The Stan Streaming Club is here and this month we are keeping it real with the best documentaries to watch right now.
We’ve chosen nine of our favourite factual shows and feature films that are the perfect excuse to escape the cold and stay home for a documentary and chill session.
Spoiler alert: turns out most of our picks are about the current state of America, but hey, it’s 2018 and we don’t make the rules.
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Take a look through our list and head over to Stan to start your documentary binge.
Louis Theroux: My Scientology Movie
Documentary legend Louis Theroux gives us his unique take on Scientology. After unsurprisingly being denied any access to the Church, Theroux meets former members and recreates its infamous initiation ceremonies and alleged incidents of violence from leader David Miscavige.
Scientology wasn’t too thrilled about that idea, and set its people on Theroux to follow and film him. Of course, that all plays in his favour by highlighting the ridiculous nature of the ‘church’, with one particular highlight featuring a standoff in which both parties refuse to stop filming one another.
Active Shooter: America Under Fire
Nobody can forget the horrors of Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Columbine, the church in Charleston, the cinema in Aurora, and countless others. Active Shooter is a sobering look at the mass shooting epidemic occurring across the US. Each of the eight episodes takes a different incident and explores the devastating consequences of such senseless violence, from the perspective of survivors, victims’ families and emergency workers from the scene.
Another eye-opening series that takes an in-depth look at another crisis sweeping America - the opioid epidemic. This provocative five-parter investigates the problem from all sides — the growers, the cartels, the addicts — to show how the substance has ravaged communities around the globe. The crisis claimed the lives of more than 33,000 Americans in 2015, with an estimated 2 million suffering from opioid-related disorders. This unflinching series asks: how did we get here?
Just Another Immigrant
On a lighter note, this docuseries features deadpan UK comedian Romesh Ranganathan as he relocates to the US with his family and documents their lives as very modern immigrants, with often hilarious results.
Stacey Dooley Investigates — Young Sex For Sale In Japan
A rising star in the UK as the face of BBC documentaries, Dooley has made a name for herself as a fearless yet grounded reporter who brings a sense of reality to any subject. Stan has several Dooley docs, but one of the standouts is her exposé on Japan’s problem with the sexualisation of children. She visits a cafe where older men pay to be served by school girls, and investigates how the law banning child abuse images - which was shockingly only passed in 2014 - is being policed.
Yes, another documentary about America's flaws. The US justice system is the focus of many series and this one centres around three men who claim to have been wrongly incarcerated for decades. A team of experts work to uncover new evidence and come up with alternate theories in a bid to prove the mens’ innocence and reveal the truth.
In 1994, a Texas boy disappeared from his home. When he was found in Spain three years later, not everything was quite as it seemed. The Imposter is a masterclass in suspense and storytelling as we learn the truth through a series of reenactments and first-person testimonies.
Searching for Sugar Man
Documentaries don’t always mean doom and gloom. This uplifting classic from 2012 tells the incredible story of American musician Rodriguez, whose music took on a whole life of its own in South Africa - unbeknown to him. Come for the heartwarming tale, stay for the mesmerising soundtrack.
An example of a documentary having a wide-reaching impact on society, Blackfish lifts the lid on SeaWorld, revealing a truth that many of us had either never considered or simply turned a blind eye to. We see the fatal consequences of keeping orcas in captivity and discover how they got there in the first place. SeaWorld visitors and profits tumbled in the wake of the film and the company later announced plans to end its orca shows and breeding program in the face of public backlash.