TV & Movies

All The Docos You Should Be Watching In June

By James Shackell - 30 May 2018

jane-documentary


We are the truth bringers! Send us your PIN numbers...is what we would be saying if we started our own cult. And speaking of cults, have you guys SEEN Wild Wild West yet? It’s cracked our much-watch docos this month, and we highly suggest adding it to your binge list. In fact it’s all solid gold this June: high-end design, a new true crime banger, and Michael Moore’s new political doco (he’s got Trump in his sights).

Get comfy— here are 10 docos you should be watching this month.

The Staircase

There’s a good chance that 9/10 people on your morning commute—probably lovely, well-adjusted people—are tuning in to some true crime podcast about serial killers and grizzly murders. It’s just one of those things. Well, The Staircase is the new true crime investigation on Netflix, and people are already frothing. It follows the trial of crime novelist Michael Peterson, who was accused in 2001 of murdering his wife Kathleen. People are already comparing it to Serial, and it doesn’t get more hyped than that.

Gays & Guns

Did you know there's a group in America known as the Gay NRA? They're fighting back at gay hate crimes and homophobia...sometimes with bullets. The award-winning team from SBS Viceland have followed this group, who call themselves The Pink Pistols, and tried to document the rise of America's fastest growing pro-gun movement. Patrick Abboud is at the helm, and that guy can do no wrong in our book. The doco premiers on SBS Viceland at 7:30pm on Tuesday 12 June. Get around it. 

Evil Genius

Evil genius is the story of a man named Brian Wells, who walked into the PNC Bank in Erie, Pennsylvania, in August 2003...with a bomb around his neck. These things never end well, and they didn’t for Brian. Evil Genius is about everything that happened next—the bizarre police inquiry (which includes follow-up murders) and a plot twist we wouldn’t even dream of spoiling here. Again, if true crime is your thing (you deviant sociopath, you) check this one out.

Wild Wild Country

Heard of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh? Nope? How about Ma Anand Sheela? It’s okay, not many people had...until Netflix started screening Wild Wild Country. It’s the story of how Bhagwan and his followers set up a cult in Wasco County, Oregon, essentially taking over a small town. After debuting at Sundance, the documentary has gone on to get 100% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes (and you know those critics don’t pull their punches). If you’re the kind of person who just can’t say no to those Scientology ‘personality screeners’ in the city, consider this a glimpse into what might happen next.

The Defiant Ones

This one came out last year, but a lot of people still haven’t jumped on the bandwagon. It’s the story of Jimmy Iovine and Dr Dre—their partnership, their friendship, and the evolution of modern-day hip-hop. Obviously your enthusiasm for The Defiant Ones will probably extend to how many Dr. Dre records you own, but even hip-hop n00bs can get hooked on the rise of Beats Electronics (and the eventual discovery of Eminem). Man the 90s were a simpler time...

Abstract: The Art Of Design

Design nerds, you’ll obviously get a kick out of this one. Abstract is an 8-episode season that follows the careers and creations of various designers. Everything from interior design to stage and automotive design. It was created last year by former Wired editor-in-chief Scott Dadich, but for some reason it very rarely appears on our Netflix suggested feed. A solid sleeper if you’re looking for some late-night inspiration. The episode about illustrator Christoph Niemann is probably our fave.

Hoop Dreams 

STAN just keeps pulling out the big guns. If you didn’t know, they’re now streaming Hoop Dreams, which is arguably one of the greatest documentaries ever made. It grossed over $11m back in the 1990s, won the Audience Award at Sundance and is still the most recent documentary to be Oscar nom’d for Best Film Editing. Broadly, it follows the story of two African-American high school students in Chicago and their dream of becoming pro basketball players, but you really don’t need to be a basketball nut to enjoy it. Hoop Dreams is really a look at what The American Dream means for the average American, and how hard you have to work to get it.  

Fahrenheit 11/9

This one isn’t technically available yet, but keep an eye on it. It’s Michael Moore’s latest documentary polemic—this time aimed squarely at Donald Trump. It’s probably too much to expect a balanced and objective glimpse into the realities of the 2016 Presidential Election, but Moore always does better when he’s gunning for someone (he actually predicted Trump’s win—one of the few commentators who did). Right now Fahrenheit 11/9 is tied up in legal disputes with The Weinstein Company (technically they control the project), so we’ll have to hold our breath.

Traffic Stop

Want to get a feel for what it’s like to be a racial minority in middle America right now? Traffic Stop, which debuted last year, is a documentary short that tells the story of a routine traffic stop...which turned into an arrest. The victim was Breaion King, a 26-year-old African-American school teacher from Austin, Texas. This one doesn’t sugarcoat what happened that day, and it forces you to watch and understand exactly what it feels like for some people when they see those flashing blue lights in the rearview mirror. A recent Oscar nom for Best Documentary Short should pique your interest.  

Ladies First

Okay, feel-good story. It’s getting heavy in here. Ladies First tells the tale of Deepika Kumari, a girl born on the side of the road in India, into abject poverty, who went searching for food, found a bow and arrow instead, then (within four years) became the greatest archer in the world. All this by the age of 18. It was released on International Women’s Day this year, and so far the reviews have been universally stellar. “The story is about fighting,” Director Levy-Bahl said to Vogue India. “Sports gives girls a sense of worth and confidence.”

Jane

We’re finishing with one that’s pretty special. Jane is the incredible story of world-renowned scientist, Jane Goodall—compiled from over 100 hours of never-before-seen footage. The reels were tucked away in the archives of National Geographic for over 50 years, until award-winning filmmaker Brett Morgen dug them out and built them into this. If you’re ever feeling down about the state of the world (and particularly the green, natural part of the world that’s melting in front of our eyes) watch this and feel your spirit lift.

More procrastination coming your way. Here's all the must-watch movies for June 2018

Image credit: National Geographic

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