Monday, 25 August 2014

5 Documentaries You May Not Have Heard Of

Gavin's back with a great set of recommendations for us, having only seen one of the five myself, I'm looking forward to watching the rest now and where possible, I've added links to the full-length documentary under the description, read on...

Bo Jackson

Beauty Day, trailer

1) Beauty Day (2011) - Ralph Zavadil, or as he is better known “Cap’n Video”, was the original home video guy who would perform dangerous and hilarious stunts in his house. Without him, there would probably be no Jackass or Dirty Sanchez. For years he would record himself jumping off his roof or shaving with petrol and then send his tapes into cable networks. Inevitably he seriously injured himself while attempting to jump from a ladder into his pool but the video ‘fail’ only grew his stature. Ralph is an extremely interesting character and the documentary is reflective of his wild and unique personality. It’s mad, hilarious and equally controversial. Another classic comedy-doc to check out is King of Kong: Fistful of Quarters (2007) - probably my all-time favourite.

Into the Abyss, trailer

2) Into the Abyss (2011) - If you’re not familiar with the documentary work of Werner Herzog I suggest you watch the discography. Without a doubt he is one of the greatest filmmakers of our time and Into the Abyss went slightly under the radar. The film addresses the controversial topic of death row in the United States and presents it in a way that is both understated and powerful at the same time. The backdrops of interviewees are quite aesthetically pleasant but the characters being addressed seem worn out by the system. Both well presented and eloquently told, Into the Abyss is a significant piece of work from Herzog.

Choke, Full Film

3) Choke (1999) - An observational documentary following Jiu Jitsu master and Mixed Martial Artist, Rickson Gracie as he competes in one of the earliest MMA competitions. Fight fan or not Choke is a portal into the mindset of a great fighter. Both spiritual and ferocious, the film is an access all areas introduction to an underground sport which has evolved rapidly in the past fifteen years. Sure, it will always be controversial but it will never be dull. If you like this, check out Like Water (2011) and Knuckle (2011).

Watch it here: (above clip is the full documentary).

You Don't Know Bo, clip

4) You Don't Know Bo (2012)An ESPN doc as part of their 30 for 30 series. The doc may be a little formatted but it’s a beautiful story and you can’t help but love Bo. Bo Jackson was a supreme American athlete who played baseball in the MLB and American football in the NFL... at the same time. Gifted with a superior physique, he was one of these freak athletes that could master any sport within moments. As the legend grew the catchphrase “Bo knows” went mainstream, and the 1989 Nike commercial used this slogan to promote his range of clothing. The myth of Bo lives on as we all wonder what he could have achieved had his career not been ended so abruptly. If you liked this, check out Hoop Dreams (1994) and Bigger Stronger Faster (2008).

Jodorowsky's Dune, trailer

5) Jodorowsky's Dune (2013) - Before watching this film I’d recommend watching El Topo (1970), a western cult movie that was written by directed by and starring Alejandro Jodorowsky. The film is as mad as he is but entirely original and visually amazing. After the success of El Topo, Jodorowsky wanted to make a big budget sci-fi and, although he hadn’t read the novel Dune yet, he knew the film would change the consciousness of a generation. Dune became the most notorious sci-fi epic that never happened. The intricate storyboards were far too ahead of it’s time for Hollywood producers and even Jodorowsky’s stellar cast, including Orson Wells, Mick Jagger and Salvador Dali, couldn’t secure the film’s funding. The documentary does the film justice with a fantastic soundtrack and a wonderful means of storytelling. Jodorowsky’s Dune may never have happened, but this doc is the next best thing.

- by Gavin Fitzgerald 

follow Gavin on Twitter @_sitric


  1. Actually Bo did not play "basketball in the NBA" he played Baseball in the MLB and made catches like this -

    1. Thanks for highlighting that, now amended, great clip by the way!