Some Netflix Docs to Binge
It's one of the many Snowy and cold weekends here in Bismarck, so if you're not a book person, here's something else to pass the time while you're indoors.
One of the great things to do when stuck indoors is binge watch on Netflix. With that in mind, here are some documentary ideas you can watch that are pretty entertaining and thought-provoking.
Jerry Seinfeld: Comedian.
In 2002, Jerry Seinfeld had wrapped up his eponymous hit sitcom, and Orny Adams was a 29-year-old standup working the circuit. One of them is supremely confident in his abilities, and the other is nervous, uncertain, and self-conscious. Adams is the confident one, and, well, we have the advantage of knowing how his career turned out. It's a fascinating character study that shows the exacting precision required to make comedy work, without lapsing into the comic hagiography so present in contemporary culture. It's also one of the most cringeworthy displays of hubris you'll see onscreen, and each passing year of Adams' modest career adds another shudder.
It's a great look in the real-life struggle of being a comic and gives a pretty good perspective through the eyes of one of the biggest comedians of our generation. Jerry Seinfeld. This documentary shows yes he is susceptible to the mental doubt as well.
With footage recorded in the heat of and around the 1992 "Rodney King riots," LA 92's images speak for themselves without need of additional narration or retrospective commentary. (Reports of the time offer what little exposition and context is required.) This is not a supercut of news and home-video clips; Lindsay and Martin craft an impeccable experiential history, reminding us that their Oscar-winning doc, Undefeated, is very similarly a brilliant work of editing. But it's the music score, by Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans, that really moves the story and makes LA 92 so engaging.
It's a perspective view of the unrest that happened back then. It was one of those documentaries that brought me back to that time and trust me it was very chilling.
Jim and Andy: The Great Beyond:
This doc, directed by Chris Smith, tells the behind-the-scenes story of Jim Carrey's method acting madness as he shot 1999's Andy Kaufman biopic, Man on the Moon. At the height of his career, Kaufman was one of the most influential figures in comedy, blending reality with fiction to such an extent that when he died of a rare form of cancer at age 35, many fans thought it was just a dark joke. When Carrey won the chance to portray his idol in the Milos Forman-directed film, he decided to "become" Kaufman -- a process that was captured on camera for what was supposed to be bonus and promotional material. The results were, to use a technical term, batshit crazy.
It's a study in what goes into an artistic performance. Jim Carrey BECOMING Andy Kaufman. It's one of those masterful performances that you are allowed to see behind the curtain., and what you see is very interesting and disturbing at the same time.
The full list of documentaries you could check out is listed here.