Know what's great? Documentaries. Sure, we love movies and television, but real life is often just as compelling as the fake stuff (if not more so). Sometimes you just can't make this shit up. Which is why we're thrilled that HBO has announced a new plan to make Monday nights their home for all things documentary — shedding a light on the myriad issues that not only plague our society, but the intimate stories that illuminate the world even in their limited scale. And there are even a few out there you can watch right now — without making HBOGo crash.
There are a lot of amazing documentaries out there — to say nothing of the ones HBO plans to premiere in this process. And some of those amazing documentaries are already out there in the world for you to enjoy. All you need is an HBOGo login (c'mon, you must know someone) and you're set for an educational, thoughtful, riveting evening of real-life movie-watching that you never knew you needed.
So why not try one of these 12 on for size? There's something for everyone here — and you'll be further enlightened after you watch one. It's a win win, right?
Whoopi Goldberg Presents Moms Mabley
Whoopi Goldberg's tribute to a comedic pioneer Jackie 'Moms' Mabley. An african american stand-up comic in a time when such an idea was unfathomable, Mabley became a major star on stage and screen, pushing boundaries when it comes to the way we talk about gender, sex, and racism in America.
The Vagina Monologues
Eve Ensler's iconic stage show has been reimagined with all-new interviews and behind-the-scenes bits in this documentary. By taking a look at other women's insights and experiences with their most intimate bits (The vagina! The clitoris!), a wealth of candid, funny, and thoughtful insights into what it means to be a woman are revealed.
Six By Sondheim
Stephen Sondheim is one of the most prolific lyricists and Broadway composers of all time. The documentary features intimate performances and interviews that shed brilliant light onto six of his most iconic songs, "Something's Coming," "Opening Doors," "Send in the Clowns," "I'm Still Here," Being Alive," and "Sunday."
Skinheads USA: Soldiers of the Race War
The chilling 1993 documentary about the underground world of Skinheads in America still feels relevant today, sadly. Skinheads USA is a startling look at the inside of a neo-Nazi organization's moral and mental methodology to explain why the racist White Power movement in America still proliferates itself and exists.
Seduced and Abandoned
Alec Baldwin's documentary about what it takes to make a movie in Hollywood today is an eye-opening look at just how absurd and nonsensical the whole process can be.
This short-form documentary was the 2011 Oscar winner in its category for a reason. Taking a look at two survivors of Pakistan's vicious and regularly occuring acide attacks, Saving Face looks at the stories of two survivors and the plastic surgeon dedicated to helping victims.
Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer
If you don't know who Pussy Riot is, or what their long-documented struggle in Russia has been about, this is the documentary for you.
The story of Nim the chimpanzee is a fascinating one. Raised and nurtured like a human child in the 70s at Columbia University, the experiment hoped to show just the sort of capacity these animals have for communication and language.
Manhunt, the documentary about the decades-long search for Osama Bin Laden is essentially a behind-the-scenes look at the story at the heart of Zero Dark Thirty . Filled with testimony fromC.I.A. agents, it reveals the true story behind how a group of largely female analysts gathered the intelligence that brought down the infamous terrorist.
Gloria: In Her Own Words
Listen — Gloria Steinem is a hero and pioneering champion for women. Journalist, activist, and hero to many, this look back at the life and career of Steinem's should be required viewing for all feminists — budding or otherwise.
The Case Against 8
Do you want a thorough look at the battle of Proposition 8? This is the documentary for you. Focusing on the bipartisan team tasked with taking the lawsuit to task, the doc focuses on the legal issues faced in every step of the way to get the ruling struck down.
Americans in Bed
Oh, sex: why must you be so filled with unknowing terror for so many people? In this documentary, ten American couples candidly and openly discuss romance, sex, trust, and love in its various stages and iterations. From young New Yorkers who have split up 26 times to spouses in their 90s who have been married 71 years, this documentary will have you feeling lots.
Image: HBO