Documentaries You Must Watch

I don't watch movies and I don't watch TV. But I fucking love documentaries.

I've gone down deep Reddit threads to find the best documentaries that exist, and here are the ones that I am fanatical about.

1. Dear Zachary (2008)

The best documentary stories aren't planned—they're uncovered after the filming starts. Dear Zachary is one of these. A friend started to create a tribute to his murdered best friend, but the story gets more bizarre and infuriating until you can hardly bear to watch. Some characters in this film will affirm your faith in human goodness, and other characters will destroy it.

2. Man on Wire (2008)

Man on Wire is a tribute to human willpower and a celebration of artistic rebellion. The film chronicle's Philippe Petit's 1974 wirewalk between the twin towers, narrated by Petit himself. Come for the cool story, stay for the soundtrack and Petit's inspiring life philosophy.

4. The Queen of Versailles (2012)

The Siegel family, owners of Westgate Resorts, are building the largest single-family residence in the US. And then the Great Recession hits. The family goes into survival mode as David has to fight to save the business, and Jackie—the Queen—has to come to grips with a less affluent lifestyle. While schadenfreudian at times, I came away with respect for David's relentlessness in the face of financial catastrophe.

3. Fyre (2019)

From the opening scene there are red flags that the Fyre Festival is about to implode. And it gets worse from there. Fyre is a cautionary tale—it reminded me that audacious plans need to be accompanied by accountability and rational thinking.

5. Three Identical Strangers (2018)

This documentary explores human bonding, nature vs. nurture, evil science, and the side-effects of sudden fame. Don't read the summary of this movie, just watch it.

6. Cocaine Cowboys (2006)

While not an artistic masterpiece, this film documents the drug traffickers that dominated Miami in the 1980's. If you enjoy high-stakes decision-making and rivalries, watch this film.

7. The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley (2019)

This film covers Elizabeth Holmes and the Theranos implosion. Both inspiring and troubling. Inspiring that people rallied around a bold idea, and troubling that it was built on false hopes and later, fraud.

8. The Founder (2016)

The Founder is the story of Ray Kroc and the beginnings of McDonald's. The film portrays the serious grit that fierceness that Kroc weaponized to turn a neighborhood restaurant into a massive empire.