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August 10, 2005

{     13 Documentaries You Should See Immediately.     }    

A Baker's Dozen...

1. "The Freshest Kids - A History of the B-Boy" by Israel.
2. "Pie in the Sky - The Brigid Berlin Story" by Shelly Dunn Fremont and Vincent Fremont.
3. "Theremin - An Electronic Odyssey" by Steven M. Martin.
4. "When We Were Kings" by Leon Gast.
5. "Sherman's March: A Mediation to the Possibility of Romantic Love in the South During an Era of Nuclear Weapons Proliferation" by Ross McElwee.
6. "Nico-Icon" by Susanne Ofteringer
7. "Heidi Fleiss: Hollywood Madam" by Nick Broomfield.
8. "Timothy Leary's Dead" by Paul Davids.
9. "Hitman Hart: Wrestling with Shadows" by Paul Jay.
10. "Big City Dick: Richard Peterson's First Movie" by Ken Harder, Scott Milam, and Todd Pottinger.
11. "Blacktop: A Story of the Washing of a School Play Yard" by Charles and Ray Eames.
12. "Whole" by Melody Gilbert.
13. "Gap-Tooth Women" by Les Blank.


Great "Twelve" list!

"Theremin" is one of my favorite documentaries of all-time. It's just incredibly watchable and involving. I thought I would enjoy it simply based on my fascination with the Theremin itself, and I wasn't expecting much. It surprised me, and I ended up loving it for completely unexpected reasons.

I also have to chime in with my two cents-

"Brother's Keeper" is a classic doc that hit me really hard the first time I watched it, and it's stuck with me for the past 13 years.

On the West Virginia tip-

"Jesco White, The Dancing Outlaw"


"The Flea Market Project"

The latter I'm a bit biased towards, having been involved in the filming and production of the piece, but I think it stands on it's own as a nice portrait of rural Appalachian and transient Flea Market culture.

Posted by: Adam at August 10, 2005 10:09 PM

If you haven't seen "Whole" yet you should check it out. It's about people that are totally normal in every other respect other than they are obsessed with becoming an amputee. They will know from childhood that they want to amputate their arm and know down to the centimeter where they want to have it done. Some become so obsessed with it they self amputate themselves and when they do they they say it gives them have a sense of normalcy that they've never felt before. Very interesting.

Posted by: Lindsey Baker at August 11, 2005 4:37 AM

I'm a documentary fiend and I haven't seen most of those. Must get busy!--thanks for the list.

Posted by: sarah at August 20, 2005 6:20 AM

Great list!
I'm kind of a documentary nut, so I don't know if I could ever do a "12" (only) list...
On that note, here are some of my faves (not already mentioned):
Cane Toads -
Vernon, Florida -
Grey Gardens -
American Movie -
The Thin Blue Line -
In the Realms of the Unreal -
The Kid Stays In the Picture -
Hoop Dreams -
Hearts of Darkness -
Lost in La Mancha -
To name a "few"...
My top spot would be a battle between "Cane Toads" and "Grey Gardens" (I can watch them over-and-over-and-over-and...).

Posted by: numlok at September 1, 2005 5:37 PM

Sweet. I also nominate Hell House, Devil's Playground, Fearless Freaks, and the purely speculative documentary Jandek on Corwood. I also consistently like PBS documentaries that I only see the middles or ends of, including the flea market one, that newer videogame one, and this one they did on delicious hot dogs.

Posted by: jenn at September 13, 2005 7:15 AM

Wow, I haven't checked back to this post for a while. I'm so excited to have all these suggestions, "Grey Gardens" sounds wonderful.

Posted by: Lindsey at January 6, 2006 12:23 AM
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