My top 5 favorite documentaries

1) King of Kong: Fistful of Quarters 

Some people are obsessed with video games, but this documentary takes you deeper into the obsession. We witness two individuals who are competing at Donkey Kong.

At the beginning, we’re introduced to businessman Billy Mitchell, who holds the highest record on Kong, many people have tired to conquer his score, but continue to fail, until an individual by the name of Steve Wiebe, takes the brave step to take the record away from a desperate Mitchell.  While both men share the passion for this classic video game, they couldn’t be more incomparable to each other.  Mitchell is a business man; he owns restaurant chains and is known for his ”world famous sauces”, while Wiebe is portrayed as a family man with a little free time on his hands to buy the arcade machine and begin many, many hours of practice.

What seems like innocent times, turns ugly at some points through the documentary. Mitchell is portrayed as the villain, while Wiebe comes across as a humble competitor. Just when you think Wiebe has grasped his goal, somehow Mitchell keeps ensuring that the goal is taken away at the last second. Donkey Kong becomes a second thought, as the real challenge is to take down Billy Mitchell. As a viewer, you want Steve to wipe that smirk off of Billy’s face. Real life becomes a video game; it’s about Steve Wiebe, over-coming challenges and obstacles as he climbs the ladder to bring down Mitchell.

2) Grizzly Man

Werner Herzog introduces us to a larger than life figure named Timothy Treadwell, who spent 13 summers amongst grizzly bears in Alaska. Treadwell documented each visit with such admiration, love and curiosity towards the bears in a childlike fashion. Treadwell wanted to protect the bears from poachers and believed the bears trusted him. Unfortunately for him, death was always too near and one day he and his girlfriend were attacked and eaten by the same animals he respected and loved more than life itself. As you watch footage the tapes of Treadwell, you see a quirky, funny, but yet disturbed man who’s time was running shorter with each visit to be around the grizzlies.

Herzog’s narration plays like a like a perfect score over the film. He unravels who this man was and why he may have chosen such an extreme life to live. The most disturbing part of this documentary is not hearing about how Treadwell dies, but when Herzog’s listens to a piece of audio that was rolling as the bears attacked and killed the couple. While we don’t hear the audio, it’s Herzog’s reaction that sends a chill down your spine as he says right away, destroy the tape immediately!

3) Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father

Director Kurt Kuenne grew up making films with his childhood friend, Andrew Bagby. While Kuenne continued with film into his adult years, Bagby went on to become a medical student, who meets Shirley Turner who he begins a relationship with. This would become Bagby’s death sentence as the relationship falls apart, driving Turner to shoot her ex in the head five times. Turner becomes the number 1 suspect but is not put into custody until extradition proceedings pend. To make matters worse, it’s revealed that Bagby murderer is pregnant with his child; who is later named Zachary.

This is where Kurt Kuenne steps in. He decides to interview friends and family to show Zachary what kind of man his father was. This is what you think the documentary is about; looking back on this man’s life, but no, it not about that. As Kuenne continues to film, things go into a different direction as things get far worse to the point where I, as a viewer, felt so much anger as events unfolded. I don’t think a documentary or film has ever hit me on an emotional level like this one has.

Dear Zachary is a twisted tale, but one that should be viewed just to witness such bravery from the Bagby family; because what they endure, is inspirational.

4) Deliver Us From Evil 

Religion has always been a controversial topic. Some people believe in the existence of God, some don’t and some just don’t know. Priests are people that are meant to be viewed as knowledgeable, helpful and spiritual human beings, but when cases came out that priests were molesting children, the trust factor towards the church decreased dramatically.

Deliver Us From Evil follows Oliver O’ Grady, a sick, rapist bastard, who molested kids in California since 1973. The church tried to cover up O’ Grady’s disgusting acts as he was moved from one parish to the next. Some footage is heart-breaking as we see people who once had faith, breaking down on camera, leaving their faith in the mud thanks to some evil rapist and sick individuals in the Catholic church who tried to cover up this man’s crimes.

The documentary will have you debating with family and friends by the end as it’s a very touchy subject that challenges the viewers faith.

It’s fascinating to see the victims of such tragic events try to seek justice from the church without getting anything. O’ Grady finally moved back to Ireland and was sentenced to three years in jail for possession of child pornography earlier this year. That’s not enough, a life sentenced should have been handed out.

5) Cinemania

Do you like film? Do you consider yourself a fanatic? Nah, you’re not! You think you are, but you’re not! You are you say? Then watch Cinemania and then come back to me.

Cinemania takes a look at five obsessed film fanatics who go to extreme lengths to watch films. A lot of this obsession can be reflected in their own homes. One of the five, Roberta Hill, collects so much stuff that she can barely maneuver around her apartment. She’s also been banned from many theaters for attacking ushers. Another cinephile can call off many films running time that he’s seen, while another guy named Jack Angstreich will eat a special diet so he won’t have to go to the bathroom during the movie.

While it’s sad to see such behavior in people, it’s hard to turn away at the actions displayed; they live through the movies, and reality is only secondary to them.

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