I enjoyed watching the PBS program American Oz about L. Frank Baum, the man who wrote The Wizard of Oz. There seems to be a common link between many successful people insomuch as they struggle with a lot of adversity in the beginning but they keep getting back up and working at it. I liked how Baum never lost that child-like adventure and wonderment and never gave up on his dream. This was a good biography to watch with a happy ending, much like Dorothy.
Available for checkout on DVD.
Another fine Ken Burns documentary provides a fascinating look at Mark Twain, aka Samuel Clemens I thought it was amusing how he got his name from the men aboard those Mississippi river boats who would stick rods into the water marking the depth and yelling "mark twain" so the boat would not get stuck in the shallow. Unfortunately, his life had so many more turns for the worse. I never knew.
His Adventures of Huck Finn will stand forever as one of the true great stories in American literature. Like all of Ken Burns' documentaries, it's loaded with wonderful pictures and stories from historians and literary people, and I recommend Mark Twain (2001).
Watch Mark Twain on Hoopla today.
I thought the PBS documentary, The Roosevelts: An Intimate History (2014, rated TV-14), was a fascinating look at this family and the personal struggles each had and how they triumphed despite great adversity.
I never knew how influential Theodore Roosevelt was regarding the national parks or how popular he was. It made me wonder how different world events and outcomes might have been had he had a third or fourth term like FDR? Would World War I have gone any differently and if so, how would the Treaty of Versailles have gone, or the subsequent rise of Hitler and the Nazi party? Look what happened after that.
National Geographic made this documentary about the Appalachian Trail. This hiking trail is over 2,000 miles long, running from Georgia to Maine (cutting through 14 states). There are many day hikers that do portions of the trail, but also thru-hikers that can take up to 6 months to complete the entire trail. 1 in 4 succeed with over 2,000 hikers trying each year to complete the trail.
It is known as the "people's trail" because it was created by Americans and is completely cared for by an army of volunteers. It is truly an American experience, and the journey changes lives. This is the ultimate challenge for hikers who have an adventurous side. Watch Appalachian Trail (2009) on Hoopla today.
The Ken Burns production, The Civil War, is without a doubt the strongest of all his PBS documentaries (at least for me)--and he has had numerous outstanding efforts.The photography of the utter poverty and horrible treatment of slaves combined with battlefields filled with soldiers' bodies was unbelievable.The historian interviews were as insightful as any I ever listened to in any documentary ever. I could easily get carried away writing about the subject matter here, but great documentaries will do that, and Ken Burns and PBS are the best at it. I can only hope we as a human race can watch this and come away a different people.
I highly recommend watching the documentary, The Last Tsarinas: Splendor & Misery (2018). It traces the journey for the great, great, great-granddaughter, Maria von Preussen of Alexandra and Nicholas I. She is directly related to Kaiser Wilhelm II and Princess Charlotte. Maria follows in the footsteps of Princess Charlotte in 1817, who leaves Prussia to be wed to the Grand Duke in St. Petersburg, Russia. Princess Charlotte has her name changed to Alexandra and becomes the Tsarina with Nicholas I. They have a very happy and long marriage. This story explains why many Tsarinas were of German ancestry and the many changes that take place in Russia to end the Russian monarchy.
Watch The Last Tsarinas: Splendor & Misery on Hoopla today.
Watch this 90-minute documentary about the story of Nikola Tesla and his achievements from the early 1900s. He was overshadowed by many famous inventors in his day and was never given the recognition he deserved—to this day. He was considered the inventor that kick started the Industrial Revolution.
In Teslafy Me (2019), I learned his patents and ideas are still being used today and remain unchanged. He believed in renewable energy and that energy should be provided to the world for free. His technologies were ahead of their time. He believed in free wireless power transmission and had ideas for cell phones and internet. He was definitely a genius and we are only finding out about him today.
What an amazing journey to see how genius Lin-Manuel Miranda created the Broadway hit Hamilton. He was inspired to write an updated, contemporary, hip-hop musical that reignited New York City's Times Square. After writing the story and music, Miranda starred as the title character (and won a lot of Tony Awards).
After reading a biography on an obscure founding father, Miranda was inspired to write this musical. Side note: Alexander Hamilton (2008)by Ron Chernow is available in Overdrive as an ebook, abridged audio (11 hours), and unabridged audio (35 hours).
Miranda brought Hamilton to life by showing his humanity and flaws. He shined light on a historical character that is self-made and rises to unexpected heights. Another groundbreaking effort was Miranda's movement to diversify roles in his musical to further diversity in musical theater.
I highly recommend this documentary to see the inspiration behind the creator of the hit musical Hamilton.Watch Hamilton: One Shot to Broadway (2017, rated TV-PG) on Hoopla today. Then, listen to the Hamilton soundtrack on Hoopla too!
And exciting news: the Broadway production will be available on Disney+ starting July 3. Reserve one of our Family Rokus today for your chance to watch the production.
If you are a history buff, you will enjoy this Ken Burns production. The War (TV-14) is a seven-part documentary miniseries about World War II. This excellent PBS series originally aired in 2007. It was nominated for 12 awards, with eight wins, including three Primetime Emmy awards in 2008. The story is told through the unique perspective of four towns in the United States, and how the war forever impacts the lives of the people living there. You will follow the journey of the people who served in the military, and the people at home awaiting their return.
Watch The War on Hoopla today.
Hatidze lives with her mother outside of Skopje, Macedonia, the only residents for miles. She makes her living selling her honey in the city and practicing sustainable beekeeping according to old traditions. Hatidze's life is forever changed when a Turkish family nearby decides to take up beekeeping, without any regard of her teachings. With beautiful scenery, Honeyland (2019) is a documentary about how a simpler way of life still exists in today's society, even in the face of modern pressures.
Honeyland has been nominated for both Best Documentary Feature and Best International Feature Film of the Year for this year's Oscars.
In Turkish with English subtitles.
This documentary tells the story of the first all-female crew to participate in the grueling Whitbread round-the-world yacht race in 1989. Englishwoman Tracy Edwards skippers Maiden over nine months and 33,000 miles. With tons of footage from the time, current recollections from most of the team's members, and interviews with the male-dominated media and other yachtsmen, Maiden (2018, PG) is an exciting view into the women's incredible journey.
The stylistic change also especially makes far more sense and has far more meaning after watching the Netflix documentary Gaga: Five Foot Two. Experience a year in the life of not Lady Gaga, but Stefani Germonatta. It follows the year in which she was releasing Joanne up until her performance at the 2017 Super Bowl halftime show. You will live, love, laugh, and cry with her up until the very end. Don't have a Netflix subscription? Watch for free using our roku.
Experts in their fields share research on bioenergetics, quantum physics, reconnective healing, energy fields, the placebo effect, and other cutting edge scientific developments. The term miraculous is used loosely, but the spiritual aspects are never explored. Those interested in holistic health and alternative methods of healing owe it to themselves to watch this 83 minute documentary. Find additional resources on The Living Matrix website.