What Are Your Favorite Documentaries?

image credit: the outbound life

Calling all my savvy, in-the know friends! Can you help a lady out?

Dustin has this thing, y’all. He can not stay awake while looking at a screen. At all. I am not exaggerating. It sounds funny, BUT IT IS NOT FUNNY, PEOPLE. Okay, maybe a little funny. Mostly incredibly annoying, though.

It doesn’t matter where we are or what time of the day it is, the man will fall asleep within 5 minutes of watching a television show or movie. And it goes wayyyy back…apparently at HIS OWN birthday/slumber party as a child, when “Raiders of The Lost Ark” had just been released on VHS (gawwwwd, we are old), he fell into a deep slumber within minutes of the movie commencing. Yes, he missed his entire party due to SIN. (Not “sin,” for crying out loud…clean up that mind, you heathen! But S.I.N. – a very serious and very plausible disorder, Screen-Induced Narcolepsy, the name of which I personally created. About five minutes ago. We’ll be selling a SIN wristband to raise awareness for this calamitous disorder very soon.)

Due to this disorder, we have seen a grand total of…wait for it…5 movies in the theater since we started dating in 2001. Let me do the math for you…that equals 15 years. One movie every 3 years. Fabulous. And guess what, friends? I like movies. I would enjoy seeing a movie with my husband once in awhile. Alas, not in the cards.

Until last week. Upon hearing about the death of Bill Cunningham, I mentioned interest in watching this documentary released a few years back. Dustin agreed that he was also interested. I sharply inhaled when I heard this statement. Could it be? COULD THIS BE THE ONE?! I prayed to the screen gods as I accessed the documentary via Amazon Prime.

And you guys. He stayed awake. For 124 blessed minutes. (And that’s pronounced blesid, like the adjective. Say it aloud with me, one-hundred and twenty-four blesid minutes. Feeeeeel that important distinction in pronunciation.) Dustin did not suffer the ill effects of SIN. Glory be to the highest!

As we finished the documentary, and I brushed away my tears of happiness, he said to me, “I think I might like to see some more documentaries.”

FRIENDS. HE WANTS TO SEE SOME ADDITIONAL DOCUMENTARIES. Could this be our turning point? Could his SIN go into remission due to a robust supplement of varied documentaries?

Help me, dear friends. Help us. Keep Dustin in SIN remission, and please share the best documentaries you’ve seen – any and all subject matter welcomed. #putanendtoSIN

  1. Scheherazade

    June 29, 2016 at 5:17 pm

    The Barkley Marathons and Inspired to Ride are two I watched recently and liked.

  2. shana

    June 29, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    Going Clear was good. I have SIN as well and I usually have to be doing something at the same time as watching a show so I don’t fall asleep but yet, sometimes I can still fall asleep doing two things at once!

  3. whoorl

    June 29, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    Thank you, everyone! I’m going to need to compile a list of all these gems.

  4. Amanda Cofer

    June 29, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    I’m a huge fan of documentaries! My absolute favorite is When the Levees Broke by Spike Lee, along with it’s follow-up, If God Is Willin’ and the Creek Don’t Rise. Jesus Camp is creepy. Paradise Lost, about the West Memphis Three. The Jinx on HBO about Robert Durst. Good Hair by Chris Rock is fun! The Business of Being Born. I agree with Going Clear–it’s fascinating. Sorry for going a little overboard :)

  5. Sarah

    June 29, 2016 at 10:26 pm

    Somm. Jiro Dreams of Sushi. 20 Feet from Stardom.

  6. Kat

    June 30, 2016 at 7:12 am

    This film is not yet rated

  7. Rebecca Skarky

    June 30, 2016 at 9:03 am

    We love them–these are just a few–Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, Forks Over Knives, Craigslist Joe, Undefeated, Friends of God: A Road Trip with Alexandra Pelosi, Exit Through the Gift Shop, Eames: The Architect and the Painter, The Elephant in the Living Room, GasLand, The Garden, The Art and the Steal. Let me know if you want some more!! Good luck!!

  8. Elissa

    July 1, 2016 at 8:01 am

    “Searching for Sugarman” (about an obscure musician who had a huge following in South Africa)
    “When We Were Kings” (about the Ali/Foreman fight in the Congo)
    “Spellbound” (about the National Spelling Bee)
    “Meet the Patels” (about arranged marriages through the lens of one family)
    “Hoop Dreams” (1990’s film about two high school basketball stars in the Chicago projects)

  9. Blythe

    July 1, 2016 at 5:07 pm

    First Position
    The September Issue
    Sound City
    Hoop Dreams
    30 for 30 episodes
    Chef’s Table
    20 Feet From Stardom
    Don’t Stop Believin’

  10. whoorl

    July 1, 2016 at 7:37 pm

    Thank you so much, everyone!! So many great options!

  11. Allison Harris

    July 2, 2016 at 11:20 pm

    Who the F*#k is Jackson Pollack, My Kid Could Paint That, The High Cost of Low Prices, and one about building the Hoover Dam but I can’t remember the name.

  12. Karen

    July 3, 2016 at 6:53 pm

    1. I have SIN! Thank you for giving a name to something I have suffered from my whole life.
    2. This Buzzfeed list of “33 Mindblowing Documentaries You Can Watch on Netflix Right Now” just showed up in my Facebook feed and I immediately thought of you. I cannot speak to these titles because of my aforementioned SIN, but y’all may want to give them a try. Here’s the link:


  13. Elz

    July 31, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    Dinosaur 13. So interesting.

  14. MMN

    September 14, 2016 at 10:19 am

    I have SIN too, at home only. In the theatre I seem to do fine, except for double features. By the 2nd film, forget about it! I loved the Bill Cunningham documentary. A few more you should check out: Man on Wire, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Grizzly Man.