Doc’d Up: Documentary Quick Hits

I recently watched a few documentaries on Netflix and came away impressed with each.

The House I Live In (2012)

Listeners to the Podcast know the myth known as Bobby recommend this doc to me. He was the first person to ever recommend watching HBO’s “The Wire” to me as well and stated that the writer/creator of that show (David Simon) was involved with this documentary. It focuses on America’s “War on Drugs” and the harsh, outdated laws and sentences that accompany them. Themes explored were in line with “The Wire” and question whether the war was just another losing battle. It was touched on that when Regan initiated the movement, statistics show drug crime was on the decline. Theories on the war circle around “for profit imprisonment”, class warfare and chain of destruction or break down of the family unit in American society. Perhaps it provides a warped view of population control but clearly shows the impact of social injustice. The law enforcement portion of the doc makes you wonder if the fictional town of “Hamsterdam” will one day become a reality.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011)

This documentary focuses on sushi chef Jiro Ono. His 10 seat restaurant in Tokyo, Japan is a place of culinary legend. Eating there requires a few months in advance reservation to partake in one of the only 3 star Michelin sushi bars in the world. What intrigued me about Jiro’s story was his dedication to perfection. The culinary world has a language and code that only those that work in it truly understand. Jiro takes that code and gives it a nobility that has to be respected. Ono was 85 when the film was made and still prepared the menu on a daily basis. Time was spent on his struggles as a father – trying to balance his pursuit of perfection with the demands of fatherhood which took a back seat to his craft. Lastly a small amount of focus went towards the depletion fish/seafood, especially blue fin tuna which several previous documentaries explored in regards to the sushi markets impact on a global scale. The unsung hero of this documentary is Ono’s son Yoshikazu – the story of the struggles to live up to a legend is very compelling.

All This Mayhem (2014)

Please see Joe Dust’s write up on this doc. I watched it on his recommendation and enjoyed it quite a bit. The story draws you in easily as the brothers are charismatic in the found footage and the story for both is quite tragic. Also the link in Joe’s article from the Tony Hawk interview is a good read as it gives you the other side to the story. “There are three sides to ever story. My side. Your side. And the Truth.”

*side note: the movie made me think of this – UNDERGROUND

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