These are strange times that we are living in right now. Global social distancing has made the notion of staying home and being glued to our screens feel like a necessary distraction rather than a leisurely one. Furthermore, no one would have expected that Netflix’s docuseries Tiger King, about a questionable zoo owner named Joe Exotic, would be the phenomenon that united us all in our thirst for entertainment.
For those who could not help but binge watch the series, and subsequently found time to pull their jaws off the floor afterward, you might find yourself going through a little bit of withdrawal. After all, there are only so many memes one can indulge in. I will not even get into the various rabbit holes one can fall down reading conspiracy theories about Carole Baskin’s missing husband, articles on Doc Antle’s time with Britney Spears at the MTV Video Music Awards, and pieces on Shaquille O’Neal visit to Joe Exotic’s zoo.
Fortunately, there are a slew of intriguing documentaries that you can stream from the comfort of your home that will fill the void Tiger King has left. Here are just a few films that fans of Tiger King should add to their streaming cue:
Just as the term “Tiger King” has been seared into our brains, be prepared to add “Competitive Endurance Tickling” to your lexicon. David Farrier’s Tickled starts off amusing but slowly unfolds into a deeply disturbing examination of power, exploitation and greed. In the film Farrier, a journalist known for covering pop culture oddities, decides to do a story on the “sport” of competitive tickling. What should by all accounts be a harmless fluff piece turns sinister when the mysterious owners of the tickling league use every tool in their arsenal, including personal attacks, to keep Farrier from prying into their world. This leads Farrier on an international journey that will have him uncovering a tale that is truly stranger than fiction.
Where to stream it: Hoopla
Three Identical Strangers (2018)
Outside of its outlandish characters, one of the appealing aspects of Tiger King is that its wild story is built on a labyrinth of deception. Three Identical Strangers may lack the oddball individuals, but it does not make the maze of secrets and lies any less riveting. Tim Wardle’s film highlights triplets separated at birth who miraculously find each other by chance and become media sensations in the process. As the brothers catch up on years of lost time, the question of how the siblings became separated in the first place leads to shocking revelations.
Where to stream it: Crave
Abducted in Plain Sight (2017)
Robert Berchtold, the villain in Skye Brogman’s Abducted in Plain Sight, and Joe Exotic share a couple of similarities. Both men can be viewed as predators of the unsuspecting and they have an uncanny ability to talk people into believing them at face value. In Berchtold’s cases, he not only talked his way into the Broberg’s family good graces, but systematically used their trust to gain access to their 12-year-old daughter. What occurred next was so bizarre and disturbing that Abducted in Plain Sight will have you reflecting on the power of persuasion and the damages that secrets can have on a family.
Where to stream it: Netflix
It is easy to lose sight of the wildlife preservation narrative in Tiger King with all the jaw-dropping insanity that occurs. This is why Kedi is a must watch for cat lovers and animal lovers alike. Ceyada Torun’s documentary provides an intimate portrait of the large number of cats that roam the streets of Istanbul daily. Those of you who are looking for a tale that celebrates felines and their important role in the fabric of humanity, this is the film for you.
Where to stream it: Kanopy
The Imposter (2012)
In an odd way, Joe Exotic is the embodiment of the American Dream. A person can become anything if he or she puts his or her mind to it. One day, you can be breeding tiger cubs and you can be running for governor the next. This idea of transformation is prevalent in Bart Layton’s captivating film The Imposter. The film explores how a 23-year-old Algerian man, Frederic Bourdin, assumed the identity of Nicholas Barclay, a boy who went missing years earlier. As Layton’s stunning documentary unfolds deciphering the truth amidst the complex web of secrets and lies becomes a challenge in and of itself.
Where to stream it: Amazon Prime Video
Sour Grapes (2016)
There are numerous questionable business schemes that occur throughout Tiger King. Those looking for another strange tale about lucrative cons should give Jerry Rothwell and Reuben Atlas’s Sour Grapes a spin. The film examines how Rudy Kurniawan manipulated the wine auction industry through his collection of rare bottles of wine that were not so rare. Just as the tigers in Tiger King become a coveted symbol of status, Sour Grapes exposes how, in the wine industry, as with any industry where collectibles are assigned a monetary value, perception is often more valuable than reality.
Where to stream it: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hoopla
Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened (2019)
One of the many takeaways from Tiger King is that, thanks to YouTube and social media, anyone can become the king or queen of their own castle. Social media plays an important role in Fyre, Chris Smith’s documentary about the infamous Fyre Festival. Much like Tiger King, one walks away feeling for the workers who inadvertently get caught in the middle of Billy McFarland elaborate ruse. Frankly there is so much corruption and deceit linked to McFarland and the festival that even the two documentaries about the event, this one and Hulu’s Fyre Fraud, found themselves wrapped in controversies of their own upon their release.
Where to stream it: Netflix
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