Unfortunately, 7 Up comes out, well...every 7 years or so
June 26, 2011 8:58 PM   Subscribe

I really enjoy great documentaries that span years and focus on individual development. For example, I found David Sutherland's Country Boys or The Farmer's Wife fascinating. I also really enjoyed 7 Up. Please share other docs like this with me.

Unfortunately, Sutherland isn't as prolific as I'd like, and 7 Up comes out, well...only once every 7 years or so. I also enjoy docs about quirky people--pumpkin competitions, competitive ferret show participants, etc. Ultimately, I'm interested in a compelling, real story. Bonus points if they're available on Netflix on Demand.
posted by fyrebelley to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (20 answers total) 47 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Fast Cheap and out of Control. Sorry DVD only on Netflix. It's worth the wait.
Also, it might not fit your "long term examination" criteria but I've been fascinated by Morgan Spurlock's 30 Days series. I particularly like the one about Minimum Wage.
Also, these are streaming.
posted by hot_monster at 9:43 PM on June 26, 2011

Best answer: Hoop Dreams might suit your requests. And it is streamable on Netflix.
posted by Gilbert at 9:49 PM on June 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Kevin Kelly's True Films has some great selections.

I love Fast/Cheap and if you want quirky and real, Errol Morris is your guy. The Gleaners.
posted by mecran01 at 9:53 PM on June 26, 2011

Best answer: Don't know if they're available on Netfix but 7 Up has spawned many a similar series.
posted by unliteral at 9:59 PM on June 26, 2011

Best answer: All of these examine people's lives over the span of many years:

Capturing the Friedmans
51 Birch Street
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:06 PM on June 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: More Than a Game. (Yeah, it's a little rah-rah Lebron, but it's super-compelling.)
posted by superlibby at 10:48 PM on June 26, 2011

Best answer: Sherman's March is a documentary that begins as a modern attempt to retrace General Sherman's route through the South during the Civil War, becomes mixed with the filmmaker's family home movies, and ultimately turns into a mordantly funny portrayal of a guy trying desperately to get a date and sort his life out while toting around a film camera and obsessively filming everything, much to everyone's dismay.

That makes it sound much more staged than it really is, which is to say, not at all.

I love the film, though others seem to find it a tad narcissistic. Well, it is almost three hours long and it does feature several scenes of the filmmaker filming himself in the mirror after a few belts of bourbon and sighing heavily while bemoaning his own ineptitude.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:32 AM on June 27, 2011

Best answer: Similar to 7 up, both Child of our time, and Born to be different follow a set of children growing up - there's usually a mini-series every couple of years. Currently in both, the children are about 11. Born to be different is about children with disabilities.
posted by plonkee at 1:39 AM on June 27, 2011

Best answer: The Wild, Wonderful Whites of West Virginia is available via Netflix.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 4:14 AM on June 27, 2011

Best answer: Oh, and another documentary about an Appalachian family that I like very much (and is very differently done from the Wild, Wonderful Whites, above) is American Hollow.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 4:19 AM on June 27, 2011

Best answer: +1 for Hoop Dreams.
posted by caek at 4:27 AM on June 27, 2011

Best answer: In the quirky people line, Grey Gardens (careful, not the film starring Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore) and the Metallica therapy saga Some Kind of Monster.
posted by likeso at 4:30 AM on June 27, 2011

Best answer: Oh! And here's a link to the Criterion Collection's documentaries. Gold mine.
posted by likeso at 4:38 AM on June 27, 2011

Best answer: You must watch King Gimp. Incredible story, and very well made. It won several awards.
posted by maxg94 at 5:22 AM on June 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I just watched Forgiving Dr. Mengele on Netflix streaming yesterday and it was really great. It's about a twin that survived being experimented on while in Auschwitz and what's happened in her life since the end of the war. It's interesting and sometimes sad, but ultimately a fascinating look at how people dealt with a horrific experience.
posted by hollygoheavy at 6:44 AM on June 27, 2011

Best answer: Winnebago Man is a documentary about the guy in that YouTube you've seen a million times. You would expect it to be two hours of lulz, and at the beginning, it is. As you watch the main character evolve, though, it quickly turns sad and poignant.
posted by spamguy at 11:50 AM on June 27, 2011

Best answer: Here are a few that have the individual development (or at least introspectiveness) that you are looking for but they don't span years and years necessarily although they do 'look back.' The first two at least are quirky and real, for sure. (I also loved The Farmer's Wife; I still think about it all these years after seeing it. 'Fast, Cheap' did nothing for me, though.) Sorry I can't embed links right now.

The Cats of Mirikitani (which is NOT about cats) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0799976/

Genghis Blues http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0187859/

Protagonist http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0905361/

Deep Water http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0460766/

Hands on a Hard Body http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0116481/ (this one is a quirky competition but not the other stuff youre looking for)
posted by Sarah Jane at 12:37 PM on June 27, 2011

Best answer: A few more that I loved and that I think fit one or more of your specifics, some of which are very obvious, sorry. And some are available on Instant Watch in Netflix!
The Kid Stays in the Picture (so quirky that it still has me wondering if it wasn't a mockumentary...)
The Eyes of Tammy Faye (Tammy Faye Baker, that is)
American Movie (quirky! funny!)
When We Were Kings (about Muhammad Ali's 'Rumble in the Jungle' fight w George Foreman)
Surfwise (about a surfing family with nine kids, and they all live in a small RV)
Dr Bronner's Magic Soapbox
Stone Reader
Off the Charts: the Song-Poem Story (not really about a specific person; quirky as hell)
Hearts of Darkness (about the making of Apocalypse Now)
Crumb (about R. Crumb, the comic book titan)
Cinemania (wow, what characters! funny.)
Keep the River on Your Right (exceptional personal story)
Emile Norman: By His Own Design
My Architect: A Son's Journey
posted by Sarah Jane at 12:56 PM on June 27, 2011

Best answer: These aren't docs that follow people for long periods of time, but: docs about interesting people and a compelling, real story?

I really enjoyed


and I loved

posted by kristi at 9:23 AM on June 28, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for all the great responses...if I stumble across anymore I'll certainly add them to the list.
posted by fyrebelley at 3:05 PM on June 29, 2011

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