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…)
91. “We Belong Together,” from Toy Story 3
This song is joy personified. How can you not smile when you hear the beginning of this song? And also, consider this — this song appears right at the end credits of this movie. Right after we saw the toys basically accept death and almost go into the fire, and then, after that was over, willingly leave Andy, who they spent almost two decades with and say goodbye to that chapter of their lives. So by this point, we’re all weeping. But they bring you right back around with this joyous celebration of this franchise, with all the great extra scenes and outtakes and things that are just wonderful. And of course they really hit the home run later in the credits by paying off Buzz’s ‘Spanish mode’ with the Gipsy Kings doing ‘Hay un amigo en mi’, which… I don’t know if there are that many better payoffs this entire decade than that one.