Netflix has so many things to watch, but sometimes you have to dig for them. Personally I’m always searching for documentaries on artists and creatives, so I wanted to share with you some things I’ve watched on Netflix in that vein. These are the types of films I could watch over and over and over.
12 Artsy Films to Watch on Netflix
House of Z — The rise, fall, and comeback of designer Zac Posen. I honestly didn’t know his history at all so this documentary was fascinating to me! I always loved his dresses and watching him give brutal feedback on Project Runway (which I love). If you like fashion, you’ll love this film.
Blurred Lines: Inside the Art World — As someone who is an artist (like 20% of the time), but wants to be an artist (like 80% of the time) this was obviously of interest to me. But if you’re interested in art or the business of art, this is a GREAT film with industry insiders discussing galleries, art fairs, auctions, and the commercialism behind it.
Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold — I wanted to wait to watch this until I read all of her books but that would have taken too long and I just don’t have that type of patience. I’ve read several Joan Didion books and I always think while I’m reading them that I don’t understand why people go crazy over Joan Didion. But then I go back through all of my highlights and notes and reread passages and then I get it. She writes as if you are having a conversation with her, it’s so real and raw, so you don’t really notice you are reading. Her work is not difficult to read, it’s easy. And that’s what makes it hard to write. If I tried to write my emotions out like that, they would never sound so beautiful. This documentary was directed by her nephew and it feels very personal. See my posts that include Didion here, here, and here.
Maddman: The Steve Madden Story — This documentary tells the story behind Steve Madden, yep he’s a real person behind the billion-dollar business. Billion…with a B! You might remember him being portrayed in the movie The Wolf of Wall Street or know of his shoe stores. Besides his story and the company being an interesting story, he also went to jail following a financial scandal, so that makes it really interesting.
The 100 Years Show — I think my expectations for this film were low. I don’t know why, but it blew me out of the water. It really made you realize that you should never give up working on your dream.
Without Gorky — Told by the family of Arshile Gorky, this documentary is a fascinating perspective of the famous artist. I love this painting of his of him and his mother.
Gaga: Five Foot Two — I don’t think people understand what it’s like to be at the level of someone like Lady Gaga. The constantness of the job. Usually the people who rise to this level of fame are obsessed with the music, the creation of it, the meaning of it, and the presentation of it. All of that is shown in this film.
Woman in Gold — I already want to watch this movie again. Right after I watched the film I did a little research and found that the painting this movie is based on, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, is in New York at the Neue Galerie and being just a few hours from there, clearly I need to go see it. I also bought this book that’s just waiting in my book pile to be read, and I recently read The Monuments Men (I still need to see the movie). I didn’t really know the history beyond my general history schooling just how much the Nazi’s took from not only the Jews but other countries, so the movie had a major effect on me. I would say to read/watch The Monuments Men first, then watch this movie. I don’t feel like Ryan Reynolds was right for the part. I love Ryan Reynolds and I think he did a good job, but I think it’s hard to separate his funny personality and general goofiness out of a serious role like this, so basically I think they could have cast that part better. But the movie is wonderful.
Foo Fighters: Back and Forth — I love the Foo Fighters and have been to two of their concerts and seen him play solo, but beyond knowing that Dave Grohl is from the DC area, and that he was the drummer in Nirvana, I didn’t really know much about him and how he started the Foo Fighters (but I can sing along to good portion of their songs!). So this documentary was fascinating to me. He literally turned down TOM PETTY to be his drummer to start the Foo Fighters. WHO TURNS DOWN TOM PETTY!?! I love that he’s a little crazy and controlling because he has the vision and the drive. Now maybe he could have dealt with a few situations/people differently, yes, but when you’re fighting for your vision to come to life, I can see how things doing always go perfectly.
In Louboutin’s Shoes — I love learning the history of a brand. Understanding the designer, seeing how they work. It just makes each shoe, in this case, more special. I see his shoes more like artwork. You can see the love and craftsmanship that goes into each shoe after watching this film. He’s an artist for the feet. People want to hate on the materialism of it, but there’s a market for it and it’s his passion. I look at it as art, and whether or not I like the shoes, I enjoy understanding the process and seeing people actually create things that then become brands and businesses.
My Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown — I could watch this over and over. Who doesn’t love the music of James Brown!?! I knew nothing about him so this documentary was the perfect way to educate myself.
Joe Cocker: Mad Dog with Soul — Joe Cocker is one of those people you don’t realize sang so many songs that you love (I feel that way about Hall & Oates too). It seems like most musicians have some sort of addiction or rocky story to tell, this is Joe’s story.
Need more film recommendations?