Watching fun movie documentaries on Netflix makes life both entertaining and informative — it’s “infotaining”! (Way better than “entermative.”)
Netflix has been a great addition to our entertainment arsenal over the past few years, especially after they introduced instant streaming. We can watch old movies we missed, relatively new movies we didn’t want to gamble $12 on in the theaters, back episodes and seasons of TV shows we loved, and documentaries that detail lives we previously knew little about.
Most people associate documentaries with stale, old PBS films with a British narrator discussing serious subjects, like war, government conspiracies and the human body.
But over the past 15 years or so, documentaries have become hip. They’ve become an artistic tool that documentarians can use to paint an entertaining portrait of a specific theme. Cheaper cameras and the ability to get much more information, much easier, have allowed directors to target subjects that are more entertaining than they are earthshaking.
We thank you, fun documentary filmmakers. You teach us much more about random subjects than we ever thought we’d like to learn! We know there are plenty of great documentaries out there that would totally depress us into wanting to sleep in the corner of our closet, like “The Cove” and “Senna.” So we truly appreciate a documentary that makes us feel a little better about life after 90 minutes or so in front of our TV.
Here’s my list of nine entertaining movie documentaries on Netflix that you should check out!
In spite of the scary title of the movie and the struggles that the paraplegics have gone through before/during their discovery of wheelchair rugby, this documentary is inspiring and highly entertaining. The movie is based around the U.S. and Canadian teams as they prepare for the 2004 Paralympic Games.
This movie is based on the best-selling non-fiction book by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. It touches on a variety of subjects and analyzes the data from a different perspective. Some of the topics covered include teachers that cheat, weird baby names and their impact on future success, realtors that sell their own homes, and crack dealers. It sounds stodgy and uninteresting — and it’s the exact opposite.
One of the most devoted groups of people in pop culture history, trekkies (or fans of Star Trek) have extended the life of a TV show that was cancelled after just three seasons — over 40 years ago. Gene Roddenberry’s creation has spawned 12 movies, six TV shows and a multitude of games, toys and books.
“6 Days to Air”
You know Trey Parker and Matt Stone as the creators of “South Park,” but what you don’t know is how insanely difficult their job is. They try to push the envelope weekly (and usually succeed), and this documentary details a week of preparation and production from idea to air. It’s just an amazing behind-the-scenes look into six days in the life of one of the most controversial shows in TV history.
“Under the Boardwalk: The Monopoly Story”
Every four years, over 40 different countries around the world hold national Monopoly championships. (You read that right.) And then the country’s champions will move on to play in the Monopoly World Championship! This film documents the stories behind some of these people, as well as the history of one of the most popular board games in the history of America. Ironically, the game that’s based on the accumulation of wealth and the bankruptcy of competitors was created just after the Great Depression.
“Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007”
Quick — what’s the longest running movie franchise in film history!?! … If you said, “Twlight” — you’d be wrong, and probably about 11 years old. But the James Bond film series, started in 1962, was the creation of writer Ian Fleming, and producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman. This documentary looks back at the five decades (and six Bonds) that captivated us all.
“Jiro Dreams of Sushi”
Jiri Ono is an 85-year-old sushi chef that runs a 10-seat restaurant called, Sukiyabashi Jiro in a subway station in Tokyo, Japan. In spite of its size and location, this is the first restaurant of its kind to be awarded a 3-star Michelin review. You’ll be in awe at the pride and patience this man exhibits for his craft — and you’ll probably want to eat some sushi while watching it.
“Exit Through the Gift Shop: A Banksy Film”
It’s truly difficult to describe what this movie is about, other than to say it’s based around the culture of street artists, specifically Banksy. Without giving too much away, the original intent of the movie switches isn’t necessarily what the finished product becomes. (Some think the movie is so unlikely, that it has been deemed a “mockumentary,” but according to Banksy, it is a true story.)
“Man On Wire”
This British documentary details the 1974 high-wire walk of Philippe Petit between the Twin Towers of New York’s World Trade Center — which opened up for the first time in 1973. They were the tallest buildings in the world at that time, and his stunt was illegal and obviously dangerous. With over 151 reviews from film critics, and a 100-percent approval rating, this movie ranks behind just “Toy Story 2” on RottenTomatoes.com, as one of the most critically acclaimed movies of all time.
Netflix also shows a lot of TV shows that were cancelled too early that might interest you, or you have a favorite TV series that you’d like to watch again. Either way, make sure you are set up with a fast streaming connection to watch Netflix movies.
Over the past decade, movie documentaries have become less clinical and educational, and the genre of “fun documentaries” has grown exponentially. Watch some of these documentaries and we think you’ll be thirsting for more!