Documentaries You’ll Want to Miss in 2021

“Misshelved: Nightmare at the Library.” Follow the humble public library book through many hands to an ignominious end in oblivion.

“In Knots: Teaching My Four-Year-Old about Shoes.” This touching piece about frustration, despair, and ultimately primal anger will speak to any parent. A simple bow becomes a problem of Gordian proportions, and (spoiler alert!) may lead to Crocks. By the same writer who brought us “Stick Shift: A 16-Year-Old and His Dad.”

“DIY: Pipe Dreams.” They thought a trip to Home Depot would get them through the infamous plumbing disaster of Thanksgiving 2018! Truly a portrait of human optimism in the face of sheer ignorance, this angst-driven film will stir remembrance.

“FTM: Rural Raceways of Doom.” Texan and other farm-to-market roads are exposed mercilessly for what they are: dark drag strips of death for bored rural youth. Buckle up. It’s going to be a bumpy night.

“Doom to Dust: A Household Weapon.” Eureka! A look at the vacuum cleaner in history from early beginnings (comprehensively including pine branches to sweep reindeer scat on Finnish tundra) to the Roomba. The use of “Hoover” as a verb involves a tale that will suck the viewer right in. Along the way a sexist plot unfolds subtly that will have one nodding in agreement.

“Pressing Needs: One Board’s Story.” The same team who brought us “Doom to Dust,” present another searing look at domesticity. The ironing board’s uses are surprisingly varied. Subplots touch lightly on starch and steam. The mangle just begs for similar treatment.

“Jackpot: The Floor Show Of Las Vegas.” Never once raising the camera from the by turns disgusting, grotesque, sparkling floors of Las Vegas venues, this film will change the way you walk. From garish phantasmagoric low pile carpeting to drink-drenched lounge linoleum, here is a lesson in looking down.

“In Sheeps’ Clothing: Couture of the Infamous.” The sartorial choices of the notorious are explored. Did Jack the Ripper wear a silk-lined cape? Was Al Capone a dandy? What sort of cuffs did Charles Manson favor? Forensic fashion is a burgeoning field.

“Lead with Lead: The Pencil’s Tale.” Capped with an expose of the rocky road which lead to the attached eraser, this film will rock your thinking about the humble instrument. Who numbered them? How did #2 get to be number one? Is there a #13? Is pencil chewing a sign of deep neurosis? Will the paint ingested lead to lead poisoning? Why can’t they create a pencil with an eraser that outlasts the lead? So many answers are sketched in. The younger audience will enjoy seeing in action a tool now lost to mankind.

“Snorefest: Documentarians Discuss the Art of the Documentary.” Painfully in-depth coverage of the veritable explosion of the documentary in the 21st century. No detail is too small for the 23-member panel of documentarians to dissect, discuss, or dismiss, from melodramatic voice overs and the prolix use of antique photos, to the video clips repeated mind-numbingly to fill time. Over fourteen hours long, this film’s two intermissions give ample time for reflection and resuscitation.



Eva Meckna is, as her husband always said, an English major gone horribly wrong.  Her work has appeared on Funny-ish and Little Old Lady Comedy.

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Shawn Berman runs The Daily Drunk. You can follow him on Twitter @Sbb_writer.

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