Queue: Documentaries Rock

Parker Greenwood, Associate Arcade Editor [email protected]

Watching a phenomenal film can be an impactful experience, taking viewers into another world and allowing them to live through the characters on-screen. Watching a film, however, can lack a sense of reality. It is fiction, after all. So if it’s authenticity you crave, a documentary is the way to go. Seeing the genuine thoughts, struggles and experiences of everyday people being shown on screen has a certain appeal, and these are Arcade’s top picks when it’s legitimacy you’re looking for.

“The Wolfpack”: 5/5

There are movies that leave viewers feeling meditative. The kind where the rest of the day is spent contemplating what has just been watched, whether or not it was enjoyable, or what it was even about. While at times movies like this can fall short, “The Wolfpack” may be one of the most impactful films of this type in a long time.

There is not narrative driving this film, nor any clear goal to be achieved. It simply documents the lives of seven kids who live in an apartment in New York with their two parents. The six brothers in the film at first strike the viewer as strange — not in a harmful or scary way — just slightly off-putting. The reason quickly becomes apparent.

Growing up, their father did not allow them to leave the apartment, much less the building. As their only window to the outside world, the brothers relied on classic films, eventually reshooting their own versions of movies like “Pulp Fiction” and “Reservoir Dogs.”

“Room 237”: 3.5/5

If nothing gets you quite as well as a good conspiracy theory, then this film will more than fit your bill. The cult classic movie “The Shining,” directed by Stanley Kubrick, is looked at through the lenses of various theorists. They spend the duration of the film pointing out details in various shots, attempting to explain why their hidden meaning behind the film is legitimate. 

Some of the theories are truly a stretch, and seem to drone on forever about small elements in the movie, some of which you cannot even see. Others, though, present an interesting case, such as one that claims the film is a depiction of the exploitation of Native Americans. Another claims that “The Shining” is not at all about the book of the same name by Stephen King. The theory states that the movie is actually Kubrick’s attempt to admit to the world that he faked the filming of the moon landing and explain the internal struggles that he faced at the time.

“Jiro Dreams of Sushi”: 4/5

Some movies have a seemingly magical ability to calm people down. This is one of those movies. It showcases the world’s best sushi restaurant, located in a subway station in Tokyo, owned by Jiro Ono.

Every morning Jiro bikes to a local fish market to purchase fresh seafood for his restaurant. This cute, yet disciplined old man embodies dedication. The film causes viewers to feel a similar passion for their interests.

To add to this wonderful documentary, one also gets an inside look at the dynamic between Jiro and his son, Yoshikazu.

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