With 2013 now more than a week old, and wishes of "Happy New Year!" starting to sound awkward, resolutions made Jan. 1 start to crumble — especially if they involve dieting or eating more healthfully, as the most common New Year's resolutions do. Never fear: Indiewire's latest curation of Hulu's Documentaries page aims to provide motivation for you to stick to your plans. Watch these docs now — for free! — instead of picking up that greasy hamburger or chocolate bar.
Of course, the juxtaposition of hamburgers and documentary immediately brings to mind "Super Size Me," Morgan Spurlock's influential Sundance hit. Watch this modern classic to be reminded of what happened when the director ate nothing but McDonald's for an entire month. The popularity of the film helped lead to the fast food chain's revision of its menu options.
Speaking of fast food, Emiko Omori's "Ripe For Change" is focused on California, the birthplace of modern fast food. The doc examines the politics of food, as agriculture, technology and genetic engineering confront issues of social justice, health and sustainability. Continue exploring California and the origins of the push toward local organic food in Chris Taylor's "Food Fight."
Beyond the problem of packing on extra pounds because of unhealthy eating, Lee Fulkerson's "Forks Over Knives" posits more far-reaching consequences of one's diet. Rejecting all animal-based and processed foods, the director adopts a plant-based, whole-food diet to see if this will result in not only weight loss, but also a radical reversal, or control, of health problems. For more on the potential benefits of a plant-based diet, Julia Grayer and Gage Johnston's "Chow Down" and Joe Cross and Kurt Engfehr's "Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead" explore similar shifts.
Still, cutting back on treats is difficult. While the occasional indulgence might not be the end of the world, perhaps in the early weeks of your resolution it's best to resist. Instead, when you're tempted, take a virtual peek into the candy store with Costa Botes' cautionary tale of the origins of the Jelly Belly, "Candyman: The David Klein Story."
EDITOR'S NOTE: "Indiewire @ Hulu Docs" is a regular column spotlighting the IW-curated selections on Hulu's Documentaries page, a unique collaboration between the two sites. Be sure to check out the great non-fiction projects available to watch free of charge. Disclosure: Some of the selections are titles provided to Hulu by SnagFilms, the parent company of Indiewire.
ABOUT THE WRITER: Basil Tsiokos is a Programming Associate, Documentary Features for Sundance, Shorts & Panel Programmer for DOC NYC, and a consultant to documentary filmmakers and festivals. Follow him on Twitter (@1basil1) and visit his blog (what (not) to doc).