6 Documentaries to Watch for a Fascinating Movie Night at Home

Posted on February 23, 2022 at 6:00 am

By Andrea Brumbaugh

In the past year or so, I’ve found myself drawn to documentaries. I can’t seem to get enough. I’ve enjoyed serious topics, like social justice issues or conspiracy theories. Studies of people also fascinate me. For family viewing time or when unwinding, lighthearted topics can be a wonderful viewing experience as well.

The library has helped fuel my new addiction. There’s a fantastic selection of documentaries on DVD in our catalog and also many streaming on our digital resource hoopla. Here are a few of the documentaries I’ve recently borrowed from the library that I’ve really enjoyed.

The Up Series

This is probably one of my favorite documentaries of all time. What started out as a small documentary interviewing 7-year-olds in England in 1964 turned into a study of 14 lives over the span of 56 years. Every 7 years, the same 14 people were interviewed as they grew, graduated school, got jobs, started families, lost loved ones, and more.

The library’s DVD includes the first eight installments of Seven Up, 7 Plus Seven, 21 Up, 28 Up, 35 Up, 42 Up, 49 Up, and 56 Up. The most recent installment, 63 Up, is available on some streaming platforms. I found it so interesting to see these kids from different socio-economic backgrounds grow and change over the years.

A Year in Space and Beyond a Year in Space

My oldest son and I watched this one together. It’s about astronaut Scott Kelly, the year he spent on the International Space Station, which was the first time it had ever been done, and how his time there will assist future missions in space.

Scott Kelly has a twin brother Mark who is also an astronaut. Both brothers endured tests while Scott was in space and Mark was on Earth, to see how elongated periods of time in space can affect the human body. The hope for this data is that it will help humans eventually go to Mars.

For They Know Not What They Do

Director Daniel Karslake, who directed For the Bible Tells Me So (2007), revisits the topic of homosexuality versus religion in this 2019 film. The film covers the legalization of gay marriage in the United States as well as transgender identity, among other things. It features religious families who are grappling with what their faith says about LGBTQ+ people. Both documentaries are worth a watch, especially if you have a loved one who is LGBTQ+.

Sushi: The Global Catch

I love sushi, and I was expecting this documentary would be a fun look at different types of sushi, sushi restaurants, and sushi chefs, but I should’ve known that you can’t judge a DVD by its cover.

While this film did have bits of those elements, it strongly focused on the spread of sushi worldwide and the efforts to make sushi more sustainable for the future. Many popular fish that are used in sushi are becoming endangered, and I am happy to be a more responsible sushi consumer after watching this documentary.

The Day the Dinosaurs Died

While growing up, I learned about the extinction of dinosaurs, but paleontology is an on-going study, so it makes sense that scientists are learning new things all the time about these magnificent creatures.

This episode of the PBS series, Nova, aired in 2017, long after I graduated school. It definitely included some information that was news to me! Dinosaur lovers, young and old, will enjoy this documentary, which is available from the library on DVD as well as on our digital resource hoopla.

Grizzly Man

This documentary, directed and narrated by Werner Herzog, features footage shot by grizzly bear activist Timothy Treadwell as he spent summers in Alaska, living among grizzly bears.

Treadwell and his girlfriend, Amie Huguenard, were unfortunately killed by one of the grizzlies in 2003. It’s fascinating to watch Treadwell study these endangered animals, despite (and perhaps because of) his unfortunate demise by the animals he loved so much.

I encourage you to stop by your local library today and see what interesting documentaries you can find!

Andrea Brumbaugh, blogger

Andrea Brumbaugh is the Social Media Specialist for Spokane County Library District. When not at work, she can be found with her nose in a book, next to a body of water, or spending time with her wife and kids. Or maybe all of the above at the same time.

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