P&P Movie Recs

Our growing list of favs, available on Netflix, Kanopy Thoughtful Films (access through your public libray card / membership) and a few on Youtube. We would love to watch your favs, so please share some in the comments section at end.


Honeyland | 1 | Documentary | Kanopy

If you can resist, don’t watch the trailer. This is beautiful and it will transport you to another part of the world (which is perfect if you’re on a Level 3 lockdown like we are in Taiwan at the moment – July 8, 2021). Also, resist reading the film’s wiki page until AFTER you watch it.



Three Identical Strangers | 1 | Documentary | Kanopy (also on Netflix I hear)

Unbeleivable story that thankfully was shared in this film. Siblings, love, family, nature verses nurture, beauty and tragedy.



I, Tanya | 1 | Drama, Biography | Kanopy

What the heck? Unless you watched this already you probably, like us, had ZERO idea of the depth of this story, and her life. The media certainly portrayed Tanya an entirely different way back in the day. And are we really surprised by that? It’s well done. Deep respect to Tanya after watching this. WARNING: You will likely rewatch her Olympic ice skating clips and her interview with Ellen after this. And you should.



Summer of Soul | 1 | Documentrary PG-13  | Hulu




Minari | 1 | Drama in Korean  | Netflix

It won a boat load of awards for obvious reasons. Some say the best film of 2020 and I can see why. I read this on wiki after watching it (about the director) … “A semi-autobiographical take on Chung’s upbringing, the plot follows a family of South Korean immigrants who try to make it in the rural United States during the 1980s”.



Tomboy | 1 | Drama in French | Kanopy

A thought-provoking film that will tug at your heart strings in a beautiful way. Extra illuminating for those that never considered or grappled with their own gender. It’s an empathy builder. What is gender anyway and does it matter? Who does it matter to? It’s a beautiful film and the kids are phenomenal actors. The writer and director, Céline Sciamma said “I made it with several layers, so that a transexual person can say ‘that was my childhood’ and so that a heterosexual woman can also say it.”  Also by same drector: ‘Water Lilies’.



Promising Young Woman  | 1 | Crime Drama Thriller | Netflix

Every woman’s shitty reality taken up a notch in a dramatic thriller keep you on the edge of your seat way. Damn, it’s well done. Oh, and Bo Burnham is in it. Highly recommend that all men watch this.



Kim Swims  | 1 | Documentary | Kanopy & Netflix

Gnarly awesome, inspiring and it takes place in San Francisco! Kim, an open water swimer, attempts to be the first woman to swim 30 miles in very cold shark-infested waters near the Golden Gate Bridge. I want to be this woman’s friend!



The Man Behind the Masquerade  | 1 | Documentary | Watch via YouTube

“In 1979, artist Kit Williams turned Britain into a giant treasure map, promising a golden hare, buried in the earth, to the first person who solved the riddle of his book Masquerade. The hysteria that followed the hunt drove Williams underground, where he has continued to create complex and beautiful art, which he refuses to publicly exhibit.” – BBC

Kit Williams is forever linked to my childhod. If you grew up in the 70s, you may have been lucky enough to get this beautifully illustratd book, like I did. For me, this film is a reunion to my favorite child-hood fairy tale, but it’s not make-believe, it’s REAL. I admire many artistis, and he easily takes first place. If you have access to BBC’s iPlayer, go for it. Otherwise, watch on youtube below.

From BBC, “In his first interview in two decades, Kit lifts the lid on life before and after Masquerade. Did the hare deprive us of one of our most gifted painters?” His website: www.kitwilliams.co.uk



1 min | Documentary | Watch on Netflix

Didn’t know what “catfished” meant until a friend, a friend on Tinder, clued us in. He recommended we watch this to fully understand the scope of the term, which was coined from THIS FILM! This is another documentary like to many on our list that has a wild and unexpected story unfold while filming. You will be captivated. This one left the emotions and empathy tangled up.



The Painter and The Thief
1 min | Documentary | Watch on Netflix

A 2020 Norwegian documentary! If you watch this, report back and tell me what you felt/thought when you saw the last scene. Director Benjamin Ree said that he aimed to explore the questions “What do humans do in order to be seen and appreciated” and “What it takes of us to help and see others.” 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟



Eighth Grade
1 | Comedy, Drama | Watch on Netflix

After our Bo Burnham binge (see previous recommendation), we heard he also directed this film and he’s an actor (watch Promising Young Woman). What can’t this man do?! While this isn’t a documentary, it’s a fine darn peek into what being in 8th grade is like for kids and parents. It’s an emapthy builder for both! Sort of happy that we had a phone-free child-hood after watching this. This film isn’t about technology but the emotions that a middle schooler and her parent navigate today.



Bo Burnham, Get Happy
1 | Comedy, Music | Watch on Netflix

If you have not tapped into the Bo Burnham world, get on it! We are hooked. Watch “Get Happy” First, then watch “Inside”. This man is beyond talented. You have never seen stand-up done like this. He’s one of a kind.



Kestrel’s Eye
1 min | Documentary | Watch on Kanopy

If you need a quiet, slow paced, chill film to relax with, this is it. It’s a film about kestrels (European falcons) who live in a church tower in a small town in Sweden. It’s often filmed from their perspective and one can’t help but to appreciate just how much birds are quielty observing us. I couldn’t help but reflect on the golden eagle or eagles who likely swooped at my dad. They saw his every move from the second he started his hike up the cliff side.




This Way of Life
1 min | Documentary, Action, Adventure | Watch on Kanopy

It takes place in New Zealand. Enough said. It’s good and I admire their parenting style.



This is a Robbery
  minutes Mini Series  | Documentary, Crime, History

A favorite watch of 2020 and greatly influenced by the fact that I lived in Boston (1998 to 2006) and worked at the Museum Of Fine Arts which is located next to Isabella Stewart Gardener. I spent a lot of time in this area and these museums (my employee badge got me free admission to all the great museums in the USA). Isabella Stewart Gardener is a VERY unique museum and this TRUE story will keep you on the edge of your seat. If you’re wanting more, there’s a fantastic podcast called Last Seen.



Sing (Based on a true story)
The Phone Call (Oscar-award winner)
The Door (Oscar-nominated)
The Gift
Shorts | Betwen 12-24 minutes each | Available on Kanopy

I had a Kanopy binge night while Pickles was out at a work dinner. WOW! I love a short film and these just blew me away. The Phone Call is sad so don’t watch if you’re feeling fragile. If you have not explored Kanopy, get to it! It’s an amazing collective of films, available for FREE! Log in with your library membership, similar to how Libby works for books (which has been a lifesaver for accessing English books while living abraod). THANK YOU, PUBLIC LIBRARIES & UNIVERSTIES!




1 hour 26 minutes  | Documentary, Crime (Passionfruit watched March 2021)

Bikram yoga was the hot thing, literally, when I lived in Boston (1998 to 2006), so I did my fair share of this, sometimes regretably so. It’s not for everyone and I don’t think it was for me, but EVERYONE was doing it back then. These “official” studios were popping up left and right. This is the backstory on the man himself… Bikram Choudhury and why it’s called “hot yoga” and not “Bikram yoga” now. The storyline is a familair one, straight from the little black books of Harvey Weinstein, Jeffrey Epstein, Rajneesh (watch Wild Wild Country), and the guy from Tickled (see below). Same story. Different asshole.




1 hour 32 minutes  | Documentary, Crime, Mystery (we watched March 2021)

This movie has it all in our book! A quirky subject. A New Zealander as a lead investigator (yes!) A mystery that’s unfolding while being filmed. Captivating to say the very least. P.S. There’s a short follow-up to the film, titled The Tickle King, so don’t miss that!



My Octopus Teacher
1 hour 25 minutes  | Documentary | Trailer

Our favorite film of 2020.



They Shall Not Grow Old
1 hour 39 minutes  | Documentary History WWI War 1914-1918 | Trailer

My dad recommened this so it was on my “watch list”. The art making of the film is incredible and will transport you. Audio clips are from interviews of the British servicemen overlayed on original film footage, from archives. It was then colorised. The interviews of these older men describing the thrill of signing up for war, fibbing about their age so they could go, all to do “a job”. They had nothing better to do and for the first time felt a purpose. It’s a perspective we had not known or understood before watching this.


Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower
1 hour 19 minutes  | Documentary | Trailer

The superpower being China. It’s likely if you live in the Western world you haven’t been exposed to this story. As more authoritarian governments and leaders are “elected”, it’s important to know this story about Hong Kong. China’s president, Xi Jinping, elected in 2013, removed term limits for the presidency making himself leader for life. Since then he has attempted to clamp down on Hong Kong’s freedoms. Hong Kong is desperately trying to hold tight to their democracy and human rights. Taiwan is watching in solidarity because China’s regime is a threat to Taiwan’s democracy as well. WE STAND WITH HONG KONG! POWER TO THE YOUNG GENERATION! POWER TO THE LEADERFULL MOVEMENT OCCURRING TODAY. September 2019

The Great Hack
1 hour 53 minutes  | Documentary | Trailer

A dark reality of our times. If you use Facebook it’s using you. Unless data protection laws are made (which seem unlikely since we have yet to make smart gun laws), this scenario will replay itself and you can kiss fair and ethical elections (a.k.a. democracy) GOODBYE! Misinformation is real. Improve your media diet. Improve your media literacy August 2019

American Factory
1 hour 55 minutes  | Documentary | Trailer

WATCH THIS! Fascinating and empathetic look at American and Chinese cultures coming together and not coming together. Most of the film takes place in Ohio, today. P.S. This movie is a metaphor of our life abroad! August 2019

2 hours 12 minutes  | Comedy, Drama, Thriller | Trailer

Director by Bong Joon-ho who also directed Okja (which is also written up here). This film is all about class. We saw it in our Taiwan theater in Korean with English subtitles. It’s not quite as scary as the trailer suggests (and I don’t do scary). I slept fine afterward. Joon-ho is a brilliant storyteller! August 2019

Green Book
2 hours 10 minutes  | Biography, Comedy, Drama | Trailer

Takes place in early 60s and is based on the true story of Don Shirley’s music tour (as a jazz pianist) in the deep south and his white, Italian driver/bodyguard Frank “Tony Lip” Vallelonga. Illuminating in many ways.

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead
1 hour 20 minutes  | Documentary | Trailer

Inspiring story about the choices we make (and don’t) regarding our health, diet and lifestyle. No fancy cookbooks, fad diets or gym memberships required – just WILL POWER (and supportive humans in your life never hurt).

The Central Park Five
2 hours  | Documentary | Trailer

Highly recommend. Not a light movie, but an important one if you want to form empathy for what African Americans are up against in the American legal system. Recommend watching When They See Us (below) as well. This is about the criminal case based on the assault and rape of Trisha Meili in Central Park, New York City, 1989. Five juveniles’ lives were ruined because of the racial injustice.

When They See Us
4 hours 56 min  | Biography, Drama, History

Watch this along with the The Central Park Five documentary (above). This is the dramatized version, yet accurate story of The Central Park Five.

1 hour 38min  | Documentary, Biography | Trailer

A role model for all humans. Two of her traits that most impressed: (#1) she never raises her voice or yells and (#2) she seeks out commonalities amongst her peers and colleagues. RBG is a true-hearted and fair uniter, not a divider. We could all benefit as a country to see more of this mindset serving the higher courts of our country.

“I ask no favor for my sex; all I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks.”  – RBG


Seattle is Dying
1 hour | Documentary | Watch now on YouTube below.

A stark look at the reality of many of our cities today, specifically Seattle. This one hit close to home. You could call this Portland is Dying and it wouldn’t be too far off. Until we fund, set-up, and implement smart rehabilitation systems and adjust the legal system we will continue to see people who are homeless and addicted to drugs be marginalized.

Wild Wild Country
6 hours 43 min | Documentary | Trailer

Oregon in the 80’s = holy crap. WE. HAD. NO. IDEA.  Must have been preoccupied with frosted lipstick and crimping my hair because I missed ALL this. This is about the controversial cult Rajneeshees, which started in India but then set up in rural Oregon. This is a fascinating series. Highly recommend!

The China Hustle
1 hour 22 minutes | Documentary

An unsettling and eye-opening Wall Street horror story about Chinese companies, the American stock market, and the opportunistic greed behind the biggest heist you’ve never heard of. – IMDb (Internet Movie Database)

1 hour 43 minutes | Crime/Drama/Thriller

The protagonist is a dog groomer who is quite likable and relatable, but there’s a dark side to this sleepy Italian town in the form of a bully. Bullies ruin everything, but just wait because karma is legit. A little dark, but the protagonist mellows it out.

Woman at War
1 hour 41 minutes | Action/Drama/Thriller | Trailer

Loved this film for two reasons. 1.) The protagonist is a strong and clever woman both mentally and physically and 2.) The setting is Iceland, which is gorgeous. Overall it’s a beautifully shot film. I didn’t want the story to end!

Behind the Curve
1 hour 36 minutes | Documentary (or comedy depending on your viewpoint) | Trailer

This is about the people who believe the world is flat. For real. Now nothing will surprise us.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
1 hour 34 minutes | Documentary | Trailer

Fred Rogers is the original uniter. No one will ever replace this his empathetic heart and brain. No one. Inspiring movie showing what real kindness and empathy looks like, walks like and talks like.

1 hour 37 minutes | Comedy | Trailer

I need to preface this review with I LOVE MELISSA MCCARTHY and I will watch ANY movie with ANY cast member from SNL. Screw the low ratings on IBDM, this movie is hysterical and if you are a woman you will likely understand 100% of it. Pickles did not. His loss. Just thinking about this movie cracks me up still.

She Shearers
79 minutes | Documentary | Trailer

Filmed in New Zealand (my favorite place on earth) this is an up-close look at what it takes to be a female sheep shearer which has long been a “man’s craft”. So much (more) respect for this craft now! Released fall 2018.

Wild Japan, 3 part series, watch via these links
Honshu  |  Southern Islands  |  Hokkaido

Beautifully shot, 100% eye candy. This reveals Japan’s unique relationship with nature which I can say first hand is all true. Japan’s culture and nature are inseparable.

The Incredible Jessica Jones
1 hour 25 minutes | Comedy | Trailer

Light and funny starring Jessica Williams, formerly a correspondent on the Daily Show. I (Passionfruit) watched this while home sick, which I found to be perfectly delightful.

2 hours | Documentary | Trailer

You will never look at competitive sports the same way after this film. Absolutley unbelievable! If Edward Snowden is our hero-whistleblower on US surveillance, then Grigory Rodchenkov is our hero-whistleblower on sport doping. Incredible.

Vegas Baby
1 hour 17 mins | Documentary | Trailer

Released July 4th, 2017. This is slice of life that we didn’t know much about – infertility. We are happily child-free, but many people are child-less and not by choice.  The director, Amanda Micheli and her husband are friends of ours from San Francisco and this topic is a personal one for them. Here’s her story or listen to the podcast called Baby Steps. Her other films include La Corona (Oscar Nominated), Double Dare and One Nation Under Dog to name just a few.

2 hours | Action, Adventure, Drama | Trailer

We both cried and I may stop eating meat, again.

Hidden Figures
2 hours| Documentary | Trailer

Everyone needs to see this movie to understand the true and hidden brain power behind NASA. And why wasn’t this wasn’t taught in our high school’s curriculum? Maddening to say the least.

The White Helmets
41 minutes | Documentary | Trailer

The Syrian war is the worst war of our times. It’s difficult to comprehend that there are countries… and people who think killing civilians like this is justifiable. The countries who refuse refugees fleeing this terror is criminal. The footage in this film is unbelievable and horrifying. Watch the film and learn more about these compassionate ‘White Helmets” here.

Under the Sun
1 hr 46 minutes | Documentary | Trailer
Steven Borowiec of the LA Times summarizes it best:

Shot in North Korea, this is a behind-the-scenes look at a poor country that casts itself as an abundant paradise, and a filmmaking coup of sorts. Director Vitaly Mansky spent two years negotiating with the North Korean government over permission to film a documentary in one of the world’s most inaccessible countries. Under the terms of their agreement, North Korea wrote the script and selected the subjects. Mansky and his crew were allowed to film only approved scenes in specific locations, and the North Koreans would delete any footage they deemed unacceptable.

The director says he found life there to be more restricted than his childhood in a post-Stalin era. “In the Soviet Union, people still had private lives. In North Korea, people don’t belong to themselves.”

But Mansky had a plan to get around the censors and capture unscripted footage of life in the reclusive state: He left the digital cameras rolling all day as the team of North Koreans assigned to oversee the shoot manufactured each scene, coaching subjects on what to say and how to say it. At the end of each day, the North Koreans would go through the day’s shoot, but in a risky move, in a country where foreigners who act out sometimes spend years in jail, the crew kept duplicate memory cards of all footage, that they then snuck out of North Korea.

The Future of Cities
18 minutes | Documentary | Watch now on YouTube

Shenzhen: The Silicon Valley of Hardware
1 hr 7 minutes | Documentary | Watch now on YouTube
This helps explain the cultural differences between Asia and America when it comes to the maker movement, tech and innovation. There are some things America could learn because quite frankly we’re lagging compared to the rest of the world.

Valley Uprising
1 hr 26 minutes | Documentary | Trailer
This is the rad tale of the the early days of rock climbing in Yosemite. We had no idea there was a rivalry back in the late 60s, between Robbins (the intellectual purist) verses Harding (Mr. party pants). My dad spent a month at the famous camp 4 around ’68, mostly belaying these nutters. Sadly he missed the the plane carrying 6,000 pounds of weed that went down in Merced Lake. Now that’s a another rad story within the story.

4 Part TV Mini Series (found on Netflix) | Trailer
This is the film version of Michael Pollen’s book, Cooked. We felt a bit guilty indulging in ordered-in pizza during while watching this, as our favorite quote from the series went something like this… “Sure, eat as much as you want, of anything… pies… cake… pizza… etc, BUT one catch, you must make it yourself”. Consider me inspired Mr. Pollen! Inspired to make bread with WILD YEAST (not commercial, store bought packets). I have fond memories of making bread with my mom and sister when I was a kid. I recall kneading it, loving the way the house smelled while it cooked and then slathering butter over the hot from the oven slabs. Looking back, I feel grateful to have had that experience. I’m also fortunate to have a step-mother who bakes her own bread, weekly. “It’s like therapy”, she says. I’d like to add it’s like exercise too (which you’ll understand after you watch the series). She uses her own sour dough starter so her bread is the real-deal delicious and one of the most heavenly things to eat when I’m home.  My sour dough, wild yeast starter is currently on day 3 of doing it’s natural wild thang!

Happy People: A Year in the Taiga
Documentary | 1 hr 30 minutes | Trailer
One of the most beautiful films I’ve seen lately. It was so peaceful and relaxing to watch. Snow, dogs, wood working, craftsmanship, trapping, fishing, canoe building, simple living, contentment and happiness sums it up. My eyes welled up at the summer garden bit. It’s been 10 months since I’ve dug around in my own garden back in Portland. Home grown tomatoes get me a bit verklempt.

The Birth of Saké
Documentary | 1 hr 30 minutes | Trailer
After traveling to Hokkaido, Japan we were curious how Saké is made. Turns out the traditional way is pretty darn labor intensive. Learn how a small, family-owned brewery, Tedorigawa Brewery, in northern Japan makes their Saké and we guarantee you’ll appreciate your next sip a little bit more.

Big Eyes
Documentary, Crime, Drama | 1 hr 46 minutes | Trailer
Based on the true story of Margaret Keane, the artist who paints those sullen doe-eyed little girls, circa 1960. Incredible story and outcome. Margaret is 89 years old today and resides in Napa, CA.

Documentary, Biography | 1 hr 54 minutes | Trailer
This is amazing footage – real time – Edward Snowden. What happened in this film effects everyone. Everyone must watch this.


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5 thoughts on “P&P Movie Recs

  1. I’m impressed and intrigued by your movie recs. We watched a great one last night titled The Dig. It came out in January via Netflix. Let me know if you watch it because I have a story to share about my mom and this movie (and a special helmet…)

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