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1- Super Size Me DVD
Two out of three Americans are overweight or obese, but where does personal responsibility end and corporate responsibility take over? On the heels of recent lawsuits against McDonald's, director Morgan Spurlock takes a hilarious and often terrifying look at the effects of fast food on the human body. Spurlock spends a month of eating nothing but McDonald's food, ordering everything on the menu at least once and "super-sizing" his order if asked.
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2- Fahrenheit 9/11 DVD
Michael Moore's hard-hitting documentary addresses the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, outlining the reasons the U.S. has become a target for hatred and terrorism. Criticizing President George W. Bush's response to the attacks and reinforcing his theory that the Bush Administration used the tragic event to push its agenda, Moore also traces alleged dealings that connect two generations of the Bush family with Osama bin Laden's clan.
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3- Bowling for Columbine DVD
Famed filmmaker and left-wing political humorist Michael Moore tackles America's obsession with firearms in this Oscar-winning documentary. Focusing mainly on the Columbine massacre in April 1999, Moore also visits a Michigan bank that gives new customers a free gun, recites statistics for gun deaths in the United States and interviews folks ranging from National Rifle Association spokesman Charlton Heston to shock rocker Marilyn Manson.
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4- Born Into Brothels DVD
This Oscar-winning documentary is a portrait of several unforgettable children who live in Calcutta's red-light district, where their mothers work as prostitutes. Spurred by the kids' fascination with her camera, Zana Briski, a photographer documenting life in the brothels, decides to teach them photography. As they begin to look at and record their world through new eyes, the kids awaken to their own talents and sense of worth.
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5- Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room DVD
Based on the book of the same name by Peter Elkin, director Alex Gibney's documentary takes a behind-the-scenes look at the powerful energy company whose downfall forever changed the landscape of the business world. With a blend of fascinating footage, fast-paced interviews and a wealth of information, this film is a serious lesson in the potential trappings of dishonesty and unethical behavior dogging corporate America today.
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6- Spellbound DVD
This documentary presents the intense, real-life experience of the National Spelling Bee as seen through the eyes of eight young spellers. We share in their private lives as they train for and compete in this ultimate intellectual showdown. Within these stories, we discover not only their idiosyncrasies, their obsessive study habits and their sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes inspiring family dynamics, but also the story of America itself.
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7- The Fog of War DVD
Former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara worked for both Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, playing a key role in shaping both administrations' approaches to the Vietnam War. This Oscar-winning documentary directed by Errol Morris traces McNamara's career from government to the World Bank; but it's his work during the Vietnam years that's highlighted in this film, which features extensive archival footage and interviews.
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8- Murderball DVD
Rugby-playing quadriplegics compete for the Paralympic gold medal in this documentary about an amazing sport and the strong-willed athletes who play full-contact rugby using specially designed wheelchairs. The film follows the U.S. Quad Rugby Team as they compete in the 2002 World Championships and the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens. Winner of the 2005 Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival.
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9- The Aristocrats DVD
From comedians Paul Provenza (who directed) and Penn Jillette (half of the notorious Penn & Teller duo) comes a fascinating documentary that opens a window on the world of the working comic, offering unprecedented backstage access. The premise is simple enough: More than 100 comedians (including big-name stars and lesser-known talents) tell the same raunchy vaudeville joke more than 100 times -- with about 100 different results.
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10- Grizzly Man DVD
Renowned nonfiction director Werner Herzog chronicles the tragic and untimely death of outdoorsman Timothy Treadwell, who devoted his life to studying grizzly bears living in the Alaskan wilderness -- only to have one of them maul him to death. Pieced together mainly from Treadwell's own video footage, this fascinating documentary goes deep into the wilderness of one man's mind to uncover how he spent his final days.
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11- Touching the Void DVD
Mixing interviews with dramatic re-enactments of the event, this gripping docudrama retells the mountaineering trek gone awry of Simon Yates (Nicholas Aaron) and Joe Simpson (Brendan Mackey). While climbing in the Andes, Simpson falls and breaks his leg. Yates, who's tethered to him, attempts to lower him to safety but fails. He makes a pivotal decision that may or may not save both of their lives. Was he right?
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12- The Corporation DVD
This documentary charts the spectacular rise of corporations as a dramatic, pervasive presence in our lives. Filmmakers Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott present a timely, entertaining critique of global conglomerates as they chronicle the origins of corporations, as well as their inner workings, controversial impacts and possible futures. The pros and cons are weighed via interviews with social critics such as Noam Chomsky and Michael Moore.
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13- Capturing the Friedmans DVD
A family in crisis is "captured" through real home video. The Friedmans, an average upper-middle-class Jewish family in Great Neck, NY, found their world turned upside down when the father and son were charged with child molestation in 1987. The media inundated the airwaves with coverage of the alleged crime, but some of the best footage was shot by the family themselves -- seen publicly for the first time in this documentary.
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14- Control Room DVD
This documentary peers into the controversial and often dangerous operations of the 7-year-old Al Jazeera news network. Although it often enrages its own people, the news outlet has become the most accepted informational resource in the Arab community. Filmmaker Jehane Noujaim gains extraordinary access to Al Jazeera journalists and examines the risks they confront on a daily basis.
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15- Winged Migration DVD
Amazing cinematography and gorgeous music fill this documentary-adventure created by French filmmakers Jacques Cluzaud, Michel Debat and Jacques Perrin. Presented with almost no narration and filmed primarily from a bird's perspective, this study of the lives and habits of migrating birds re-creates as nearly as possible the experiences of the birds themselves.
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16- Mad Hot Ballroom DVD
Ballroom dancing goes from lame to cool for a group of New York City public school kids in this insightful documentary. The film follows a group of 11-year-olds as they learn to dance old-school styles including the merengue, rumba, tango, foxtrot and swing. Candid interviews capture the kids' initial reluctance at learning ballroom dance and their transformation into serious competitors determined to win a citywide competition.
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17- Dogtown and Z-Boys DVD
A new style of skateboarding emerged in the 1970s -- showcasing moves borrowed from famous surfers -- and with it, a skating culture was born. Legendary skateboarder Stacy Peralta (Riding Giants) directed this fast-paced, award-winning documentary that focuses on the Z-Boys of Venice Beach, Calif. This innovative group of guys became legends in the sport, and the depth of their influence is felt in a variety of sports -- and society -- today.
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18- Step Into Liquid DVD
This documentary directed by Dana Brown smashes any preconceptions that the surfing community mostly comprises buff blondes and hardbodies. Zigzagging from the waters off Ireland to Da Nang in Vietnam and Oahu's ripping North Shore, Step Into Liquid profiles the diverse and fascinating characters who have devoted their lives to catching the perfect wave.
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19- Metallica: Some Kind of Monster DVD
Documentarians Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky had unprecedented access to Metallica while the rockers recorded their 2003 album, "St. Anger." And the filmmakers were in the right place at the right (or perhaps wrong) time when lead singer James Hetfield spent five months in rehab. They also recorded the fallout when bassist Jason Newstad was replaced with Robert Trujillo and were on hand during the group's no-holds-barred therapy sessions.
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20- Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism DVD
Finally, a no-holds-barred documentary on Rupert Murdoch's Fox News, which has been criticized in some quarters as running a "race to the bottom" in television news. Offering an in-depth look at the dangers of burgeoning corporations that take control of the public's right to know, the film explores Murdoch's ever-expanding media empire and its impact on society. Media experts such as Jeff Cohen and Bob McChesney are interviewed.
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21- Roger & Me DVD
In this blistering, satirical documentary, ex-journalist Michael Moore gives a personal account of the tough times in his hometown of Flint, Mich., after the General Motors plant was closed in the mid-1980s. The film revolves around Moore's dogged attempts to gain an interview with Roger Smith, the elusive and well-insulated head of GM and the man responsible for massive layoffs that eliminated more than 30,000 jobs and left the town destitute.
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22- Comedian DVD
Honest -- at times painfully so -- and intimate, director Christian Charles's documentary follows established comedian Jerry Seinfeld and up-and-comer Orny Adams as they navigate the highs and lows of the stand-up circuit. From writing and testing material to admiring the competition -- including Chris Rock's kudos for Bill Cosby -- this engaging film looks at the details, insecurities and hard work involved in making people laugh.
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23- The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill DVD
This documentary tells the true story of a Bohemian St. Francis of Assisi and his amazing relationship with a flock of wild parrots. Mark Bittner, a homeless street musician in San Francisco, adopts the flock as he searches for meaning in his life. The weird thing is, he's unaware that the wild parrots will bring him everything he needs. The film celebrates urban wildness (human and avian) and links the parrots' antics to human … antics.
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24- Riding Giants DVD
For those who can't get enough of point breaks and "shooting curls," Riding Giants offers a comprehensive look at the history of surfing, from its origins as a tiny subculture to the sport's resurgence and surfers' ongoing obsession with riding the "big one." The film -- which opened the 2004 Sundance Film Festival -- was directed by Stacy Peralta, who also helmed the acclaimed skateboard documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys.
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25- Rize DVD
Former commercial photographer and music video director David LaChapelle delves into the "krumping" culture in South Central Los Angeles, capturing the unbelievable gyrations of dancers with moves so quick that they warrant a special disclaimer. The high-octane documentary centers on "Tommy the Clown," a former birthday entertainer who opened a school to train community kids to krump -- and keep them out of trouble.
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