The only thing worse than having nothing to watch is having everything to watch. There are thousands of series, documentaries and films on Netflix and choosing what’s next on your must-watch radar can be a time consuming process.
I’ve spent hours trawling, finding and then watching a long list of documentaries on Netflix, all in the name of research, and I’ve compiled my top five picks for you. It’s a combination of old and new, of music I obsess over, or don’t listen to at all.
Of all the doccies I’d selected to review, I was most prepared for this one. I’ve watched it before and Amy Winehouse is one of my favourite singers of all time.
Anyone who’s spent any time listening to Amy knows that the genius of her craft was her ability to write honest lyrics and deliver it in a painfully convincing performance. You recognize the names of many of the interviewees from songs on her various albums. She includes friends, housemates, parents, and her professional team. No one is safe from Amy, not even Amy.
Be prepared to be fed an extra large dosage of the diva and her demons. Be prepared to ball your eyes out (I did…again) and to question your own existence.
Beyoncé — Homecoming
Everything that Beyoncé touches turns to platinum. And every time Beyoncé drops so much as a single, she breaks the internet. The release of Homecoming, her self-directed documentary, got 16.6 million hits in the first 24 hours.
The 2-hour film gives you a behind-the-scenes look into all the preparation that went into this production. Yes, the performance is flawless but it also signifies a moment in Coachella Festival’s history: she became the first African-American female to headline the festival.
Beyoncé does the most to empower African-American men and women in helping and celebrating the glorious moment that was her Coachella performance. There were over 200 performers on stage.
DJ Khaled suggested that the festival rename itself Beychella – this inspiring doccie proves exactly why.
Bowie —The man who changed the world
Any person who can celebrate a career in music spanning over half a century is worth legendary status. This rockumentary takes you deep into the life of David Bowie and his impact on music, fashion and entertainment.
Here was a man who absolutely refused to be anything he didn’t genuinely feel the need to be. This becomes more and more apparent as the doccie unfolds.
It unpacks the mystery behind the enigmatic performer as he celebrates individuality. It realizes his pioneering influence on androgyny, gender non-conforming and queer culture in a way I hadn’t acknowledged before.
Bowie is brought back to life in a refreshing biopic on how one of pop’s most influential contributors was completely committed to being himself. And it’s great for Halloween outfit inspiration.
The Dirt — Mötley Crüe
It takes about five seconds from clicking play for you to realize exactly what you’re in for: sex, drugs, and hard rock ‘n’ roll. And more sex. And more drugs.
Any Mötley Crüe purist should take with a pinch of salt that this documentary is seemingly based on a true story. In fact don’t even bother fact-checking, the band themselves (all producers on the film) have been very liberal with how the narrative unfolds.
What this film does do, is take you through the dirty, grimy, messy lives of one of the best-selling bands of all time. Basically, four kids grow up on the streets of LA and pursue their dreams of being rock stars in the early ‘80s.
I don’t condone mullets, and while I think that the acting and the script was poor, I didn’t want to press pause, let alone stop.
It takes everything we now consider PC and throws it out of the window of a 20-storey hotel room, along with the television and bedside table.
Fyre — The Greatest Party that Never Happened
Up until very recently, I’d only seen memes and April Fool’s pranks (thank you The Kiffness – yours was the best). While I knew that Fyre Festival is regarded as one of the most epic festival fails in history, I had no idea just how badly they’d flopped.
In this Netflix Original doccie, everything is bared by those involved in all departments from marketing to catering, site layout to stage production – the financials, the promises, the embarrassment, the lies, and the massive losses. Ouch!
It’s the ultimate accidental social commentary, a painful acceptance that, in our social media-run world, what you see is not always what you get.
So the next time you find yourself in the situation where you’re overwhelmed by options, don’t revert to season 7 of How I Met Your Mother. You already know who the mom is, and it’s time for something new.