13 Must-See Pop Culture Documentaries, From ‘The Wolfpack’ To ‘Beyond Clueless’
There is basically no limit when it comes to documentary subjects. People have made documentaries about wildlife, politics, crimes — you name it. And while tragic documentaries that expose serious problems in the world often receive the most attention from critics, they typically aren't the most fun to watch. And that's where pop culture documentaries come in, since they are typically fun to watch above all else (which is not to say that they can't have their moments of tragedy, too). But what exactly do I mean when I say "pop culture documentaries?"
Technically, a pop culture documentary would be any documentary whose subject has to do with pop culture. That means a documentary about a band, or a TV show, or a comic book would count as a pop culture documentary — and there is an endless amount of them. So for this list, I decided to focus more on pop culture documentaries that were a little off the beaten path, though you can still find several of them on Netflix. You won't find any doc here about a specific band like One Direction. Instead, all of these docs look at either specific fandoms, institutions, or tropes of pop culture and examine them heartily. Of the films on this list, you're likely to find something that piques your interest, whether that interest lies in Star Wars, zombies, teen movies, or collecting old VHS tapes (yes, that's a thing). So take a look below at these 13 must-see pop culture documentaries.
1. 'Beyond Clueless'
Are you a sucker for teen movies? Then you need to check out this look at the history and tropes of high school films.
2. 'Trek Nation'
Maybe Star Trek is far more significant than your average sci-fi franchise, as this film takes a look at the vision of creator Gene Roddenberry and his fans' reverence for him.
3. 'The People Vs George Lucas'
Then on the other side of the spectrum you have Star Wars fans, many of whom have a very contentious relationship with creator George Lucas.
4. 'Plastic Galaxy'
Part of the reason why Star Wars became so huge is because of the tie-in toys, which were produced on a scale unlike anything the world had ever seen.
Not as well known as Star Trek or Star Wars fandoms, Ghostbusters fans might be the most obsessed out there.
6. 'Doc Of The Dead'
Curious about our culture's obsession with zombies? This should help explain it.
7. 'Adjust Your Tracking'
VHS may be an obsolete technology — but don't tell that to these collectors.
8. 'Atari: Game Over'
Atari was the first home video game console, but it didn't last long. So what really happened to it?
9. 'Turtle Power'
If you were around in the early '90s and remember "Turtlemania," then this will be of particular interest to you.
10. 'The King of Kong'
It's the classic tale of two men battling to be the greatest Donkey Kong player in the world.
11. 'Best Worst Movie Ever Made'
Troll II is often cited as the worst movie ever made, but the story and fandom behind the film are far more bizarre than you could imagine.
12. 'Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead'
The comedy scene of late Twentieth Century America was largely shaped by the National Lampoon, and this doc chronicles its fast rise and tragic downfall.
13. The Wolfpack
This one is a little different, yet highly-acclaimed, as it looks at a group of extremely isolated brothers in New York who use movies to understand the world.