movie reel

Morning Documentaries

Friday, 10 to 11:45 a.m., Library 3023

George and Claire Roper

The outstanding documentaries we have chosen for presentation this semester are both entertaining and enlightening. Titles will also be in the Renaissance Recorder newsletter. This is a drop-in seminar with no sign-up or presentation requirements.


Feb. 7: My Life as a Turkey (2011) 51 minutes
When naturalist Joe Hutto became "mother" to a clutch of 16 wild turkey eggs, he had no idea of the heartache and joy that were to become part of his daily existence for the next 18 months, as he raised the chicks and helped them leave the nest. This is a surprisingly moving and heart-warming documentary that anyone can enjoy.
Feb. 14: Urbanized (2011) 85 minutes
Urbanized looks at the issues and strategies behind urban design, explores a diverse range of urban design projects around the world, and frames a global discussion on the future of cities. An interesting and multifaceted look at cities' development and infrastructure.
Feb. 21: Wild Horse Wild Ride (2011) 106 minutes
An annual contest challenges 100 people across the United States to tame a wild mustang in 100 days. Following this dangerous and harrowing feat is a public showcase that determines whether these horses can be saved from a life in captivity. It is an intimate look at the horse training process, a great horse story and a great people story as well.
Feb. 28: Hot Coffee (2011) 88 minutes
This documentary examines the so-called "hot coffee lawsuit," in which a woman sued McDonald's after she spilled her coffee and burned herself, specifically looking at the reasons why the fast-food giant invested heaps of money to sway public opinion. Outstanding documentary on how things aren't always what they seem.
March 7: The Whale Note Schedule Change!
Narrated by Ryan Reynolds, this documentary introduces Luna, a killer whale who befriends a community living off Vancouver Island. Conflicted emotions rise to the surface as officials try to determine what is best for the extraordinary animal in this beautifully compelling story.
March 14: Being Elmo (2011) 80 minutes
Beloved by millions of children, Elmo is an international icon. But few people know the soft-spoken man behind the furry red monster: Kevin Clash. Narrated by Whoopi Goldberg, this documentary follows Clash's remarkable career as a puppeteer. Regardless of the recent controversy, this is a great movie about a very talented man.
March 21: How Much Does Your Building Weigh, Mr. Foster? (2010) 79 minutes
The wide-ranging and inspiring career of English architect Norman Foster is profiled in this intriguing documentary. Despite his humble background, Foster studied at Yale and worked with Buckminster Fuller after establishing his own firm. A visual delight, his architecture, like the man himself, is a pleasure to visit.
March 28:
Spring Break; No Seminars.
April 4: Craigslist Joe (2012) 93 minutes
Setting out to explore whether America still has a sense of community where people help each other through hard times, 29-year-old Joseph Garner spends a month depending on the goodness of craigslist posters for his survival. It's a great story of humanity in a time where a lot of us feel people are all out for themselves.
April 11: Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters (2012) 77 minutes
This offbeat portrait of portrait artist Gregory Crewdson captures his oddly elaborate creative process while sharing details of his fascinating past. Highlights include interviews with contemporaries Rick Moody, Russell Banks and Laurie Simmons. Everyone interested in photography as art should see this documentary.
April 18: Somewhere Between (2011) 93 minutes
Questions of race, identity and heritage are explored through the lives of young American women growing up as adoptees from China. These four distinct individuals reflect on their experiences as members of transracial families. The struggles they encountered as they tried to discover their true identities are amazing.
April 25: Wavy Gravy Movie: Saint Misbehavin' (2009 ) 86 minutes
Explore the meaningful life of longtime clown and political activist Wavy Gravy with this documentary, which follows the popular figure for more than 10 years, revealing his true character, core convictions and biggest contributions to society. A loving portrait of the '60s, and a remarkable man, Saint Misbehavin' is sure to brighten a dark day or night with its compassion and clarity.
May 2: Don't Stop Believin': Everymen's Journey (2011) 105 minutes
This documentary presents the musical saga of Arnel Pineda, who goes from singing in Manila nightclubs to fronting the legendary rock band Journey. Brought into the group just before a world tour, Arnel must sell himself to Journey's many fans. If you love Journey, you will definitely love this documentary about the search to replace Steve Perry.