Thursday, November 3, 2011

Gosh Darn Documentaries.

i know this has to do with running, but i don't feel like explaining how exactly:

i just started working in full again this past week. in the time leading up to it, i've been "working from home" and watching an insane amount of documentaries (my previous life as a laborer will never allow me to believe that working from home is actual work).

anyway, here are netflix picks...which you've probably already seen:

- everest. beyond the limit. at least the first two seasons. don't bother with the 3rd.

-everest. the wildest dream

-Touching the Void, which i watched twice even though it physically hurt me.
(obviously there's a theme going here)

-180 south. this is an obvious pick at this point because it includes both mountain climbing and Chile. a little eye-rolling, but it's shot really well and you'll be jealous of Jeff Johnson's life.

-Pulling John, about arm wrestling. it's awesome.

-bigger, strong, faster: about PDA's in sports. OUTSTANDING. draws and makes connections between sports, movies, drugs and the american dream. really good.

non-netflix picks.

-**if you go to, you can find Vice's amazing documentaries. They are the best and they're free and they're quick. the one about Liberia will absolutely destroy your whole world. if you've ever done drugs, the Swansea Love Story is very difficult to watch and the Krokodil Tears is pretty fucking horrifying. i put asterisks in front to indicate that all of vice's doc's are awesome and free. if you've ever been a skateboarder, they got you covered too. the north korea edition of "vice guide to travel" is also pretty mind-blowing. the vodka one is good too. they're all ok. dig in.

-All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace. This is a wild one. Highly recommended. You can find is streaming via some google searching. "" has it if i remember correctly.

Old Stand-bys (both are on netflix i believe):

-Man On Wire. This is my favorite documentary of all time.

-Deep Water. round-the-world sailing doc. this is my second favorite. it's my #1 pick, but only when i'm feeling kind of dark. very applicable to ultrarunning i think.

also, Beer Wars will make you not want to drink InBev stuff (not that you did anyway). King of Kong everyone has already seen, but it's still pretty good. The pinball doc isn't bad. If anything, it's just a nice reminder of when I was a kid.

Eric, if you happen to read this, please add some more that I haven't seen. Thanks!

All of these will somehow be applicable to running. Enjoy.


Jen said...

Man on Wire is also my all-time favorite! No one ever knows what I'm talking about!

P. said...

it's the song that does it to me.

brownie said...

The Vice stuff is now on netflix.

I got to drink a beer with the dude who cut the rope in Touching The Void. Nice guy. Very interesting to hear him talk about what happened.

Eric Rivera said...

Burden of Dreams, the Herzog documentary about the making of Fitzcarraldo. This is also applicable to running, as Herzog claims filmmaking, to him, is about pain and actual athleticism. This is the movie where they pull a huge ship over a mountain in the jungle, and Klaus Kinski threatens to kill him.

Eric Rivera said...

Also I am re-watching all the Adam Curtis documentaries this month (All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace being some of his best) for the third time and he is sort of cementing himself as my all-time favorite filmmaker, in any genre.

Eric Rivera said...

Oh I also was watching the Ken Burns National Parks series, which are so incredibly thorough and interesting. You'd think it'd be pretty dry material, and maybe it is, but with winter in this hemisphere fast approaching, I can't think of a better thing to sit around and watch for several hours. The thing that strikes me most about this series is what an incredibly progressive idea the parks were for us, so early on, and how the parks have always had to be defended by shamanistic poet-stewards of the land, their unique role being both diplomatic and bohemian.

Eric Rivera said...

Also I am becoming increasingly interested in the world of BDSM communities. Are there any documentaries on that stuff out there?

Eric Rivera said...

Oh! Also, more BBC stuff, of course. I watched all of the Louie Theroux series while in England last year, he is incredible and visits swingers clubs, psychics, South African racists, Westborough Baptist Church (who I consider to be top notch modern performance artists), Black Nationalists, etc, etc. I think it's called Louie Theroux's Weird Weekends. Most of his time is spent in America and the episodes with racists or religious freaks are usually the best. That swingers episode is gold, though.

P. said...

this is now a full-blown resource for documentaries. i'm giving up the stupid posts about jogging and just doing documentary reviews.

brownie: it's pretty impressive that the guy still is willing to talk about when i'm sure he's told the story 100,000 times. but, i suppose that's natural considering it's a fucking whopper tale. super gnarly in every respect. that documentary is incredible.

Jen said...

erik satie's gymnopaedie #1. i live, die, and come back to life in the duration of that song.

re: free tequila--i've started a contest with my friends of how many times we can get drunk for free. you just gotta bat your eyes a little. come on, pat.

P. said...

be it pain, blood or tears... you always have to pay for tequila.

Andrew Adair said...

Not to be obvious but let's not get into documentaries and not mention Grizzly Man. Encounters at the End of the World is a good one too. Also, (and don't let anyone tell you it's amazing from start to finish, the middle is flat-out boring) I had a spiritual experience and a week's worth of earth-shattering dreams after watching "Cave of Forgotten Dreams". Also, there's a jeffrey dahmer "documentary" on youtube (really bad, from a cable channel, NOT the A&E doc, a diff. one) which took the approach of interviewing a bunch of weird, tactless, not very sharp midwesterners who knew him and his victims. Turns out Dahmer had a friend who made a comic about his life and crimes and the doc uses this as a storytelling device sometimes...It totally sucks and is weird but also addicting because his story is one of the most horrifying and unbelievable things ever on this planet, in the history of time. Period. It touches on some facts that the other docs and hours of interviews with him do not.