Day of Documentaries

So I was just chilling this morning, well fed and already exercised out, wondering what I should do today. I read this article during breakfast which linked to this article, and the thought hit me, why not watch a bunch of these and then write about them? So I added a bunch to my Instant Queue and started to open my mind*.

*Okay, well not really. I’m very aware that all documentaries are slanted and biased, but there are things that you can gleam out of them.

Below are the docs, and a billion Wikipedia links. The titles link to Netflix, where I watched these.

Dirt! The Movie (2009)
Narrated by Jamie Lee Curtis, this documentary goes over the idea that the dirt is a living organism that we aren’t taking really good care of. It really resounded with my desire for husbandry. I wanna take some of the things and use them in my life. Like if I get a house, I might look into getting a green roof, cultivated and gardening my land.

I do wish that the documentary went more in-depth with some of the science behind some of the things they explained, like Agroecology, which was just mentioned very quickly. And I would have liked a deeper look into the whole “Being in the dirt makes people happy. People love tending things” idea at the end (which I totally agree with, at least for me personally).

Fat Head (2009)
In this response (I guess) documentary to the hit Super Size Me, the main guy in this one decides to find out if he can eat fast food to lose weight.  He’s tried some different diets before: Vegetarian, which made him lose muscle weight, but fattened his belly; the Pritikin diet, which made his depressed both times he tried it; Fit for Life, which made him feel great until the sugar from the juicing ran out. His fast food diet though, seemed to work well. He lost more than 12 lbs in less than a month.

This was a long documentary, mostly because it seemed poorly paced. The pacing might have been due to the fact that there was just so much information given. I liked this one cause it gave a lot of science on what goes on when you eat fat vs carbs. It does seem a little heavy-handed in the government bashing, but what it says is true. And it’s super funny to see the old web browser that he uses.

Food Fight (2008)
As the day gets longer, I’m finding that I have less and less to say. Food Fight really talks about how the government and special interest groups are really out to just make more money, with little care for the finished product and the consumer. It focuses on this restaurant in Berkeley and how during the 60’s they kinda stumbled on serving dishes with local food that tastes like food should taste.

This was a well put together documentary and I liked they way the presented stuff. One of the things that really blew my mind is that apparently in lower-income parts of many major cities, there aren’t many supermarkets. Though the content did seem to be a little stale since, one of the places visited in this one was also featured in the Dirt! documentary.

King Corn (2007)
Two recently graduated dudes decided to take a year and grow an acre of corn and follow it there. Along the way they learn about farming’s past, how it changed and a lot about the food supply of Americans in general.

This was the most “fun” documentary that I watched today, also the one that was the least science-y and the one that was the most balanced. The movie is lighthearted until they find out that a good deal of the corn grown is put into meat (which is really bad for cows), and used to make corn syrup (which is really bad for humans). There’s a part where they make corn syrup, and you realize that it’s quite an involved process with tons of strange chemicals in it. And when they start talking about what’s going on with the cows being feed corn, I’m now probably going to only get grass feed beef.

I also recommend all these documentaries; I don’t recommend watching them all in the same day. Basically “Food Fight” and “Dirt!” boil down to taking care of our soils and getting the most out of our fruits and veggies. “King Corn” and “Fat Head” are what you put in your body.

I hope you enjoyed my Sunday as much as I did. Now it’s time for some Downton Abbey.

Leave a Reply