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Binge-Worthy Documentaries

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Some say that truth is stranger than fiction. It’s certainly truer than fiction, and the fact that these strange, inspiring, or downright amazing things actually happened makes them more compelling than an imaginary plot.

So, our staff has shared some of their personal favorite documentaries that can be watched at home (which is where just about everyone is these days). Remember as we’ve said before, we’re not actually recommending that you spend lots of time binge-watching anything. First and foremost: binge on God’s Word. Spend time abiding with Christ, journaling, and reflecting on what God is teaching you in this season. But if you do have extra time and want to rest from other activities, these are some good options

Before You Stream…
  • Many of our staff suggested VidAngel when it comes to binging media content! It is a helpful tool that connects with your streaming services and allows you to skip, filter, and mute inappropriate or questionable content on your phones, tablets, and tv. Due to the high number of families now isolated or quarantined, VidAngel is offering their services free for two weeks.
  • We’d also recommend parents use movie review sites sush as PluggedIn, Common Sense and the parent’s guide within the IMDB app to help you vet which media your family consumes.
Free Solo

The 2019 Oscar winner for best documentary, Free Solo is about one man’s quest to climb El Capitan—a 3,200-foot vertical rock face—without using any ropes or safety equipment of any kind. A single mistake along any inch of the climb would doubtless mean his death. If you’re afraid of heights, this might be the scariest horror movie you’ll ever see—and it’s real. Available on Disney+ and Hulu. (Rated PG-13 for brief strong language.)

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

If restaurant closures have you dreaming of sushi, this documentary will either tide you over or make you long for it even more. The titular Jiro Ono is considered the greatest living sushi chef, and his restaurant was the first sushi establishment in the world to earn three Michelin stars. Available on Netflix.

Fastball

You don’t have to be a baseball fan in order to enjoy this Kevin Costner documentary about the history and science behind big-league pitching. The film compares different pitchers and the various ways that pitch speed has been measured over the decades in order to determine definitively who had the fastest fastball of all time. Available on Amazon Prime and Tubi.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

A documentary about the late, great Fred Rogers, creator and star of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. It looks at the impact he had on generations of children—and adults—through both his TV show and how he treated people in real life. Available on HBO Now. (Rated PG-13, because not everyone in the film is Mister Rogers, some thematic elements and language.)

Searching for Sugar Man

In South Africa, the 1970s-era music of an American singer-songwriter known only as Rodriguez becomes massively popular, even years after his reported death. Two filmmakers set out to learn more about this man who was more popular than Elvis in their country. Eventually they find out that he’s not dead—and he has no idea that he’s a star. Available on Netflix. (Rated PG-13 brief strong language and some drug references.)

Chicken People

Some people raise show dogs. Others raise show…chickens. These are the Chicken People, and this documentary follows three of them as they prepare for a competition known as the “Westminster of chickens.” Available on Amazon Prime.

The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young

A famous race with a secret application process. A backwoods 100-mile-plus ultramarathon, run both day and night, with more than 10 miles of cumulative elevation climb and no trail to follow. A race so difficult that, in its first 25 years, only 10 people even finished. This is the annual Barkley Marathon. Available on Amazon Prime and Tubi. (Not rated, but likely would be PG-13.)

Salt Fat Acid Heat

If being stuck at home has inspired you to learn how to cook, this four-part documentary covers the four basic things that create or change the taste of food: salt, fat, acid, and heat. Available on Netflix.

Last Week’s List of Binge-Worthy Content

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First and foremost: before you binge anything – binge on God’s Word. Spend time abiding with Christ, journaling, and reflecting on what God is teaching you in this season. This is also an excellent time to start (or continue) practicing the spiritual disciplines. New to the spiritual disciplines? We recommend our inTIMEacy series from 2014 to learn more.

But if you wind up with extra free time, you may be looking for something to stream. With so many options for streaming movies and television, how are believers to wisely choose what to watch? During this extended shutdown of schools, ministries, and out-of-the-home activities, our heart is to help you make the best of this extra time with your family, friends, and roommates. We collected suggestions from our staff to create a list of the best binge-worthy content to keep your brain occupied and your boredom at an all-time low! If you have a moment between cooking, home workouts, and those crazy trick shots, consider watching one of the following…

Before You Stream…

  • Many of our staff suggested VidAngel when it comes to binging media content! It is a helpful tool that connects with your streaming services and allows you to skip, filter, and mute inappropriate or questionable content on your phones, tablets, and tv. Due to the high number of families now isolated or quarantined, VidAngel is offering their services free for two weeks.
  • We’d also recommend parents use movie review sites such as PluggedIn, Common Sense and the parent’s guide within the IMDB app to help you vet which media your family consumes.

Top Pick:

  • The Chosen was the overall staff favorite! This television series is about the life of Christ through the eyes of His witnesses. If you are going to watch anything this week, why not learn more about the one who paid it all? You can watch it for free through The Chosen app.

YouTube Channels We Recommend

  • The Bible Project – Easy-to-follow narrations and beautiful illustrations that make learning about the Bible educational and fun. This is a great supplement to your daily devotions.
  • Dude Perfect – Perfect for the family! Get inspiration for fun games, competitions, and trick shots. They’re posting videos each day this week to raise money for the American Red Cross.

Watermark YouTube Channels: Did you know Watermark has four different YouTube channels? Find them all here:

Watermark Channels

  • Watermark Community Church – Many of our sermon series are posted here! Re-watch your favorites or go back to series before you were a member!
  • Real Truth. Real Quick. – Biblical truth in less than 10 minutes on a wide range of topics from Kanye to dieting and exercise.
  • The Porch – Watch full sermon series and messages from The Porch, Watermark’s Young Adults ministry.
  • Watermark Resources – Encouraging and informative messages from the Church Leaders Conference. Perfect for sharing with other churches and their leaders.

Series, Movies, and Documentaries: From documentaries to light-hearted cooking competitions, here’s a list of shows on popular streaming channels to help pass the time!

Netflix:

  • Great British Baking Show – Watch talented people bake beautiful pastries and perfect your best British accent!
  • Our Planet – God’s gifts and beauty will leave you in awe of all He’s created!

Amazon Prime:

  • American Gospel – This incredibly well produced documentary dives into the prosperity gospel theology in America and how it is distorting biblical truth.

RightNow Media: Did you know that all Watermark Members get free access to RightNow media? You can sign up here at watermark.org/rightnow.

Here are some Bible study series that include study guides. They are perfect for “socially distant” community groups this week.

RightNow also has excellent for kids, including:

Disney+:

  • Chronicles of Narnia – Three movies based on the series of novels by C.S. Lewis. Available on Disney Plus.
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