A father and son document their lives caring for someone they love, who is stricken with cancer. A man steals from a grocery store. An elderly couple, their hair pristine white, finally tie the knot. A young man tells his grandmother via a phone call that he is gay and that he hopes she can come to love his significant other as much as him. A group of women sing as they perform their daily duties. A photographer describes his way of life. People walk, go to work, talk to each other, talk to the camera, as they do in life. Because this is life. Life is extraordinary and life is mundane. And life, no matter from what perspective we examine it, is mesmerizing. And Kevin Macdonald’s film “Life in a Day” is all of that and more.
This is one of the most enthralling, captivating, and magnificent works of art ever produced by human hands. And that is the honest truth, since it was, in deed, created by hundreds of people. Some of them filmmakers, most of them just ordinary Janes and Joes like you and me. Detailing what happened in their lives on July 24, 2010 and submitting their footage to Mr. Macdonald and producer Ridley Scott, they provided the materials for a genuine masterpiece. “Life in a Day” is a masterpiece not because it is artistic or cared for with creative tenderness (even though it is). It’s a masterpiece because it is unabashedly honest and personable. I watched the movie on its live Youtube debut while it was simultaneously screened at the Sundance film festival. And for an hour and thirty-four minutes, I sat there captivated. Nothing could have torn me from my seat. Even though most of what I saw was fairly ordinary, things I could see walking down any street in any town. Paradoxical as it sounds, the mundane is mesmerizing.
In his movie, Mr. Macdonald and his hundreds of co-directors examines human life as fact and with honesty. He reveals the frailties, tenderness, brutality, horrors, and beauty of life in our world all within that short window of an hour and a half. It’s so captivating because it’s all real and these are stories that many of us can identify with, and others we hope never to. That’s when the movie really becomes a tear-jerker. Sometimes there are long stretches of time on particular subjects, other times it’s a montage accompanied by truly wonderful, ear-worm music. There is so much that I want to say about “Life in a Day” but I must restrict myself. Because the movie really has to be seen to be believed. I cannot possibly do this film’s emotional and psychological justice simply by writing about it. All I should (and will) do is tell you my reaction, as I just have. This is one of my most personal reviews and it’s fair because it’s a personal film. It engages the audience more than any documentary could ever do (though I haven’t seen “Shoah” yet) and it leaves us with that utterly profound and beautiful sensation that only a great picture can do. Even though it is very, very simple in a lot of ways. After all, Steven Spielberg once said “Oftentimes the simplest ideas are the best ones.” He was right. Boy, was he right.
“Life in a Day” is a masterpiece.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011)
I had to start off by mentioning Jiro. Not only is this documentary fantastic, but it’s one of the more recognizable titles in this list. I have friends who either never watched, or claimed to hate documentaries, but ended up loving this movie. I think it’s a great jumping off point into the genre. Jiro Dreams of Sushi chronicles the life of Jiro Ono, an 85-year-old sushi chef who runs one of the best sushi restaurants in the world. However, as much as this is a film about the quest for gastronomic perfection, it’s also a film about family, legacy, personal sacrifice and how all these things fit together (or don’t).
Set Aside 2 Hours Of Your Time, Watch This Documentary And Learn Why The American Drug War Is A Farce
American Drug War: The Last White Hope was my selection on Netflix last night as I was preparing to fall asleep with the aid of some television background noise. 5 minutes into the movie while my eyelids were getting heavier and heavier, I couldn’t totally resign to first stages of sleep as my ears were collecting information and insights that was totally resonating with me. 2 hours later and wide awake, my whole perspective on drugs, the war on drugs, prison, war, America and the people running the show were totally shifted. I’m posting the entire documentary below. It’s 2 hours long and is a considerable investment in time, considering we live in an era of instant gratification, were 30 second videos with quick payoffs rule our landscapes. However if you want your mind blown, perspectives changed and your paradigms shifted, this documentary will certainly do that job. Happy viewing.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the poorest countries in the world and thanks to an insanely complicated mix of politics, armed conflict, and corruption… it’s also one of the most under-reported. It also happens to be home to a nondescript black rock known as Coltan… a vital ingredient in the production of nearly every cell phone and computer on the planet. Without Coltan, our technology-driven lives would come to a screeching halt, and Congo has 80% of the world’s supply. Since the mid nineteen-nineties, armed groups have used these minerals to fund a series of fantastically complicated and horrifically violent wars.
Vice founder Suroosh Alvi travels to the Democratic Republic of Congo and makes one of the most grueling treks of his life to see first-hand where this so-called “conflict mineral” comes from and to meet some of the rebels involved in the seemingly never-ending conflict in Eastern Congo.
For All Those Considering Going To A For Profit College, Check Out Frontline’s Expose Before You Take Out An $80,000 Loan
I’m posting the movie Food Inc in it’s entirety because I feel every human being on this planet needs to watch this documentary. The message of ‘Food, Inc.’ is that most of what Americans now eat is produced by a handful of highly centralized mega-businesses,and that this situation is detrimental to health, environment, even our very humanity. The ugly facts of animal mistreatment, food contamination, and government collusion are covered up by a secretive industry that wouldn’t talk to the filmmakers or let the interiors of their chicken farms, cattle ranches, slaughterhouses, and meatpacking plants be filmed. They say you are what you eat and what you’re putting on your dinner plate nowadays is highly questionable.
Here’s an insanely interesting documentary which reveals how cannabis acts on the brain and in the body to treat nausea, pain, epilepsy and potentially even cancer.
If you have a couple hours to spare and are in a seek the truth kind of mood, I got the perfect documentary for your, The Corporation. It’s a documentary that looks at the concept of the corporation throughout recent history up to its present-day dominance over society. Be warned, this video is only meant to be viewed by those with a strong stomach.