I was looking through Netflix and I realized that I had not seen very many documentaries this year. So I decided that I would watch several of the docs over the next month to get ready to see which one was the best one around. All these have been released in 2019.
I started on Netflix and watched a short one (around 42 minutes) called Fire in Paradise. This told the story of a terrible camp fire in 2017 that decimated a town in California named Paradise. This was totally shocking and tense, seeing pictures and cell phone images from the heart of the blaze. The interviews with the people who survived this encounter was absolutely heart wrenching. You could almost feel the heat coming through the screen. This doc was seriously good.
Next doc I moved over to Hulu to watch The Amazing Johnathan but this one was less involving to me than the last one. Johnathan is a magician who found out that he had a heart condition, and that was something that I was not interested in seeing. I did not find Benjamin Berman that charming and the doc went into a different path that was odd.
I had had the chance to see this one in the theaters, but I did not want to see it. That was too bad, because The Biggest Little Farm was tremendous. I would have loved to see it in the movie theater. This told the story of a couple and their dog in an attempt to bring an area of farmland outside of Los Angeles back to life. They faced all kinds of problems from birds to coyote to soil that was “dead.” This was wonderfully education and as compelling as could be. I should not have skipped this one.
Next up on Hulu was a documentary called Jawline and it was about a 16-year old boy named Austyn Tester, who wanted to build a career by posting videos on YouTube and Instagram. This film was interesting because it followed the young man who had some initial success, but apparently wound up back in his life in Tennessee. The film discusses some of the drawbacks of social media too. While interesting, I would have liked to know more, go deeper. It never seemed to go fully into the theme. It was entertaining though.
The final one today on Hulu is Ask Dr. Ruth which is the story of iconic sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer’s life, career and influence to the world. The documentary included more than just the sex talk that she had became famous for, but also looked at her past, including her escaping the Holocaust and how she grew up to be Dr. Ruth. Ruth Westheimer is such a charming and funny person who is able to speak so honestly that you can understand why she became such a sensation.
More to come later…looking for the time to watch the Bob Dylan/Martin Scorsese doc on Netflix.
Edit: BTW…Dr. Ruth was a sniper.