When I first got into film, I somehow decided I was adamantly against documentaries as a medium. Part of it’s an attention span thing — most of the time when I watch a documentary, I get what it’s trying to say within fifteen minutes and the rest of the time it just feels like I’m being beat over the head with the same themes over and over again. I also, for a time, felt like every documentary was the same. They were either about how badly the government and corporations were screwing us and how awful certain issues are, or they were looking back at the Holocaust for the millionth time. So, for a time, I avoided all documentaries unless I had to or if they seemed really interesting.
Though, over the decade, there’s definitely been a real uptick in how many documentaries I see. To the point where I now rank my favorite 15 documentaries at the end of each year. I still, of course, have a preference for certain subject matters over others and do tend to not care about docs others might deem important and essential, but I’m definitely not as dismissive as I used to be about them. So as I rank my favorite 100 documentaries of the decade, the message I’d like to impart is this — people grow. The fact that I’m even doing this list when, a decade ago I’d have scoffed at the notion of it — you don’t have to love everything in order to appreciate everything.
So here are my favorite documentaries of the past decade: (more…)
98. “Moonfog,” from The Beach Bum
Oh god, do I love this song. I got so happy in the theater when Jimmy Buffet was on Snoop Dogg’s — I’m sorry… Lingerie’s — boat and improvising/writing this song about Moondog. And then for the full song to be the end credits song — it’s really the best payoff you can get in a movie like this. It’s so perfect for everything this movie is and what it aspires to be. I know not everyone’s into the whole Jimmy Buffet, Parrothead thing (they’re like Juggalos but in khakis and Hawaiian shirts, for those of you who don’t know what that means), but man, isn’t this just such a great song to groove along to? The man definitely knows how to give you that lazy beach feeling, doesn’t he?