Bill Hader Shares His 6 Favorite Documentaries to Stream Online


When famous people aren’t giving Nonfics their documentary recommendations directly, they’re using them to guest-curate collections over at SundanceNow Doc Club. And we’re happy to share their lists over here, as we did previously with Susan Sarandon’s.

This month, the documentary subscription service has a trio of comedians taking part. Saturday Night Live veterans Seth Meyers, Fred Armisen, and Bill Hader have a new series on IFC called Documentary Now! (premiering August 20th), which parodies classic documentaries such as Grey Gardens (see Hader as Little Edie above) and The Thin Blue Line, and if that wasn’t enough of a tribute to nonfiction cinema, they’re also naming and commenting on their picks for must-see titles, all of which can be streamed online via Doc Club.

I’ve decided to let each of them have their own post here at Nonfics to keep their picks all straight. First up is Hader (also see Armisen’s and Meyers’s), who is already pretty well known for being a great cinephile. In addition to his sketches and impersonations involving Golden Age Hollywood stars during his stint on SNL, he’s also been a regular guest host and programmer for Turner Classic Movies, mainly spotlighting essential old movies for kids of today. Well, the Trainwreck star (who can be seen in the new doc feature Live From New York! and heard narrating Beaver Trilogy Part IV) also loves classic nonfiction films. Here’s his comment regarding his participation in this latest Doc Club event:

“In my spare time, I like to have imaginary conversations with the legendary director Werner Herzog. Recently, Werner shared this amazing insight into the nature of documentary filmmaking:

All cinema, fictional films and so-called documentaries, speaks the language of resignation and thus emerges from the same fetid soil of our strenuous dreams. I fully embrace and reject this facile definition… And let me just say these Tuesday night laser tag dates have been the great joy of my life as of late. You are a cool friend, Bill.

Thanks, Werner.”

Now here are his six picks (one of which isn’t technically a documentary) with comments:

Into the Abyss (Werner Herzog, 2011)

“The squirrel speech always gets me.”

Billy Wilder Speaks (Volker Schlöndorff, 2006)

“Candid and insightful interviews with one of the greats.”

Crazy Love (Dan Klores, 2007)

“Looking for a funny and charming romance that will leave you feeling light as air? Then this is definitely not the movie for you.”

David Holzman’s Diary (Jim McBride, 1975)

“This random, particular, accidental state… it’s so meaningful.’ A hilarious take on Cinema Verite from 1968 that’s just as relevant today.”

Gates of Heaven (Errol Morris, 2005)

“A film that sparked Errol Morris’s brilliant career and caused a man to eat a shoe onstage.”

The Thin Blue Line (Errol Morris, 1988)

“The true crime classic and one of my first loves of documentary. (And, no I’m not gonna make a milkshake joke here).”

(Editor in Chief)

Christopher Campbell is the founding editor of Nonfics.