Documentaries I Watched and Loved

four documentaries to watch

During the holidays, we watched a LOT of streaming television and movies on Amazon and Netflix. What can I say? Give us an Internet connection and we’ll find endless ways to entertain ourselves! In all honesty though, one unexpected genre we really got into were documentaries. I think when I was younger, I would shy away from documentaries, assuming they were always preachy or only pertaining to subjects that depressed me (and that I didn’t want to spend my free time on). But really though, there are so many fabulous filmmakers these days who are covering any number of topics — some serious, yes, but sometimes really fun too.

Three that I recently watched include Bill Cunningham New York, Somm, and Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. Fourth on the list to watch this month: Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s. Check out the trailers for each below, and see what I thought of them too! Take note: you don’t have to have Netflix to watch any of these — all are also available via iTunes!


I was utterly charmed by Bill Cunningham New York. Bill is the celebrated New York Times photographer who is essentially THE original street style photographer. What’s interesting to me is how he is the utter antithesis to the pomp, circumstance, and circus that fashion week has become. He’s a true visionary and totally surprising and inspiring. Watch this one for a dose of zany street style, and to learn more about the history of street fashion photography (and a good shot of New York City history too). It’s a gem.

WHERE TO WATCH: Netflix or iTunes

If you are a wine lover, have ever worked in the business, or have ever even served wine at a restaurant, I think you’ll love this film. Somm follows four guys as they prepare to take the Master Sommelier exam — one of the most difficult tests in the world, with what appears to be (as I’ve calculated it) a 10-15% pass rate every year. These guys learn enough about wine (and tasting it) that they can sniff and taste a wine, then identify it by narrowing down the vintage, varietal, region, and sometimes even producer. It’s incredible — and it makes me want to study and work as hard on anything as they do on this! San Franciscans, you might also get a kick out of local food and wine industry folk making appearances.

WHERE TO WATCH: Netflix or iTunes

Joe suggested we watch Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead after getting that damn juicer and toying with the idea of juice fasting. Whatever your approach to diet and health, you won’t be able to deny how inspiring and moving this movie is (is it awkward that I cried a little at the end?). What starts as one Australian man’s journey to drink only juice for 60 days to “reset” his body becomes so much more, as he meets Americans during the course of his road trip who in turn go on the journey with him. If you’ve been wanting to reset your body in the new year, this film could be the motivation you need!

WHERE TO WATCH: Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, and currently free on Hulu

The film Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s is next on my watch list. About a year and a half ago, I was given a copy of the book Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf Goodman, and was really interested to learn about the history of one of the world’s most famous department stores. There’s definitely an element of glamor and eye candy in the film that draws me in — but I’m hoping it also covers a lot of the history. Plus, I’m curious to learn more about how Bergdorf’s gorgeous window displays come together. (But, truthful aside time. Most hmmm inducing in the trailer: the idea that service there is second to none. Frank New Yorker moment? I’ve never really been anything but ignored or treated like a bother at BG, so I’m still waiting on getting the famous Bergdorf’s service. Oh well — it’s still really fun to walk around there!) Has anyone seen this film yet? The reviews aren’t glowing, but I’m still gonna give it a shot!

WHERE TO WATCH: Netflix and iTunes

Let me know if you check any of these documentaries out, and of course, what you think!!


  1. 1.13.14
    Nina said:

    Definitely will check these out. I’d probably start with the one about Bergdorf’s ;)

  2. 1.13.14
    Jasmin said:

    We recently watched A Place at the Table af I highly recommend it. Of course, it’s on a depressing topic, but it still served as a re-motivator to keep working hard so I can hopefully help my community in the future.

    Another movie on Netflix I recommend is Chop Shop (not a documentary, but based on reality).

  3. 1.13.14
    jillian said:

    interseting! thanks for the list, i love documentaries! xo jillian – cornflake dreams

  4. 1.13.14
    Robyn said:

    Thank you for posting!! I LOVE the documentaries on Netflix and Hulu and have been looking for some new ones to check out. Definitely going to take a look at Somm!

  5. 1.13.14

    I haven’t seen any of these, but they look really interesting. I think watching Blackfish really opened my eyes to how incredibly powerful and engaging documentaries can be. I’d love to check these out. I think there was another one too that I saw trailers for a while back, about Carine Roitfeld…that looked interesting as well.

  6. 1.13.14

    I’ve heard a lot about Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead. At the school, I used to work at a girl studied abroad for 70+ days and took the opportunity to juice fast. I don’t think I would be able to do it for that long, but the documentary was very good.

  7. 1.13.14
    Abby said:

    I watched Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s a few weeks ago and I loved it! If you’re not a fan of Linda Fargo, you will be after you watch it.

  8. 1.13.14
    Kayla said:

    ooo Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead looks good.. I might need to watch that one!


  9. 1.13.14
    alexa said:

    Ah thanks Victoria, totally going to add to my queue!

  10. 1.13.14

    Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead totally changed my outlook on food. It was so informative. I will definitely check out your other suggestions!

  11. 1.13.14
    Gloria said:

    I just watched Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead last week – definitely amping up the amount of veggies and fruits in my diet now! Blackfish is another great (and heartbreaking) doc on Netflix right now that’s about the treatment of killer whales at Sea World

  12. 1.13.14

    These picks sound great! I’ve seen Bill Cunningham but will have to put the others on my to-watch list. I also loved The Queen of Versailles (about an ostentatiously rich family who goes bankrupt) and Ai Weiwei (about a radical and controversial Chinese artist). I highly recommend both!

  13. 1.13.14
    Molly said:

    These all look fantastic… Definitely check out The Art of the Steal about the infamous Barnes Collection in Philadelphia. Just watched it and it was so eye opening and interesting!

  14. 1.13.14

    I loved Scatter my Ashes at Bergdorfs. So good.


  15. 1.13.14
    rox said:

    gah! I want to watch Somm so bad. so funny, because I just posted something last week about recent documentaries I had seen (room 237 and blackfish).

  16. 1.13.14
    Maggie said:

    Somm is on our list, and I’ve already seen the other 3! I think you would LOVE “Herb and Dorothy” as well as “This Film is Not Yet Rated” as well as “First Position.” Ummm I might be a huge documentary nerd.

  17. 1.13.14
    Bethany said:

    I always forget how cool documentaries are until I watch them. Will have to check some of these out!

  18. 1.14.14
    Dayna said:

    I’m a huge documentary fan – Bill Cunningham New York is one of my all time favourites! I will have to check out the rest of these that you recommended too. If you’re looking for a new doc to check out, I’ve heard a lot amazing things about this year’s film The Square.

    x Dayna

  19. 1.16.14
    Adri said:

    I loved Somm! It’s crazy to think about how much there really is to know about wine! I can’t wait to check out some of your other recs!

    xo Adri

    • 1.16.14
      Victoria McGinley said:

      Yay! So glad you enjoyed it!

  20. 1.26.14

    I love the documentaries on Netflix! Bill Cunningham was one of the first fashion documentaries and it was so funny and inspiring. Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead motivated me to really look at what type of food I was putting in my body. can’t wait to try out your other two suggestions.

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