A Cynicists Movie Review: Netflix Documentaries

Somebody who frequented the site asked me why I don’t review movies that I particularly like…she kind of missed the whole Cynicist part..but anyways, one of the reasons I don’t post on movies I particularly like is because it’s very rare that I like current scripted movies BUT all is not lost, I do enjoy documentaries. In fact, I rarely watch anything other than Documentaries. I got rid of my cable channels and now only have Netflix. Unfortunately, Netflix doesn’t have any tv shows or really any movies that I’m particularly interested in. Sure, I purged on Season 4 of Archer when it was released but that’s a rare exception. So, I decided with this post to do something different. Rather than give ratings to a particular movie and pick apart the plot and acting, I’m going to give a list and quick synopsis of some of the more memorable Documentaries that I’ve watched on Netflix. These are in no particular order. So, they are not ranked.

DearZacharyTheatricalPosterDear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father

When I started watching this, at first I was hesitant because it started with some grainy old home video of some random nobody and his friends just messing around. His friends were talking about what he was like as a person. Early on, it wasn’t clear what the aim of the documentary was. We quickly find out that the main focus of these grainy home videos was murdered. That is not a spoiler by the way, it’s in the movies description and is made clear within the first few minutes. The rest of the documentary is almost too fucked up to believe. There’s so many moments of heart ache and anger in this. It really is an emotional roller coaster. Kudos to the film maker, also there were a few little things that he picked up on..some nuances of the man that was, his character and the parallels between that and others in the documentary. Very good, I would suggest it to anybody.


Dirty Wars

I have to admit. I only watched this one because Louis CK tweeted about it and if you use Twitter and follow Louis CK, you’ll know that he hates it and rarely tweets about anything. Some of the details of the going on’s of US Forces pretty much across the entire middle east, not just in Afghanistan or Iraq is pretty fucked up. I certainly never heard about some of these, which I found surprising, considering I was living in Europe through out a lot of them, I would have thought it would at least make the news there. It wouldn’t be hugely suprising if the stories got buried in the US but these stories have pretty much been buried world wide. Again, this is certainly worth a viewing. It was also nominated for an Oscar this year, I believe.


Inequality for All

I first saw Robert Reich on Conan O’Brien, back in the early 00’s, I believe. He’s very short, which is not meant as a knock against him but may have something to do with why he was so memorable. The fact he was a member of the Clinton Administration and appeared in a great comedy sketch also endeared him to me. I had read up on him and had read his views before. I thought he was pretty intelligent, articulate and his ideas seemed very grounded. I have not read any of his books so this really is the most long form piece of his work that I have ‘experienced’. When it’s put all together as it is in this movie, it makes for some very compelling viewing. It’s likely all the more compelling since I’m living in a large city, my exposure to extreme poverty before my move was only evident on trips to London, Dublin, New York etc. (Don’t I sound like a privileged fucker…and I am).

This documentary really highlights the disparity of income between the fat cats and the regular people. There’s some metrics, illustrated with great visual of the cost of living through from the 20’s to present day, what women entering the work place did, what some of Ronnie’s policies have done. The film also features that infamous clip of Warren Buffet talking frankly about the rich needing to pay more in taxes and that he paid less percent wise than his secretary. It also features a charming multi-millionaire CEO who also speaks frankly about his wealth and problems he see’s with the current system. All of this comes together with some very frank and irrefutable truths about what will happen if this income gap increases or even continues in it’s current form. This is very much an educational piece but it’s one that has stuck with me and also encouraged me to do some of my own research for days following viewing it.


TWA Flight 800

I’m by no means a conspiracy nut but this movie certainly made me think! If nothing else the movie exposes some very shady practices by Federal Agencies which were not the norm for any other Air Crash Investigations. Investigators of the disaster were interviewed for the movie, even some of those who in their testimony had seemed to blatantly ignore evidence presented by others being interviewed had presented. It’s not one of those documentaries in which all of the antagonists or players refused to be interviewed, so it’s not one in which the other side of the story was not being given. This doesn’t come across as another Loose Change, that’s for sure. I’m not saying that I accept everything laid out in this film but it certainly got me questioning things for myself. Very good! Thanks to Opie and Anthony (And little Jimmy) for switching me on to this one.

MV5BODA2MzYzMTUzM15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODk4ODgwOA@@._V1_SY317_CR3,0,214,317_The Imposter

It’s evident pretty quickly what this one is about. It’s about some French guy who was living rough in Spain manipulating people and systems on an unprecedented scale, resulting in him getting a US passport and living with the family of a missing child in the US. He went to great lengths to hide his identity and to pretend he was their missing child. But that’s really only part of the story, the way this one plays out is pretty fucked up. I can’t say much more about it without giving too much away. It’s slow to start so you need to stick with it, what I described all happens in the first 20-30 minutes and really only sets up the rest of this fucked up movie. This one is kind of half way between documentary and movie, it features some re-enactments but I guess they needed that for this particular story to be told.


It’s hard to believe this city is in the United States of America! Talk about leaving a fallen soldier behind. Detroit is currently on it’s knees with no real help in sight. Home prices have fallen to less than the price of a new car in some parts. Which has lead to Arson attacks in order to claim insurance to get some of the money back for home owners. Unfortunatley, as you might expect, certain public services such as the fire department are drastically under funded due to all that’s happening in the city. Queue mayhem, Less Fire Fighters than ever fighting more Fires than ever with shitty equipment. At one point one of their Fire Trucks breaks down and catches fire itself!! (That’s not a spoiler, it’s a short clip) This documentary is very sad! Give it a watch to see how tough some people have it in supposed developed cities\countries.

jeffrey_dahmer_files_xlgThe Jeffrey Dahmer Files

This one wasn’t quite as compelling to me as the others as I’ve watched quite a few shows about serial killers and Dahmer in the past. The facts of what he did were not new to me, what was new was the impact on the people living in the apartment complex he had lived in and of one of the lead investigators…who by the way comes across as a bit of a kook himself! The guy they got to play Dahmer in the re-enactments was pretty good, he was creepy looking!


Jiro Dreams Of Sushi

This one was very surprising. I heard Norm MacDonald mention this on one of his Podcasts. Being a comedian I couldn’t tell if he was being sincere, when he said it was good. I watched it. Not only was it good but it was actually very good! I don’t like fish, thus I don’t like Sushi but this was a glimpse into a world and a culture that is completely ‘foreign’ to me. It was really fascinating. The location of his restaurant, the pressure on his two sons, his enormous reputation and extremely diligent work is amazing.



I watched this one a while ago so I don’t remember too much about it to be honest. I remember watching it and thinking it was going to be about the event itself and the controversy. When I realized it was about ‘the white guy’ in the picture (Peter Norman), I was thinking: fucking hell, that’s white entitlement to make a story about a moment of rebellion in black history about a white guy. But, by the end of it, you understand why his story is being told in the movie. He was also greatly affected by the situation and he didn’t have anybody to champion his cause, to stick up for him. There was no community gathering around him and rallying in their support. His life kind of got fucked by just being present at that one moment.

I’m going to stop now….I’m going through the list of what I have watched….there’s way too many for one post. Expect another post in the near future. Hopefully this is cool to some people. Let me know what you think of these.



About thecityfathers

We sit around all day stroking our beards, clucking our tongues and discussing what's to be done with this Homer Simpson
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