Take in some films that are actually interesting and not complete garbage

For those fortunate enough to not know about it, let’s talk about “Plandemic,” a forthcoming “documentary” (heavy emphasis on those passive-aggressive quote marks) that has taken over way too many social media feeds this week.

A half-hour except of the full documentary has been uploaded (and removed and uploaded...) to YouTube and Facebook. It was suddenly the most shared documentary experience since “Tiger King.”

Here’s my review: It’s garbage.

It’s a mix of serious-sounding hokum coming from a seeming expert (and a documentarian whose breathless voiceovers try to create a sense of gravitas). It’s a commercial for a book.

I love documentaries. I have my whole life. Since I’ve been immersed in both film and journalism most of my life, it’s a natural fit.

So in the midst of a pandemic, seeing a blend of anti-vax rhetoric, a vague attack on Dr. Anthony Fauci and a conspiracy theory that hits both Big Government and Big Pharma suddenly being shared from those on the right and the left? Yeah, we’re doomed.

The next time you see someone share it with “I thought this was interesting,” do us all a favor and ask them to stop sharing disinformation at a time when it may literally kill us.

And stream these documentaries instead, because this is why I love documentaries.

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Netflix

“Behind the Curve”

This seems like the best place to start. This documentary profiles a series of people who believe the earth is flat. (Spoiler alert: It is not!) It examines the growing phenomenon of flat-earthers in a way that’s funny without being cruel to its subjects.

“I Am Divine”

This warm and sweet look at the life of Divine, the drag performer and longtime John Waters collaborator, is just a delight.

“Operation Odessa”

Love a good documentary about a story that seems too crazy to be true? How about a lovable Russian mobster who plotted to sell a military submarine to a drug cartel?

“Beyond the Mat” 

This 1999 documentary is a recent arrival to Netflix, but even if you don’t have any connection to professional wrestling, it’s fascinating (and sometimes heartbreaking). 

Prime

“The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia”

This Johnny Knoxville-produced documentary about West Virginia outlaw Jesco White and his eccentric kin certainly has a quality of gawking, but it’s also a look into a deep Appalachian city folks tend to not understand.

“Grizzly Man”

Werner Herzog made a truly remarkable documentary pieced from the footage of Timothy Treadwell, a man who lived among massive bears in Alaska for numerous summers until one took his life. “Tiger King” has nothing on this.

“Murderball” 

This 2005 doc details the incredible athletes of the incredible sport known as wheelchair rugby. If you’re missing sports and want a lift, here you go. (Columbus trivia note: The Whiles are featured on the soundtrack.)

“Shut Up, Little Man!” 

It was a simpler time when we had … viral audio? Yes, the story of the recordings of two arguing neighbors who became a low-key early viral sensation is still a fascinating look at how things spread before TikTok.

Hulu

“Tickled”

It starts as just another documentary about the world of competitive endurance tickling … wait, what? Yeah, and then things take so many twists and turns (some sinister), that it’s another story that seems too wild to be true. 

“Hail Satan?”  

An unexpectedly funny and charming doc, this takes a look at members of the Satanic Temple who have, through a series of high-profile legal and publicity stunts, worked towards removing religious displays from government spaces.

“The Queen of Versailles” 

It seems like a perfect time to revisit this tale of the colorful matriarch of a wealthy family who grapples with changes to her lavish lifestyle after a financial crash.