Documentaries Worth Watching

It’s finally the weekend and time to relax by doing a whole lot of nothing. I usually spend time finding random documentaries on Netflix (there’s quite a few interesting ones about mysteries and cults if you like that kind of thing). I think documentaries are interesting because they give us a glimpse into worlds we may not see otherwise. As someone who loves learning I’ll watch a documentary on pretty much anything.

I have accumulated a few favorite subjects and specific documentaries. One of my favorite subjects ever in life is design. I would heart eyes emoji any time we watched one in my design class. Another subject I like is music. Not only does it give me a chance to hear the history of artists, songs or movements but I get to look at some things I might not have considered interesting before. Netflix has quite a few really good music documentaries if the aliens, conspiracies, and cults get old.

Below are some of my all time favorite documentaries. Aka the ones I talked people’s ears off with despite them desperately wanting me to shut up. Seriously I can talk about fonts for an unfortunate amount of time. 

  • Helvetica (available for rent on Amazon) – This documentary is about typography, graphic design, and the most popular (and recognizable) font. There are interviews with people who absolutely love it and those that can’t stand it. Its pretty surprising how widely used the font actually is from magazines and signs to television. I truly never realized how many places it appears. It also digs a little deeper into the people who create the fonts we use every day because they each have a story to tell.

  • Don’t Look Back (available for rent on Amazon) – Don’t Look Back is considered one of the greatest rock and roll documentaries ever made. It gives a glimpse into Bob Dylan privately and on stage during 1965. It’s interesting to watch him interact with fans, fellow musicians, and especially the journalists. The film shows part of his legendary Royal Albert Hall performance (yeah, the Judas one). He’s incredibly charismatic, pretty arrogant, and definitely interesting to watch.
  • The Face of the 20th Century: Bauhaus (available for free here) – This documentary is incredibly old (circa 1994) and likely belongs on a VHS tape. It is a made for television special about the foundations of the Bauhaus movement. It gives a glimpse into the founding of the school in Dessau to its transition to a defunct factory in Berlin. The Bauhaus includes all arts including architecture and fine arts (the performance art is something else). Many of the principles of their teachings, including the layout of the school itself, are incredibly interesting. Another good Bauhaus doc is available on Youtube.
  • Minimalism: A Documentary About Important Things (available on Netflix or Amazon) – I believe I’ve mentioned this doc before a couple of months back after I watched it. The doc gives a peek into the lives of minimalists from all different walks of life. There are plenty of ways we can all embrace a little minimalism. One of the most interesting things shown in the documentary is how many things we accumulate over time and how those things aren’t necessarily the keys to our happiness. Consumerism is something we just embrace as a way of life we routinely work hard to accumulate the best stuff we can. Sort of as status of ourselves and our achievements but that brings to the surface a lot of questions after watching this film.
  • Page One: Inside the New York Times (available for rent on Amazon) – With news so readily available on the internet, this documentary explores the changing face of journalism. It shows the struggle to keep the paper relevant in the constantly changing technology landscape. The New York Times is an institution and is one of newspapers I would turn to regularly for the news. (I get still oddly nostalgic for the paper version even though it’s available daily at Starbucks) This doc gives a fascinating look into how the company functions, runs its daily business, and the journalistic process.

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