We spend more time watching TV and movies than we might like to admit. So, sometimes we all need to justify our obsessions by calling it “educational”. We actually have a fantastic outlet for this – watching documentaries allows us to chill in front of our screens, all while learning something. Some of these are incredibly inspirational while others teach us things we wish we had been taught in school. Many make it to the mainstream too, with the likes of Louis Theroux and his exploration of various different communities like the Westboro Baptist Church and Michael Moore and his exposés of the government. s
Then, there are some documentaries that don’t reach the popularity of the above but still offer highly insightful views into varying issues, albeit in a rather light-hearted way. Here are just three of them.
Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey
Imagine living a relatively obscure life in the Philippines, only to suddenly be fronting one of the biggest bands the world has ever seen? It may sound like something from a movie – and thanks to the 2012 documentary, it kind of is – but this stuff that dreams are made of is actually very much real life.
When the band Journey were looking for a new singer to take on a major world tour, they literally scoured YouTube to find someone. Little did anyone know that they’d find the incredible Arnel Pineda, a Filipino with the vocal abilities and complexities required to be up to the task. Plucking him from his own modest band named Zoo and out of relative obscurity into the mainstream, this unbelievable story is as heart-warming as it is absolutely jaw-dropping.
Bingo! The Documentary
Matt Groening of The Simpsons calls this one “surprisingly funny and touching” and he’s actually not wrong. Bingo is a game which has touched the hearts of millions of Americans and, indeed, humans, all over the world. The 1999 documentary visits some of those who’ve played the game over the years, with analysis offered from a psychological standpoint as to why people play again and again in the first place.
Of course, it also covers the versatility of the pastime and how the game has spread from bingo halls to clubs and beyond. While the 63 minute expose into a world bigger than sports and the arts combined (according to one review at the Seattle Film Festival) doesn’t cover the modern movement of online bingo, this does explain the rise of bingo sites; people will always find the most accessible way to play a game which transcends so many different groups of people.
Do you ever get told that you look just like someone else? Perhaps you have a doppelganger, but maybe, just maybe, you have a secret twin. Twinsters is the true story of how this was the case for two young women who were separated at birth.
The 2015 documentary details the journey from a chance online sighting, right through to a confirmed DNA test. Two girls, originally from South Korea, but then adopted out to France and the USA, happen upon each other when one, studying in the UK, sees the other on a Youtube video. She does her research, reaches out, and then finds that they are absolutely identical twins. It may seem like the plot is somewhat ruined, but the incredulous tale’s beauty lies in its unravelling. We’re not statisticians but we’d say the chances of this happening were pretty low, making it all the more amazing.
Although we are often just looking for something else to watch, documentaries often cover wider issues which have either affected our world in the past or which continue to affect our world to this day. As George Santayana once said: “those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it” – and we’d agree! However, sometimes, they are more light-hearted or heart-warming and some even provide us with some excellent trivia knowledge. This can be perfect for quiz nights at the bar, or when we want to show off with something useless (but impressive all the same)!