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The Binge: best streaming documentaries

Still from the film, Undefeated
Still from the film, Undefeated

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Streaming entertainment has been a boon for everyone from total movie geeks to those just looking to save some money by cutting the cable cord.

But there's just one problem - too many choices! We've got the solution - our monthly segment we call, The Binge.

Our guide, writer and film historian Mark Jordan Legan, stopped by with his new list ... this one, the best streaming documentaries! 

Mark says that this 2010 release is quite compelling. Many listeners will know him from his hit song “Everybody’s Talkin” from the Oscar winning film Midnight Cowboy.

The film traces his life and career ... despite having 70’s classics as “One” “Without You” “Me and My Arrow” he had a childhood out of a Dickens novel, his father abandoned him, they were very poor so once he started having success, he went the way many do and that was to live a life of extreme excess. Nilsson hung out and partied with Monty Python, The Monkees, everybody really but what really helped make him famous was at the height of their fame, the Beatles claimed that Nilsson was their favorite musician. So he became fast friends with all the Beatles but especially John Lennon.

The film is a really good chance for the uninitiated to learn of a very great talent that unfortunately was cut down way too soon by booze, drugs and his own personal demons.

In 2011, this film won the Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary, and it focuses on a crumbling part of North Memphis, Tennessee where crime and closed down factories have devastated a community that still rallies around the local school sports team at Manassas High.

Unfortunately the football program has been terrible and for decades they did nothing but lose. Until a coach volunteered to take on the job – he not only transforms the team, but he changes the players’ attitudes and lives. 

It’s about so much more than the game - it is about life and all the obstacles young people face along the way. 

In 2010, this film was released ... and it was supposed to be a documentary on famous guerilla artist Banksy and other renegade street artists, but it turned into a navel gazing film on the guy who was hired to make the documentary – an eccentric Frenchman named Thierry Guetta.

It turns out to be a thoroughly entertaining look at modern art, celebrity and a society that films anything and everything – for better or worse.

This film follows the life of Eddie Aikua, a surfing legend and trailblazer in so many ways. It also does a very good job showing how the natives of Hawaii were pushed aside once they were taken over by an outside government. And how the outsiders even tried to make surfing their own.

But it quickly became apparent that this young Hawaiian, Eddie Aiku was the best one out there. And even though most of the guys in the surfing magazines were white, blond and from California, soon Eddie started appearing alongside them and winning tournaments as well. He had an amazing life not only as a surfer but also as the very first professional lifeguard at what was considered one of the most dangerous beaches in the world – Waimea Bay.

Eddie Aiku led an amazing life and the documentary is an engrossing, outstanding look at this very special Hawaiian.