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shpadoinkle_sue's avatar

What makes a documentary good or bad?

Asked by shpadoinkle_sue (7188points) March 9th, 2010

I watched Capitalism: A Love Story. I didn’t really mean to. Sometimes you’re just curious. Anyways, it irritated me within the first two minutes.
I love documentaries. I’m really happy that The Cove won best doc at the oscars. It made me curious what makes a documentary good or bad. Personally, my favorites are ones that educate without blaming or targeting anyone. Fired!, Maxed Out, Expelled – wonderful! Any Micheal Moore movie, Religilous – dumb!

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9 Answers

lilikoi's avatar

The worst thing someone making a documentary can do is appear in every frame throughout the entire film. A documentary should tell a story about something else, not be a tribute to yourself. I watched a documentary once where the whole film featured the same guy, the documentary maker. Sucky sucky.

talljasperman's avatar

if it adds knowlege and value to the watcher

YARNLADY's avatar

A good documentary leaves out opinion and speculation and sticks to the facts.

ucme's avatar

Subject matter & presentation.

janbb's avatar

I would argue that a good documentary can either challenge or reinforce your beliefs about something. I don’t think there is one formula that determines worth. Film-making is by nature subjective; the “facts” you include or exclude support the position you want to convey. A good documentary, like any work of art, presents stimulating material in a visual way that provokes a response.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

My two criteria are a subject matter that interests me and factual presentation, where any opinion or speculation is clearly identified as such. The “attack” documentaries leave me cold, as athe producer clearly has an agenda and his picking his/her “facts” selectively.

wundayatta's avatar

It makes you interested. It makes you care. It is well produced. It is well researched. It moves you.

Val123's avatar

How relevant it is to you.

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