4 "must watch" documentaries for this fall

The season of insomnia is upon us - daylight savings time + holiday shopping stress + bills are what gets me amped up. That and the fact that my mom has no concept of time when it comes to late night/early morning calls to tell me she is out of make-up.

What to do to fill those wee morning hours before the rest of the house greets the day? Netflix documentary it up, people!

winter on fire1. If you are at all interested in current events, or humanity in general, Winter on Fire should be #1 on your watch list. This 2015 documentary chronicles the 2013-2014 unrest in Ukraine (continuing today) that eventually led to the resignation of former Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovich. In viewing the doc, audience members get an on-the-ground look at life in Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square), through various interviews with:

protesters, activists, journalists, medical workers, artists and clergy representing multiple generations, social classes, nationalities and faiths, including a 12-year-old volunteer. “Winter on Fire” documents the fight of Ukrainian protesters who stood their ground in the face of bloodshed, despair and harsh conditions. [Variety]

It's a phenomenal documentary that will punch you in the gut while reinforcing the power of the human spirit.

2. A few weeks ago I was at a play cafe here in Chicago enjoying ignoring my kid while I eavesdropped on momversations. On this particular day, two moms were discussing their choice in not vaccinating their children while said kids were running around a space filled with babies too young to be vaccinated. I'm not going to get into this discussion here - but I am going to share a NOVA documentary on the vaccine debate that is worth watching. "NOVA: Calling the Shots" lays out the history of vaccinations in the U.S. and addresses the current controversy surrounding vaccine schedules and the like.

frontline3. Frontline: College, Inc. (2010) is still valid five years later. Ever wonder how those for-profit colleges work? PBS' Frontline program did an expert job investigating everything from the promises made by this $400 billion PLUS industry to the mountains of debt accrued by students. It's eye-opening to say the least.

4. HBO's Emmy-winning "The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst" is straight up bananas.This six-part documentary chronicles the utterly bizarre case of BAJILLIONAIRE real estate heir Robert Durt (aka a serial burper and likely wife killer). I don't want to ruin the story - but I can assure you that it's as strange as it sounds.

As long as I keep not sleeping, I'll keep watching. Stay posted!

No one ever accused me of being rational. Follow Swirleytime on twitter @swirleytime and Facebook for interesting stories, links and a lot of self-deprecating humor.

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    Annie Swingen

    Chicago-based hyperbole enthusiast. Mom to a kid and sometimes my mom. Overboard (1987) obsessed weirdo. I like the funnies in life.

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