing a collar bomb. A big sensitivity warning: You’ll see someone blown up in the first 10 minutes. So I highly recommend you put any kids to bed before binging this four-part series in one sitting.  The Toys That Made Us Stream on Netflix  The show is just so fantastically fun to watch. Even the way the He-Man and Barbie teams from Mattel talk about each other across both episodes was delightful. Trust me, you should take a few hours out of your day to watch this docuseries and just feel like a kid again. Dirty Money Metacritic score: 80 Stream on Netflix My sincerest apologies, because Dirty Money is definitely not a feel-good docuseries. It’ll probably fill you with rage. But I’m recommending it anyway, because damned if it’s not informative. The show focuses on corrupt corporations. It had me asking important questions like “how on earth did they get away with that?” while screaming at my TV. You’ve been warned. Wild Wild Country Metacritic score: 79 Stream on Netflix Holy bananas. Is that even a saying? Because holy bananas. Wild Wild Country is about the Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and the seemingly utopian city of Rajneeshpuram that his followers built in a remote part of Oregon in the early ’80s. The local people of Antelope, right next to Rajneeshpuram, even attempted to disband their own town to try to prevent the Rajneesh’s followers from taking over. The story unfolds into utter insanity: from a hotel bombing to an assassination plot to illegal wiretapping to the largest bioterrorism attack in US history. This docuseries had me absolutely hooked in the first 10 minutes. Be prepared to have your mind blown that this actually happened.  The Keepers Metacritic score: 78 Stream on Netflix I’m just going to level with you: This docuseries may wreck you emotionally. The Keepers investigates the 1969 unsolved murder of Sister Cathy Cesnik, a Catholic nun and high school teacher, and how her murder possibly links to a pervasive sexual predator from the school, the priest Joseph Maskill. The seven-part series was nearly impossible for me to turn off, completely and utterly gripping from the onset. Comments 2018 sci-fi, fantasy and geek movies to get excited aboutcenter_img Best laptops for college students: We’ve got an affordable laptop for every student. Best live TV streaming services: Ditch your cable company but keep the live channels and DVR. Netflix 87 Photos Cord Cutters (OTT) Share your voice Best horror movies on Netflix Best Netflix shows How to stream every Marvel movie up to Avengers: Infinity Warlast_img

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