May 18, 2013

Top 5 Documentaries from 2000-2010

5. We Live in Public (2009)

Josh Harris is a dot-com entrepreneur who builds his own fortune in the early days of the digital boom. He creates this voyeuristic social experiment where a group of passionate twenty-somethings live in a sub-society in the NYC underground while under complete video-surveillance. Josh tweaks and manipulates this system to monitor human behavior while also turning the camera on himself for the digital world to see.

4. I Like Killing Flies (2004)

Ironically you are a fly on the wall of Shopsin's, a Greenwich Village cult-dive family-owned diner. Kenny Shopsin is the rambling eccentric owner/chef/artist/pseudo-philosopher who commonly throws customers out if there's too many sitting at a table, and will often make their own menu selections for them. You'll have trouble hearing your own conversation at your table while the Shopsin family shouts at each other in the kitchen. Nonetheless, they maintain deeply loyal customer base and by the end of the film you will be eager to enjoy a meal there or have the honor of getting turned away yourself.

3. Capturing the Friedmans (2003) 

Covering one of the darkest sides of humanity, this film is without a doubt one of the most disturbing films I've ever seen. A biographical documentary, it follows the story of the Friedman family, who had to endure the shock of seeing their father, a long-time computer tutor,  charged with child molestation. They were a close-knit family that always took comfort in having the video camera rolling during the various family functions (dinners, birthday parties, etc), and shockingly the camera wasn't turned off even after the darkness swept over the Friedman family.

2. The Devil and Daniel Johnston (2005)

Daniel is a conflicted genius that has created some really imaginative and original music, only to fall victim to his mental illness that has plagued him throughout his life. He was able to keep the demons at bay early on in his life but ultimately lost control as time went on. It's surprising to see how influential his work was to so many (Nirvana, Built to Spill, The Butthole Surfers) in the rock scene of the 90's. His music resonates, and I found myself hearing the melodies in my head long afterwards.

1. Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010) 

The film that made Banksy a household name. A thorough examination of the talented street artists that want their graffiti recognized but also want to maintain the ambiguity of who they actually are in the daylight hours. The filmmaker, "Mr. Brainwash", pursues Banksy in the hopes of befriending him but ultimately surrenders to the artistic lifestyle and ends up becoming a subject of the film.

Honorable Mentions:

Dear Zachary (2008)

The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters (2007)

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