What should I watch on Kanopy?
September 19, 2020 1:22 PM   Subscribe

Thanks to this Metatalk post I learned that I have access to Kanopy through my library. What should I watch that is not upsetting/disturbing?

As in my previous questions about books and shows on Prime mentioned, where I'm at now is gentle and soothing media.

I want to avoid films/shows with significant violence, sexual violence, bigotry (intense misogyny, racism, homo- or transphobia), child abuse or harm, blood or gore, cruelty to animals, intensely depressing or generally upsetting things. That...rules out lots of media. But surely there is lots left?
posted by medusa to Media & Arts (13 answers total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
I watched Greener Grass on Kanopy. It's a great comedy if you have a taste for absurdity. (There is a killer in the plot, but don't be dissuaded, it's satirical not scary.)
posted by Beardman at 1:41 PM on September 19, 2020 [2 favorites]

20th Century Women is really lovely! Thoughtful and dreamy. Common Sense Media says it has "A boy is picked on at school and beaten up. Teens paint homophobic slurs on a classmate's car." (Btw, that's a good source to check on things like violence if you want to be sure! Aimed at parents)

The Farewell is just delightful! Deals with death, but in a not depressing way.

Obvious Child is a funny romantic comedy.

Beyond the Lights is a fantastic romantic drama that I recently watched. It does open with a non-violent suicide attempt, but the movie is mostly about what happens after that. Some misogyny present as it's about a woman in the pop/r&b music industry.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople is a funny movie from New Zealand (directed by Taika Waititi) though does have some realistic violence related to hunting. There are two other Taika Waititi movies on Kanopy -- What We Do in the Shadows is hilarious, but is about vampires so there is blood. I have not seen Boy, though it is supposed to be good.

I have also not seen Hearts Beat Loud, but it is on my to-watch list and as far as I can tell has none of the things you want to avoid.
posted by wsquared at 2:11 PM on September 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

Tortilla Soup...familty of three sisters and their dad going thru life changes. Sweet and will make you hungry.

Logan Lucky...heist movie that is funny and charming. The actors look like they are having fun.

Big Night...two brothers who have an Italian restaurant and its ultimate last night. Great acting and more food.

Bottleshock...fun story of wine.
posted by tipsyBumblebee at 2:18 PM on September 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

Seconding 20th Century Women, I just saw it a few days ago and it was lovely.
posted by zdravo at 2:22 PM on September 19, 2020

Agnès Varda! Kanopy has Faces Places, The Beaches of Agnès, and the From Here to There series--all gentle and soothing media, generally to do with art but also random bits of autobiography and quirky places and situations.
posted by Wobbuffet at 4:05 PM on September 19, 2020 [4 favorites]

I was going to recommend The Booksellers which I am literally currently watching on Kanopy but I see that it’s also on Amazon Prime so if you have that you might not want to spend a Kanopy credit on a doc that is available elsewhere. I’m loving it though and it has Fran Leibowitz in it.

I would also recommend Bury the Hatchet which began as a documentary about the Indian Chiefs of New Orleans and morphed into something else entirely. It is a beautiful moving documentary imo.
posted by rdnnyc at 5:21 PM on September 19, 2020

Faces Places is perfect for this. Iris is great. Helvetica's good if you've never seen it. Kedi is good, about the cats of Istanbul. I find Howard's End soothing because of the scenery, but YMMV.
posted by pinochiette at 6:45 PM on September 19, 2020

As mentioned in that Metatalk, The Great Courses are on Kanopy, and they don't count against your play credits. I've been binging on several series of the "Everyday Gourmet" courses led by CIA instructor Chef Bill Briwa. He's very chill and watchable, and there's a lot of it if it strikes your fancy.

I highly recommend the documentary The Birth of Saké. It's fascinating, with a slow, majestic pace that's really soothing. I don't particularly care for saké, but it gripped me.

The Endless Summer is a remarkable mid-60's documentary following surfers chasing waves around the world. I don't particularly care for surfing, either.

Seconding Kedi. I do have a fondness for cats, though.

Here are a few things from my watchlist that I've yet to watch, but seem like they'd fit the brief:
posted by mumkin at 8:40 PM on September 19, 2020 [2 favorites]

Eighth Grade is a good movie about a good kid going through middle school. I found the cringe in it very realistic and almost...reluctantly nostalgic to see now from the perspective of an adult. It's much better than most media with middle school characters that seems to get their stories from exploring the worst things that could possibly happen.

I also liked Bobbi Jene which is about a dancer from the world renowned Batsheva dance company that decides to leave the company and pursue a solo career. There are some emotional dance scenes, but overall the movie is exploring the tension of being famous and having expectations surrounding the quality of your output while simultaneously being largely a nobody (because you are famous in the niche world of modern dance.)
posted by WeekendJen at 8:25 AM on September 20, 2020

Marlon Riggs' Color Adjustment, a documentary about African-American representation on TV in the early days. It's about racism but it's not upsetting and the focus is on positive stories.
posted by Nelson at 8:40 AM on September 20, 2020

We just watched Columbus last night. It's sad (there is a death) but it's just the right amount of sad and the acting and cinematography are excellent.
posted by vespabelle at 5:34 PM on September 20, 2020

I just watched Meet the Patels on Kanopy, inspired by the recent Ask about lighthearted documentaries. It's a semi-amateur documentary about an Indian-American actor who is trying to figure out how/when to get married and start looking for a wife. It's essentially a story of his relationship with his parents, and him figuring out how to separate out what they want vs what he wants.
posted by hydra77 at 9:57 AM on September 21, 2020

So this is so anodyne that you might find it actively boring, but many of Frederic Wiseman's movies are on Kanopy and I especially enjoyed Ex Libris recently. Wiseman specializes on studying institutions by getting hours and hours and hours of footage of business as usual and turning them into weirdly compelling documentaries with no overt framing, narration or talking head interviews. And Ex Libris is about the New York Public Library. What's more gentle and soothing than that?
posted by zeusianfog at 4:20 PM on September 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

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