Document This

I understand that I've made it very clear I'm not a movie person- they're long, I pee often, I get sleepy, blablabla. Documentaries are a whole other ballgame, though, and for some reason I feel like they're related to books, since I usually learn from them. And therefore (drumrolllll) I have now decided to add a new running little segment to the blog called "Document This," just like "Books on Your Back" and "Nonfiction Nagging." As always, I make no promises about how often this will be happening, but since I've started watching Netflix on my phone while working out it may actually be frequent (this is the ONLY reason why I'm open to an iPad- not for the eBooks, but so I can watch documentaries and TV shows while I work out and can stop bringing my laptop in the kitchen when I need to follow recipes).

In the future I'll probably do one or two at a time, but today I'm going for broke- 5 documentaries that I've watched lately. Nerd alert.

The Bu
siness of Being Born
Run Time: 84
Again, I'm not pregnant (I just went skydiving and twisted the hell
out of my core in yoga this morning- there's nothing in there), but I've heard some interesting things about this documentary from an economical perspective. It wasn't quite what I expected, let's just say. I saw a baby come out of a vajayjay. Like seriously, full on, "there's its head... there's it's shoulders... oh my god... oh my god... augh... ew, what's all that other stuff?" viewing. Traumatized. Anyway, that aside, it was still interesting. The USA has of course commercialized one of the most natural things there is (honestly, though, sometimes I wonder- is it really that natural to shove something the size of a football out through something the size of a golf ball?), and the push for drugs and C-Sections has become insane. The documentary did spend quite a bit of time on home and water births as well. While I can confidently say I'll be giving birth in a hospital, I am now armed with knowledge about Pitocin slowing contractions and what the hell a Douala actually does.

Should You Watch It? Only if you someday want to have a baby, or maybe if you have. Most men may not appreciate it...

Running the Sahara
Run Time: 10
3 minutes
I effing loved this movie. Three runners decide to run all the way across the Sahara and must learn to manage their bodies, minds, and personalities. It takes them well over a hundred days and there are so many obstacles in the meantime (like the threat of landmines and governments not wanting to open their borders). It was interesting watching how the men changed as they continued their journey, as well as how their relationships with each other and the rest of the crew were altered by various events. It's amazing what some people will put their bodies through just to prove to themselves that they can. I also loved seeing the scenery- I'm not very familiar with Northern Africa, so it was nice to see a different part of the world.

Should You Watch It? Definitely! It's a great adventure story and it's very inspiring. Not sure if you have the energy to get off the couch and do an hour of cardio? These guys ran a marathon a day! Shut your mouth and move your ass.

Page One: Inside the New York Times
Run Time: 91 minutes
This documentary is a really interesting view at the New York Times and their struggle to stay financially afloat, remain current, and maintain vitality in a constantly changing industry. Part of the film focuses on Wikileaks, which has really changed news and how it's made available. At times it was a little dry, but as a whole I th
ink the newspaper industry is really interesting and it's fascinating to see what the ones that are surviving are doing to stay relevant.

Should You Watch It? If you need to be constantly stimulated probably not; there isn't really a climax or even an end. But if you have a soft spot for news or newspapers give it a try.

Dog Decoded: Nova
Run Time: 54 minutes
I'm obviously a dog person, and I'm of course convinced they're both smart and perceptive. Turns out I may actually be right- evolution, natural selection, and adaptation have actually allowed dogs to become more similar to humans that we ever thought. Canine research is finally progressing on both the behavioral and biological level, since humans share a lot of similar medical issues with our furry friends (diabetes, heart disease, obesity, cancer, etc...). The documentary also focused on comparing them to their ancestors, wolves- work is being done in Europe that has attempted to isolate certain behaviors to bread for. I really appreciated the segment on the benefits to humans- petting a dog can release oxytocin, the chemical that bonds a mother and infant.

Should You W
atch It? If you're a dog owner definitely. It's not going to teach you how to train your pet, but it does provide a lot of insight on their origins and potential.

Blood Into Wine
Run Time: 9
9 minutes
I watched this documentary awhile ago with my husband, and consider it one of the reasons why I want to like
wine so badly. The film is set at Maynard James Keenan's (yes, the guy from Tool, a band I happen to hate) vineyard in Arizona and documents the work, passion, and struggles behind starting off a vineyard. The man may have a ton of money, but that doesn't guarantee the wine will be successful! Being a total wine-rookie, I'd be interested to hear from people who actually know something about whether Keenan, and his wine, are legit.

Should You Watch It: My husband, who isn't a drinker, even liked this movie- you don't have to be a wine connoisseur to enjoy it. It's darkly humorous and truly educational.

Any great documentaries to recommend?


  1. I've seen a couple of these but Blood into Wine is a new one that looks up my alley. If you haven't seen Wordplay (I know it's old, bear with me here) is fantastic. Crossword championships make even the biggest nerds watching the film feel positively cool.

  2. I saw Freakonomics last year (on Netflix!) and really enjoyed it. It takes an economists look at different phenomena, like how does your name impact how sucessful you'll be. Really interesting stuff!*

  3. I recently watched Spellbound (2002). I bought the DVD from Big Lots for $3. It follows about eight or nine students on their journey to the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Very interesting.

  4. I loved Business of Being Born, I plan on watching MOre Business of Being born with a doula friend when she gets it. I plan on getting pregnant (hopefully soon) and the thought of delivering in a hospital scares the shit out of me. Giving birth is the a natural process of life and I don't want some doctor telling me when it is time for me to deliver, no thank you my body will tell me when I am ready. It is interesting to hear other peoples take on this subject that aren't midwife minded.