Netflix is completely worth the monthly fee solely for it's amazing documentary selection. Lately I've seen so many jaw dropping, inspiring, informative and compelling films that I would have completely missed otherwise. My friend Peter pointed out that sadly, instead of seeing this plethora of streaming choice as a positive for the documentary world, this just goes to show you how undervalued documentaries are. Apparently Can't Hardly Wait is too valuable to stream, but Oscar winner Man on Wire is fair game?
Some absolute classics of the genre including Thin Blue Line, Paris is Burning, Grizzly Man, The Up Series & Hoop Dreams are currently available on Instant, but Netflix's newer selection is even more varied. They have "hot" titles like The Queen of Versailles, Jiro Dreams of Sushi & The September Issue, but if you are going to start somewhere I would recommend any of these three films:
These documentaries go beyond the informative talking-head structure of storytelling. They employ new techniques that completely capture and change the emotional involvement of the audience. Seemingly inspired by Errol Morris' creative-artists-meets-journalist trail these films tell intriguing stories in fresh and personally unique ways. These amazing films exceed any limitations you might have previously held about the documentary genre.