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Recommendations for some of 2022’s newest documentaries

Recommendations for some of 2022’s newest documentaries

Recommendations for some of 2022’s newest documentaries
June 26
12:00 2022

It’s easy to get stuck in a stream service loop. Seeing tens of online services with different upload schedules makes it hard to keep track of new content. To avoid hours of mindless scrolling, others tend to stick to movies and shows they already know.

To get out of the rewatch rut, here’s a quick guide to some of the year’s latest documentaries. From true crime to comedy, see what some of the most popular platforms have to offer.

Hulu – “Captive Audience: A Real American Horror Story”

Content Warning: This documentary contains content related to sexual assault which may be triggering for some audiences.

This three-episode true-crime series follows the life of Steven Stayner. Returning home seven years after his 1972 kidnapping, Stayner struggles to return to his normal life.

Interviews from family members and childhood friends allow viewers to learn more about Stayner’s life. Decades after the country read news of Stayners’ story, the series paints a picture of the events’ lasting impact.

Unlike most true crime stories, “Captive Audience” shows more than just one tragic tale. It expands past his kidnapping and into his rocky return, which impacted his entire family. This extension provides context to the Stayners’ tragedies that were not broadcast nationwide after his “fairytale ending.” This doc provides a deeper look into how devastation can affect a seemingly repaired family.

HBO – “Gaming Wall Street”

Kieran Culkin narrates this tongue-in-cheek tale of the 2021 short-selling of GameStop stock. Culkin chronicles the story of Reddit forums that united to take back buying power from major hedge funds.

While some recognize this from headlines last January, the film dives deeper into the hustle and its aftermath. The doc consistently switches from interviews to animated explanations of the market’s inner workings for better understanding.

This documentary is entertaining for those both familiar and unaware of last year’s stock market enigma. “Gaming” is a classic tale of the little guy or underdog. It’s humorous to see the market’s reputation flip on its head, but also interesting to find out how. Viewers soon learn the seemingly complex stock market is surprisingly simple and easy to manipulate.

Netflix – “Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey” 

Content Warning: This documentary contains content related to sexual assault which may be triggering for some audiences.

Released on June 8, “Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey” is one of Netflix’s newest additions. It documents the rise of Warren Jeffs in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Throughout four episodes, viewers learn more about Jeffs and his increasingly radical polygamist offshoot. Interviews with survivors share their experiences from inside the Texas former congregation, giving insight into Jeffs’ criminal case.

“Keep Sweet” focuses less on the experience of being in a cult. Rather, it shines a light on those who managed to escape it. Unlike other controversial true crime shows, it feels more like an open testimony than an exploitative production. In doing so, viewers see a tale of eventual legal justice without nuanced sugarcoating of victims’ stories.

Amazon Prime Video – “Lucy and Desi”

Directed by Amy Poehler, this film explores one of Hollywood’s most famous comedic couples. The biographical doc centers around a series of cassettes containing interviews with the late Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. These recordings and other interviews with the couple’s friends and family provide a deeper look into the pair. Viewers not only get a behind-the-scenes look at productions like “I Love Lucy,” but also the actors’ lives.

“Lucy and Desi” is perfect for those curious about old Hollywood and the couple’s infamous strained relationship. Despite clips of on-set moments and at-home movies, the real magic is in the audio tapes. It’s almost like letting Ball and Arnaz speak to the camera themselves. Viewers get to hear it all from the actors themselves, who still have their own explaining to do.

Featured Illustration by Erika Sevilla

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Samantha Thornfelt

Samantha Thornfelt

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