13th: People's recommendations for this movie always include a bit where they were made aware of a new aspect of our prison system they had previously been oblivious to. I was pretty familiar with different aspects of prison activism going into this one, and yet I was also surprised by how much new information I walked away with. It's a pretty epic primer on our entire prison system and all of it's problems. There are few documentaries out there that hit so very many marks so successfully; this is a movie to watch, and then watch again to make sure you didn't miss something while your mind was being blown every 15 mins.
She's Beautiful When She's Angry: Whether you think you know everything there is to know about the modern women's movement or you don't know the first thing about it, this movie has something for everyone. It covers the rise of the feminist movement, the pitfalls that they could not have anticipated, and touches on everything from birth control to intersectionality. If you've ever wondered what it's like to be inside a national movement from it's start, this film gives you a pretty good idea.
Citizen Koch: Apparently there were many things I don't know (or didn't remember) about Citizen United, for instance that it all started with a movie produced by the Koch brothers to smear Hillary Clinton, or that it ushered in the Tea Party movement. But the broad stroke of this film illustrates how most of the narratives surrounding our laws and elections are largely controlled by an increasingly small percentage of people. The filmmakers explore that theme and how it coincides with the rise of the tea party, the re-call of Scott Walker, his consequent re-election, and who had the most control over the narratives surrounding those issues.
Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret: One aspect of eating meat most people don't spend too much time discussing is the impact it has on our environment. And that doesn't just apply to politicians or meat eaters, many of the countries largest environmental protection and animal-rights organization's websites, talking points and pamphlets conspicuously leave out information like: you could save more water skipping a burger than you could skipping 30 showers. Why is that? Cowspiracy asks those organizations (and some politicians) exactly that, and their answers are alarmingly flippant. Needless to say, the title of the film becomes incredibly apropos in a short amount of running time... (Additional watching: Food Choices. Similar subject matter, broader lens.)