• The Economic Collapse

    <strong><a href=”http://www.moviefone.com/movie/inside-job/10037867/main”>”Inside Job”</a> (2010)</strong> Charles Ferguson’s documentary on what — and who — caused the 2008 Wall Street disaster isn’t afraid to point fingers and name names. Anyone who feels that heads should have rolled, or at least that stronger protections should have been put in place to keep the malefactors from doing the same thing all over again, will want to see this.

  • The Economic Collapse

    <strong><a href=”http://www.moviefone.com/movie/capitalism-a-love-story/35590/main”>”Capitalism: A Love Story” </a>(2009)</strong> Judging by how large Michael Moore lives, accusations that he’s a communist or socialist have never made sense; he’s clearly a frustrated capitalist, as he makes clear in this movie, an indictment of the system from someone who grew up in a time when it created a prosperous middle class and seemed to work for everybody.

  • The Economic Collapse

    <strong><a href=”http://www.moviefone.com/movie/the-corporation/17876/main”>”The Corporation” </a>(2003)</strong> When Mitt Romney says corporations are people too, this is what he’s talking about. Jennifer Abbott and Mark Achbar offer a look at how corporations became such powerful legal entities, seemingly at the expense of, you know, actual people.

  • The Economic Collapse

    <strong><a href=”http://www.moviefone.com/movie/casino-jack-and-the-united-states-of/10025113/main”>”Casino Jack and the United States of Money” </a>(2010)</strong> Alex Gibney’s documentary about disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff is also about corporations and how they buy political influence in Washington, a process made even easier by the 2010 “Citizens United” Supreme Court decision removing all restrictions on spending as political speech. Gibney’s film suggests that regular folks won’t have a voice in D.C. as long as the current lobbying system remains in place.

  • The Economic Collapse

    <strong><a href=”http://www.moviefone.com/movie/iousa/32540/main”>”I.O.U.S.A.” </a>(2008)</strong> Made by Patrick Creadon for those who think the ever-ballooning national debt is the biggest problem the economy faces. You may not agree with the film’s suggested solution (slashing and privatizing entitlements), but the movie certainly offers a sobering look at how much we’re spending.

  • The War On Terror

    <strong><a href=”http://www.moviefone.com/movie/countdown-to-zero/10024226/main”>”Countdown to Zero”</a> (2010)</strong> The candidates aren’t really addressing the issue of nuclear disarmament — why not? After all, there’s a frightening number of loose nukes out there, especially in the former Soviet Union, and if any terrorist gets their hand on one… Lucy Walker’s documentary reveals what’s been done on this score, and what remains to be done.

  • The War On Terror

    <strong><a href=”http://www.moviefone.com/movie/2016-obamas-america/10087055/main”>”2016: Obama’s America”</a> (2012)</strong> Dinesh D’Souza’s controversial documentary posits the notion that Barack Obama isn’t a born Kenyan, just the son of one, and therefore unduly influenced by the anti-First World ideology of a man he met just once as a child. There’s a lot of spin here, but this is still the second highest-grossing political documentary of all time. It’s not a movie that’s likely to change anyone’s mind, but if you’re pro-Obama, it may help you grasp some of what’s behind the anti-Obama animus.

  • The War On Terror

    <strong><a href=”http://www.moviefone.com/movie/restrepo/10024275/main”>”Restrepo” </a>(2010).</strong> Sebastian Junger and the late Tim Hetherington spent a year embedded with a unit in one of the deadliest parts of Afghanistan. Whatever you think of the war, you’ll come away with an appreciation of what American forces are facing there, and how unlikely it is that the troubles there will recede once we leave.

  • The War On Terror

    <strong><a href=”http://www.moviefone.com/movie/the-tillman-story/10026305/main”>”The Tillman Story”</a> (2010)</strong> A darker take on our ongoing engagement in Afghanistan comes from Amir Bar-Lev’s doc about Pat Tillman, the football hero-turned-military hero, whose death from friendly fire in Afghanistan resulted in a military cover-up.

  • The War On Terror

    <strong><a href=”http://www.moviefone.com/movie/taxi-to-the-dark-side/30245/main”>”Taxi to the Dark Side” </a>(2007)</strong> Another grim view of our involvement in Afghanistan in Alex Gibney’s Oscar-winning doc about a case of mistaken identity that resulted in torture and death for a man wrongly accused of terrorism.

  • The War On Terror

    <strong><a href=”http://www.moviefone.com/movie/the-road-to-guantanamo/25654/main”>”The Road to Guantanamo” </a>(2006)</strong> Michael Winterbottom’s part-documentary/part-drama recounts the horrifying ordeal of three tourists sent to Guantanamo as suspected terrorists. No wonder members of both parties are upset with President Barack Obama for not making good on his promise to shut this place down.

  • The War On Terror

    <strong><a href=”http://www.moviefone.com/movie/the-oath/10024274/main”>”The Oath” </a>(2010)</strong> is one of the few movies to try to understand the terrorist mindset from inside. Laura Poitras’ film talks to two one-time members of Al Qaeda and explores the different fates that awaited them at the hands of American forces.

  • The Environment

    <strong><a href=”http://www.moviefone.com/movie/an-inconsistent-truth/55377/main”>”An Inconvenient Truth”</a> (2006)</strong> Davis Guggenheim and Al Gore’s film is still the definitive work on global warming and what can be done to stop it — something that both of this year’s presidential candidates seem unwilling to address.

  • The Environment

    <strong><a href=”http://www.moviefone.com/movie/gasland/10024260/main”>”GasLand”</a> (2010)</strong> Similarly, both candidates seem to be in favor of more natural gas drilling. Josh Fox’s doc looks at the practice and the increasingly hard–to-ignore evidence that it’s ruining drinking water and even causing earthquakes in residential areas.

  • Education

    <strong><a href=”http://www.moviefone.com/movie/waiting-for-superman/10024296/main”>”Waiting for ‘Superman’” </a>(2010) </strong> Davis Guggenheim’s follow-up to “An Inconvenient Truth” wasn’t as well received, perhaps because it didn’t hew to liberal pieties about what’s wrong with our troubled public schools and how to fix them.

  • Education

    <strong><a href=”http://www.moviefone.com/movie/expelled-no-intelligence-allowed/32416/main”>”Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” </a>(2008)</strong> “Ferris Bueller” teacher and op-ed columnist Ben Stein wonders why more schools aren’t teaching creationism or intelligent design as challenges to the theory of evolution. Actually, quite a few are, which you’ll either find reassuring or alarming.

  • Education

    <strong><a href=”http://www.moviefone.com/movie/the-interrupters/10054776/main”>”The Interrupters”</a> (2011)</strong> People on both sides of the aisle see a link between improved education and reduced crime. That’s where filmmaker Steve James comes in. The maker of the classic “Hoop Dreams” (a tale of aspiring basketball players that was also a clear depiction of the failings of our educational system) looks at a program specifically designed to keep kids off the path toward violent crime.

  • Health Care

    <strong><a href=”http://www.moviefone.com/movie/sicko/26778/main”>”Sicko”</a> (2007)</strong> Michael Moore’s controversial doc predates Obamacare, but it did help make it possible by putting health care on the map as a problem to be solved. Really, you can’t watch this movie and still think America has the best, cheapest, most efficient, most comprehensive system of health care coverage in the world. Even if you’re no fan of Obamacare, can it really be worse than the system Moore depicts, where even those who do have insurance are getting screwed?

  • Illegal Immigration

    <strong>”Border” (2007)</strong> There’s some attempt at balance here in Christopher Burgard’s look at the struggles faced by border patrol officers, but mostly it comes down in favor of stricter enforcement of the laws currently on the books.

  • Illegal Immigration

    <strong>”Dying to Get In” (2005)</strong> This one also feints toward balance, though Brett Tolley’s film is ultimately more about the mindset that drives illegal immigrants to spend their fortunes and risk their lives to seek opportunity in America.

  • Abortion

    <strong><a href=”http://www.moviefone.com/movie/12th-and-delaware/10024293/main”>”12th and Delaware” </a>(2010)</strong> Abortion seems like one more issue that is going to divide Americans forever, but directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady really do try to respect both sides.

  • Gay Marriage

    <strong><a href=”http://www.moviefone.com/movie/8-the-mormon-proposition/10024224/main”>”8: The Mormon Proposition”</a> (2010)</strong> With referenda on gay marriage on the ballots in several states this year, it’s a good time to look back at the especially bitter battle over one such initiative four years ago in California. Directors Reed Cowan and Steven Greenstreet take pains to point out how much of the support of the anti-gay marriage Proposition 8 came from the Mormon Church, which did a superb job organizing and fundraising in favor of the measure. The filmmakers see something conspiratorial here, though maybe it’s just effective politicking. There’s also a section on how Mormons who are also gay feel shunned by their church. Since one of the elders of that church may soon be president, this film may offer a suggestion of where the gay rights struggle is headed if Mitt Romney wins the presidency.

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