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Nerd Alert: My Favorite Documentaries

Confession: I adore a good documentary. I find them endlessly fascinating. In the last few years there have seen some truly amazing documentaries.  I have rather eclectic tastes and the “Documentary” genre on Instant Netflix has only made my selection even more random.

With the cold winter weather right now, nothing sounds quite as good as curling up on the couch with a giant blanket and watching a movie.   So I thought it might be fun to share my favorite documentaries. Here are my favorites by genre:

For Anyone:

1) Devil’s Playground


I have been enthralled with the Amish since I was a child. My grandparents lived near an Amish community and we would always see their buggies. Their cloistered lifestyle is just so curious and interesting. However, everything I ever thought I knew about the Amish was completely obliterated after I watched this documentary.

This film documents the Amish Rite of Passage known as Rumspringa. This is sort of a “get out of jail free” card for Amish teenagers. For a certain period of time, typically a year, they are allowed to live like the “English” and do whatever they want. After this period they must either agree to pledge their life to Amish ways, or leave the community forever. Y’all this documentary will blow your mind. Watch it. Soon.

For Game-lovers or Puzzlers:

2) Wordplay


Chase is a crossword puzzle fanatic so he loves this peek into the crazy competition that is the New York Times Crossword puzzle.  Even though I am not a huge crossword puzzler, I also loved this film.  It is funny and interesting.

Foodies/People interested in Nutrition

3) Beer Wars


Chase and I don’t really even drink beer but this is SUCH a good documentary.  It really shows you how important it is to support local microbreweries.  It made me want to go out and buy beer just to support these people trying to launch something that they are SO passionate about.  If you are a beer drinker or simply a beer appreciator (word?), you will love this movie!

4) Supersize Me


I am pretty sure everyone has probably already seen this, but if you haven’t, you must check it out! It details a man who eats nothing but McDonald’s for every single meal.  It demonstrates the marketing ploys behind fast food and the horrendous health effects  of fast food.

For the Fashionista:

5) The September Issue:


Ok, so Chase actually watched this with me and liked it–so that is saying something. It is a fascinating look at Vogue magazine and what it takes to create an issue.  It definitely gave me a heightened sense of appreciation for both the fashion and magazine industries. Also, if you liked The Devil Wears Prada, you will love this movie. Anna Wintour = Meryl Steep.

For the Runners or Fitness Lovers:

6) Ultramarathon Man


Chase actually totally disagrees with my decision to put this one on the list. He did not love this documentary, but I did! It details Dean Karnazes and his quest to run 50 marathons in each state in 50 days. This dude is a machine. If you are having trouble with workout motivation–WATCH THIS MOVIE. Seriously, your 45 minute workout will seem like a piece of cake after watching Dean run 1000s of miles.

7) Spirit of the Marathon


For anyone who runs, races, or wants to, this movie is amazing.  It follows several people training for the Chicago Marathon.  I loved that it showed all aspects of training–the glorious moments and the agony.  I felt like this documentary was incredibly inspiring.  Chase is NOT a runner, but he really liked it as well.

Do you like documentaries? Have you seen any of these? Do you have any documentary recommendations?


About paleorunnergirl

I am obsessed with cooking, running and reading! I teach American Literature at the college level, but enjoy books of all kind! After years of GI issues and being prescribed numerous medications, I found perfection in eating Paleo! I am no longer bloated, nauseous, or miserable on a daily basis. I have delved into creating Paleo recipe-making and embracing an active and playful life!

15 responses »

  1. I LOVE documentaries. We usually pick a different one a week to watch on netflix but we’re reaching the end of the good ones. I’ve seen spirit of the marathon and supersize me from your list. I’ve also seen a couple super interesting ones on north korea.

  2. I saw Supersize Me in High School. That was the day I stopped eating my favorite McDonald’s yogurt parfaits so often! I think they compared them to a hot fudge sundae? The September Issue also looks good! 🙂

  3. I think I’ve seen 2 out of the 7 you listed (and I’m pretty sure I’ve seen The Spirit of the Marathon about 4 times)…with I guess makes me a nerd 🙂 I’m totally OK with that though.

    I will have to check out some of the other ones you’ve listed. I read the Dean Koontz book about his 50 marathons in 50 states, but didn’t even know there was a documentary about it!

    I really like “Bigger, Faster, Stronger,” it is about America’s obsession with all 3 of these things and gives some really interesting insight into steroids.

  4. I love this post!!!
    I remember my grandma taking me to amish country when i visited her one time in Ohio (when I was younger) and i was like WHAT?! because I had never heard of it and now it is sort of interesting and hoenstly you have to kind of respect that theyve kept their traditions even witht he changes in our society!
    And I remember watching supersize me in a high school english class and thought it was the most intersting thing EVER!
    I may need to check out the September issue because I am obsessed with magazines!

  5. I LOVED the Wordplay documentary, and I really want to see Spirit of the Marathon!! Yay documentaries!

  6. i love spirit of a marathon. ive seen it a couple times. it just motivates and inspires me-great movie!! ive seen beer wars too its pretty good! you should watch bigger, faster, stronger it’s pretty good, about steroid use. i want to see september issue SO bad!!! i need a night without my husband for that haha

  7. Thanks for all the recommendations, I love documentaries! I really want to see the one about the amish, ever since my parents bought the farm in MO I’ve become fascinated with the mennonites that live near by. I get so excited every time I see them riding in the buggy! Oh, and they make the best baked goods – I definitely had a piece of pecan pie for thanksgiving (so not paleo but oh so good!) from our favorite mennonite, Ruth. 🙂

  8. caloricandcrazy

    I loved Supersize Me! The Amish one looks really interesting.


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