On Netflix there is always a documentary that is worth sharing and discussing on social media. Starting from Tiger King, the docuserie featuring Joe Exotic, a rather controversial and disturbing character who collected tigers and wild animals in his zoo (now sentenced to 22 years in prison for attempted murder). The program has created a real media earthquake, even by Twitter standards, and on Instagram there is a meme dedicated to its flashy wardrobe. In short, we never stop talking about it.
So if you are looking for binge watching documentaries to talk about with friends, here you are – from Crip Camp, produced by Barack and Michelle Obama, to the series investigating NFL players accused of murder – our proposals.
1. Get your hands off the cats: hunt an online killer (2019)
When this three-episode docuserie about crimes that actually happened went online on Netflix last December, in the midst of the Christmas holidays, we all paused yet another replica of Elf – An elf named Buddy to follow these singular and disturbing events. Get your hands off the cats tells of a group of self-styled investigators on Facebook who try to find the responsible of a series of videos, anonymously posted online in 2010, in which cats are barbarously killed. Without wanting to spoil anything, we would like to say that the group – led by Deanna Thompson and John Green – embarks on a dangerous journey that ends with the killing of another species.
2. Cheerleader (2020)
The perception that the world had of this sport has been upset forever by Cheerleader, a docuserie that investigates the sportiness, courage and pure grit of cheerleaders. Filmed during training for the National Cheerleading Championship in Daytona Beach, Florida, the documentary follows every step, vault and somersault of the athletes of the Navarro College Cheer Team, as they go beyond all physical and psychological limits, to earn the esteem of their coach. , Monica Aldama. Directed by Greg Whiteley (director of another Netflix documentary, Last Chance U), the series has real heroines as Lexi Brumback and Gabi Butler, later spotted on the catwalks of New York Fashion Week last February.
3. Tiger King (2020)
Was anyone ready for the stunts of Joe Exotic, better known as Tiger King? Probably not. But what could have prepared us for the feats of a character like this: always armed, bigamo and fanatic of big cats (read: person not grateful to animal rights activists)?
The story of Joseph Maldonado-Passage (the real name of Joe Exotic) begins in Oklahoma and ends in a Texas prison (Grady County Jail). Between the beginning and the end we are dragged into a world made of pistols, cruelty to animals and that strange 80s hairstyle, called “mullet”. There are plenty of press reports and political campaigns, as well as the historical feud with Carole Baskin, the founder of the nonprofit hospitalization for exotic cats. Just her who over time becomes the ruin of Exotic. In summary: Tiger King has all the credentials to cause addiction.
4. Crip Camp: revolutionary disabilities (2020)
This Netflix docufilm, produced by Barack and Michelle Obama, could not come at a better time. It begins with a conversation between Jim LeBrecht, co-director of the series born with the spina bifida and the historical documentary maker, and Emmy winner Nicole Newnham. And it transports us to LeBrecht’s childhood memories from the 1970s when he frequented Jened camping – a progressive camping for disabled teenagers north of New York state, which saw a new generation of activists grow up. These included Judith Heumann, Pat Figueroa and Denise McQuade, whose perseverance, collaboration and resilience would later lead to the approval of the ADA law which not only transformed many lives, but made the world a place more respectful of equal rights.
5. In the mind of a killer: Aaron Hernandez (2020)
A word of warning: the parable of the once revered NFL player Aaron Hernandez does not guarantee easy viewing. This three-episode series goes beyond the glamor of multimillion dollar salaries in the world of professional football, preferring to tell the heartbreaking story of a teenage sports prodigy, which culminates in the murder of the semiprofessional football player, Odin Lloyd – as well as highlighting the effects little known about CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy), a condition that may have contributed to the tragedy.
6. Miss Americana (2020)
© Courtesy Netflix
Whether you are a Taylor Swift fan or not, this film allows us to discover the lesser known aspects of a life in the spotlight. It is certainly lighter than Joe Exotic’s exploits. They range from the naked and raw story of Swift’s eating disorders to the impact of the 2009 VMA (Video Music Awards) which began the long rivalry with the Kardashian-West. Miss Americana is basically the story of the desire to make it (Taylor Swift has been at the top of the Top Country Albums chart for 24 consecutive weeks at the age of 16), and in this particular historical moment, where we are forced to slow down, it is particularly intense.