Couch Potato

I Like to Watch (Instantly): Jazz on a Summer's Day, The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill

Notable documentary titles from the Netflix Watch Instantly world

Jazz on a Summer’s Day
Jazz on a Summer’s Day

Jazz on a Summer's Day (1960)

Directed by Bert Stern

Cast: Chuck Berry, Big Maybelle, Mahalia Jackson, Louis Armstrong, Thelonious Monk, Sonny Stitt

New York photographer Bert Stern's first and only documentary is sort of the granddaddy of modern musical documentaries. Shot in 1958, the film takes us to the legendary Newport Jazz Festival where performers like Thelonius Monk, Louis Armstrong, Mahalia Jackson, George Shearing and more command the stage. A beautiful film and an amazing time capsule.

The WIld Parrots of Telegraph Hill
The WIld Parrots of Telegraph Hill

The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill (2005)

Directed by Judy Irving

Cast: Mark Bittner

This intimate documentary is as much a character study as it is a nature film. The titular subjects are a flock of escaped pet parrots who have taken up residence in urban San Francisco. The real subject, however, is sensitive, semi-homeless "dharma bum" Mark Bittner, who has made it his life's mission to care for and to study these unusual birds. It's amazing to watch the personalities that emerge from these animals—avian and otherwise. The birds are, by turns, comical, sad, romantic, grumpy, joyous and more. The same can be said of Bittner. An emotional, funny and terribly warm film.