5 Netflix Docus & Movies to Get Your Creative Juices Flowing

The famous designer for Esquire Magazine George Lois once commented, “Creativity can solve almost any problem.” But what to do if the problem is a lack of creativity itself? Even the greatest of minds get stuck in creative ruts. It is, therefore, equal parts surprising and humorous to discover that creative sparks can come from watching shows on Netflix—a platform that’s almost universally synonymous with procrastination.

So get your popcorn ready because in this blog we’re going to list 5 documentaries and movies on US Netflix that are sure to get your creative juices flowing!

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1. The Pixar Story

Genre: Documentary

Runtime: 1h 28m

Year of release: 2007

A lesser-known yet none the less impressive documentary, The Pixar Story beautifully captures the lives and struggles of three people: John Lasseter, Steve Jobs (yes, the Steve Jobs), and Ed Catmull. Set during the mid-1980s, this show highlights the determination as well as the constant creative struggle of three idealists whose work would go on to set the benchmark in animation technology.

Not only would the three define what quality entertainment meant but also lay the groundwork from which young artists would later take inspiration. The Pixar Story also features previously unseen footage and interviews from big names including Tim Allen and Tom Hanks. Overall, it’s a great starting point to gain some much-needed motivation!

2. They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead

Genre: Documentary

Runtime: 1h 38m

Year of release: 2018

Ever heard of Orson Welles? He’s the guy responsible for creating Citizen Kane, a landmark film in the history of cinema. Needless to say, following the success of Citizen Kane, Welles was under immense pressure and struggled to maintain his reputation. During the final stages of his career, Welles tried to live up to the expectations by creating a film titled “The Other Side of the Wind”.

Unfortunately, Orson Welles passed away before he could complete the film he hoped would redeem his career. The incomplete work was put in a vault for nearly 40 years before it saw the light of day in 2018. They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead successfully manages to capture the creative genius of Orson Welles as he attempted to create a film that would further cement his legacy as one of the greatest filmmakers Hollywood had ever seen. 

3. Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things

Genre: Documentary

Runtime: 1h 19m

Year of release: 2015

Popular Youtuber-cum-filmmaker Matt D’Avella’s documentary on minimalism is a breath of fresh air amidst the unrelenting foray of commercialistic-driven shows and movies the entertainment market has to offer. The documentary does a good job of portraying minimalism as a natural reaction to the effects of media overload and modern consumerism and how the philosophy makes way for movements like simplified living and decluttering.

The 1-hour 18-minute documentary places stress on the fact that minimalism shouldn’t only be limited to the area of graphic design but that a deeper understanding of current trends enhances and opens doorways to creative thought. Sometimes, kick-starting the creative process necessitates a return to the basics or as Mr. D’Avella likes to put it, a return to “the important things”. 

4. Print the Legend

Genre: Documentary; Drama

Runtime: 1h 40m

Year of release: 2014

3D printers have been around longer than you would imagine. We’ve been making use of this nifty piece of technology to create everything from teeth bracers and engine parts to artificial organs. As our ability to print virtually anything becomes more refined, 3D printing is set to become the catalyst for the next technological revolution. The question on everyone’s mind is, who’s going to come out on top?

Directors Clay Tweel and Luis Lopez take viewers behind the scenes of four major players in the 3D printing industry: Makerbot, Formlabs, Stratasys, and 3D systems, each competing for the position of market leader. 

Tech enthusiasts yearn to catch raw snapshots of the early days and rise of companies like Apple and Amazon. Print the Legend offers a sneak peek into the companies and people that might well be responsible for the next big thing. 

5. Steve Jobs

Genre: Drama

Runtime: 2h 2m

Year of release: 2015

Let’s face it; it wouldn’t be fair to write a blog telling readers how to get the creative juices flowing without mentioning Steve Jobs (twice!). The big man deserves it, right?

Danny Boyle and Aaron Sorkin are the film-maker and Scripter behind this incredibly well-done piece of visual literature. It covers the chaotic rise and story behind one of the most universally recognized men. To the uninformed, Steve Jobs’ career at Apple saw him as a narcissistic, god-complex individual that often drove his colleagues to the point of mental collapse. While not being a coder or designer himself, Steve Jobs played a pivotal role in elevating Apple to the global tech giant that it is today, but at what cost?

This film is a must-watch for viewers that wish to understand the personal cost of ambition, sacrifice, and what it takes to become a symbol of innovation in the twenty-first century. 

Agree with our list? Think we missed a couple of must-see titles? Let us know in the comments below!

Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels


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