For a lot of us, binge watching movies and shows on Netflix is a favorite pastime. But what should we turn to when craving something with real-life subsistence?
Look no further than this refined list of the awesomest modern documentaries currently streaming on Netflix.
But viewers beware: some of these documentaries are not for the faint of heart. You have been warned!
1. Finders Keepers (2015)
What would you do for fame and attention?
In the documentary Finders Keepers, a southern man named Shannen Whisnant goes further than most people would be willing to in order to keep his peculiar spot in the limelight glowing.
In perhaps one of most bizarre true-life storytelling documentaries I’ve ever seen, Whisnant’s story begins as he buys a BBQ grill at an auction in South Carolina. When he returns home with the grill, Whisnant discovers a severed human leg is hidden inside.
After the peculiar story goes viral, and the owner of the leg is discovered, the hysterical yet dark tone of the plot only continues to thicken. Legal ‘custody’ battles ensue, as well as struggles with addiction and homelessness, and long list of stranger-than-fiction moments.
“As hysterical as it is insightful.”
2. Extremis (2016)
We must all face death at some point. We’re all going to die someday, but how do people and their doctors and families navigate this voyage to the unknown?
This Netflix original short explores the harsh realities that go into the literal decisions of life and death.
Would you stay on life support as long as possible, or let your body go naturally even if technology can keep you here? Will you be buried, cremated, or perhaps have your ashes turned into a precious diamond or memento for your family? How will you go, and how will you be remembered?
These are just some of the end of life questions and scenarios explored in Extremis.
3. The Witness (2015)
At approximately 3 a.m. on March 13, 1964, 28-year-old Kitty Genovese arrived at her apartment in Queens, NY. Upon exiting her car and walking across the parking lot, Genovese was brutally attacked and murdered with a hunting knife.
The murder of Genovese was highly controversial because it happened outside in public, and there was a multitude of witnesses. Thirty-eight people heard or saw her cries for help as she was attacked and killed over the span of about half an hour. But no one stepped in the help at all!
Complete with rare footage and interviews, The Witness is a heart-wrenching documentary that will keep any crime, mystery, or psychology enthusiasts at the edge of their seats.
4. Welcome to Leith (2015)
Welcome to Leith is an all too real-life documentary with a tone that’s eerily similar to the powerful new horror flick, Get Out.
Leith, North Dakota, is a town where less than 20 people resided in 2010. In this community of rampant white supremacy, racism and profiling, Neo-Nazi mindsets, and all imaginable forms of race-based hate were common shared beliefs.
This documentary follows Craig Cobb; the Neo-Nazi who tried to turn Leith into a full-blown white nationalist community.
Welcome to Leith is terrifying, uncomfortable, and hard to watch at times as it spews so much hate. However, it’s important to get a glimpse of this society that most of us would prefer to ignore. Anyone who denies that racism is still a paramount issue in the world needs to watch this eye-opening documentary.
5. Rats (2016)
As straight-forward as the title implies, this Discovery Channel documentary gives insight into the wild existence of one of humanity’s most intelligent and persistent pests: Rats.
This documentary is not for the squeamish as acts of rat cannibalism, scenes from the sewers, and exterminator endeavors are all caught on camera. Viewed as pets to some and pests to most, rats possess cognitive abilities that are as impressive as they are disturbing.
One thing is certain: rats are diverse. Disease-carrying rats are destroying certain parts of the world and literally worshiped by humans in temples in other parts of the world.
6. No No: A Dockumentary (2014)
Not many people can say they’ve pitched a no-hitter at a pro baseball game. Even fewer can say they’ve managed to do this while incredibly high on LSD.
No No: A Dockumentary chronicles the story of prolific Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis. The film highlights his career achievements as well as his addictions and lifelong efforts to help other addicts.
You’ll have to witness the details to believe them!
7. Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About his Father (2008)
Don’t watch Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About his Father until you’re ready to ride a roller coaster of emotions.
This story tugs at your heartstrings every step of the way as filmmaker Kurt Kuenne catalogs and memorializes the life of his murdered best friend, Andrew Bagby. Kuenne interviews everyone who knew Bagby as an attempt to showcase a wonderful life to his unborn, unknown son, Zachary. And believe it or not, this is just scratching the surface of this mind-blowing story.
Personal injection here: I’ve ever been so affected by a documentary. I smiled and laughed uncontrollably at times, and I didn’t just cry at some points; I sobbed. I even passionately screamed at my computer screen during a couple of climactic moments. Saying I agree with the below quote is an understatement:
“One of the best documentaries I have ever seen in my entire life. A film that will rock you to your core.”
-Erik Davis, Cinematical