Chuck finishes off his top 40 favorite documentaries list with his final 20 picks.
I love anything by Werner Herzog. Grizzly Man is a fascinating and somewhat disturbing look at the life of bear enthusiast Timothy Treadwell.
Great doc about street art, specifically the life of Thierry Guetta. It was made by street artist Banksy and features more twists than you would expect from a doc about a street artist.
Fascinating doc about two "audio voyeurs" who made clandestine cassette tape recordings of their abusive, alcoholic neighbors in San Fransisco in the 1980s. Funny and sad all at once, it also raises some important questions about privacy and content ownership.
El Bulli: Cooking in Progress
This doc about the work of world-renowned chef Ferran Adria is a must for any foodie. It's an utterly amazing glimpse of genius at work.
Another great music doc that highlights the fascinating story of one of the most renowned recording studios, and studio bands, in music history.
If you've never seen the famous YouTube videos of the "angry Winnebago Salesman," do yourself a kindness and watch a few outtakes first, then cue up this story about the search for the "world's angriest man." So great - but warning, it has some very bad language.
I saw this way back in college and it turned me on to what would become one of my favorite doc subjects - true crime. Very sad and enthralling doc.
I love documentaries about obsessive people, and it doesn't get much better than King of Kong.
This little gem is pretty under the radar, but a cult favorite. Documentarian Ross McElwee set out to make a doc about General Sherman's March to the Sea, but ended up making a doc about his sad-sack love life. Really funny stuff.
This doc about photographer Mark Hogancamp is best seen with very little information about it. Just cue it up and enjoy the ride.
Terry Zwigoff's 1994 doc about the life of underground cartoonist R. Crumb is a fascinating peek into the life of one of the world's great weirdoes. And I mean that in the best way.
This 1975 doc from the Maysles brothers should be required viewing for any fan of documentaries. Just an utter classic - an engrossing look at the sad and weird life of a pair of reclusive, hoarding socialites living in a cat-infested decrepit mansion in East Hampton. Skip the movie version and watch this instead.
Hoop Dreams caused quite a buzz at the Sundance Film fest when it debuted in 1994, and for good reason. It's just a great story about a couple of kids you don't normally see featured in a documentary. You don't need to like basketball to love this doc.
I'm putting both of these in here, because they provide a nice bookend to the life of one of my favorite musicians - the late, great Levon Helm. The Last Waltz is Martin Scorsese's inside look at the last set of shows ever performed by The Band's original lineup in 1976. Ain't in It For My Health shows the final days of Levon many years later as he fights a losing battle with throat cancer. These are personal favorites of mine for sure.
This impactful and disturbing look at the lives of a father and son who were (possibly) child molesters is one of the best docs I've ever seen. Why? Because it challenges the viewer in every possible way. I thought about for weeks after seeing it for the first time.
This is another personal favorite, and must see TV for any fan of the Beatles. George was always my favorite of the Fab Four and this doc just reinforces why. Plus, you can't go wrong with Scorsese at the wheel.
Errol Morris' doc about four seemingly different occupations is a masterwork - a lion tamer, a topiary gardener, a robot scientist and a naked mole rat expert. Morris weaves the story together in such a way that you find there is no difference between man, animal, plant and machine.
Maybe the funniest documentary ever made. If you've never heard of American Movie, do yourself a favor and watch it. It's about the art, passion and misguided delusions of a very amateur filmmaker from Wisconsin.
This one was a game changer. Not only was it a fascinating look at the life of legendary film producer, but it also displayed a new visual style for documentaries that's been copied countless times since its release in 2002. Narrated by Evans himself from his own autobiography, it's a must see for any movie fan.
My number one all-time favorite doc is by my documentary hero - Errol Morris. It was the first movie I'd seen by him, way back in college in 1992. I've probably seen it 20 times since then. Morris set out to make a movie about some citizens of a small town in Florida who cut off their own limbs to collect insurance money. Once he got down there, he realized the residents and the town itself were enough. Lo-fi and hysterical, it's a classic in every sense.