Three Must-See Netflix Instant Documentaries

24 Jun

I love documentaries. They let you geek out over your obsessions (or find new equally geeky obsessions). They can rile you up, or make you helpless with laughter. They can be fiercely personal, or removed and scientific. Also, they can be really cinematic and innovative, or unfortunately just a collection of subpar video clips.

Netflix Instant has a massive collection of documentaries, some of which are fantastic, while others unfortunately are boring or just bad. Let me help you sift through the crap to find some gems!

1. The Queen of Versailles


A documentary about a pretty kooky, way too rich family who decide to build the largest, most expensive single family home in the USA would be special enough romp. Throw in the horrible real estate economic crisis though, and this film suddenly gets harrowing as the family and the house starts to fall apart. It’s hard to decide how you feel about this people. Greedy consumers? Victims of the American mindset of the early 2000s?
I’m still not sure how I feel, but I do know that this movie made me think about my own spending philosophy, while still having the most interesting characters I saw in any film, documentary or not, last year.

2. First Position

first position

I could watch ballet clips on YouTube all day. The dancers are so graceful and perfect! HOW DO THEY DO IT?!

So, First Position, could’ve been made for me. The film follows a bunch of young ballet dancers as they prepare to audition for spots in elite ballet schools. The stakes are high, and these kids are just amazing. They live very intense lives (sometimes, perhaps, a bit too intense thanks to some overbearing stage mothers), but their dance skills are just astounding. I wish they could all win…but alas. That’s not going to happen in the surprisingly cut throat world of ballet.

3. Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work

joan rivers

I’m not particularly a Joan Rivers fan, but one day a friend and I were flipping around Netflix Instant looking for something to put on, and we stumbled on this one. I’m so glad we did! Joan Rivers has had a slight resurgence in the past couple years, but back in 2009 or so she was struggling. In this film, the documentarian follows Rivers to a bunch of gigs, as she struggles to find constant work. Her persistance is hard to watch at times and inspiring at others. Also, the celebrity gossip and stand up routines aren’t bad either. Joan Rivers is a funny lady.


What are some of your favorites? Any I should check out on Netflix Instant? We can sort through all the crap together!


8 Responses to “Three Must-See Netflix Instant Documentaries”

  1. Renee June 24, 2013 at 7:37 am #

    I love your first two choices! Especially “First Position” because I’m a ballet nut too. They’re just so beautiful! And I’ve already got #3 in my queue! If you haven’t seen them already, some documentaries I’d recommend on Netflix are “Man on Wire,” “Bill Cunningham: New York,” “The Invisible War” (though it’ll make you really sad/mad!), and “Mad Hot Ballroom.” And these aren’t on Netflix but I also loved “My Kid Could Paint That,” “Spellbound,” “The September Issue,” and the Seven Up series (which was totally addicting). I ❤ documentaries 🙂

    • ohdizzle June 25, 2013 at 7:55 am #

      I think we have very similar documentary taste, because I’ve loved most of the ones you mentioned! I haven’t yet seen Bill Cunningham: New York, but it’s definitely on my list. And The Invisible War is always one I mean to watch…but then put it off.

      At my internship, I’m watching a bunch of oral histories from documentarians, and today I’m going to start Michael Apted’s, the director of the Seven Up series. I’m so excited to hear about his life!

  2. cross(stitch)yourheart June 24, 2013 at 9:08 am #

    I loved first position, one of my favorite documentaries by far! Good choices!

    • ohdizzle June 25, 2013 at 7:53 am #

      Thanks! Those kids are just so darn talented!

  3. Laura Rowsell (@LauraRowsell) June 24, 2013 at 1:19 pm #

    US and UK Netflix are different (which I found out when I searched for Extreme Couponing the other day [don’t judge]) but I’d like to recommend Mansome to you which was a preeetty amusing documentary about like manliness and what it entails and stuff (there’s this champion bearded man who was waaaaay too into his beard) Annnnnd Super Size Me is on there which is ALWAYS worth a watch.

    (Secret confession: At the moment I’m just watching The Hills and Gossip Girl on Netflix. I am ASHAMED.)

    • ohdizzle June 25, 2013 at 7:53 am #

      Oh my goodness. I love anything about beard championships. I’m so in.

      You know how much I love the Hills. I would never judge you for that. AND my roommate and I just started watching Pretty Little Liars…yep. Netflix Instant is the best place to find new guilty pleasures.

  4. Kerry (@KerryAnn) June 24, 2013 at 7:15 pm #

    A couple of my faves are Capturing the Friedmans and Crazy Love, even though they’re both REALLY UPSETTING. Neither of them are streamable on Netflix right now, but they used to be, so maybe they’ll be back someday? Oh, and also I Think We’re Alone Now, which is about rabid Tiffany fans. Again, upsetting, but really, really interesting.

    • ohdizzle June 25, 2013 at 7:51 am #

      I hadn’t heard of Crazy Love or I Think We’re Alone Now, and they both sound fascinating! Definitely adding them to the list!

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