10 Incredible Documentaries You've Probably Never Seen
10. Roger & Me (1989)
Michael Moore is probably the most famous documentary filmmaker working today, followed closely by Morgan Spurlock. Bowling for Columbine earned him the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature and Fahrenheit 9/11 took home the Palme dOr at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival (the first documentary feature to do so since 1956s The Silent World). Those two films made the documentary into a bona fide box office hit, an act that is impressively baffling in a documentary averse culture. While recently he has faded into the background with his latest films Capitalism: A Love Story and Slacker Uprising barely registering on most film-goers radars, it might be better to just go backwards and revisit a time when Michael Moore wasnt so steeped in political bore. Roger & Me was Moores first foray into documentary features and it is easily his most personal. Journeying to his hometown of Flint, Michigan, Moore tells the story of a town in collapse. The formerly thriving Flint, bolstered by the General Motors auto plants, is ravaged by the massive layoff of thousands of auto workers by GM. Moore embarks on a search for an interview and, more importantly, explanation from GM CEO Roger Smith. This is merely a MacGuffin; the true focus of the film is the town of Flint and its struggling people. Moore shows deep passion for his hometown and appears genuinely heartbroken in its struggle. The town is filled to the brim with interesting characters and illustrates the lengths people will go just to get by. It is somewhat saddening how current a film made in the 80s can now feel. The financial hardships of Flint could easily be applied to many towns throughout the United States today. The chasm separating the wealthy from the poor is massive and watched today illuminates a chronic illness rather than merely a sniffle. A great documentary in its time, Roger & Me might age too well for comfort.
Derek was the only engineer at Northeastern University taking a class on German film and turning a sociology assignment into an examination of Scorsese’s work. He blatantly abuses his Netflix account, but can never seem to get his Instant Queue below 200. Now working for the government, he fights the stigma that being good at math means you are not any no good at writing. I good write, very much. Follow Derek on Twitter @DerekDeskins.