Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Discuss: Favorite Music Documentaries


Karen: While vacationing in the Bay Area last weekend, I picked up a used copy of Crossfire Hurricane on blu ray for cheap. I really enjoy this comprehensive documentary on the Rolling Stones. What documentaries about musicians (not just rockers) do you think are some of the best made, or you just find highly entertaining?

23 comments:

Edo Bosnar said...

This is Spinal Tap! :P
(Yeah, I'm joking, but you knew some smart-a** was going to mention it, so I thought I'd get it out of the way right off the bat.)

More seriously, an outstanding music documentary I saw on TV a few months ago is "Mr. Mojo Risin': The Story of LA Woman." It's about the recording of the Doors' last album, with extensive commentary by the three surviving (at the time) members, plus the studio engineer and others. It's a fantastic look into their creative process - a must see if you like the Doors. To my delight, I've found that the whole thing is posted on YouTube, as is "When You're Strange," another documentary about the Doors which is on top of my to-watch list.

Colin Jones said...

I'm not really that much into the Beatles but I did enjoy the documentary from 1995 - I can't remember the name of it but it was in several parts and it was quite big at the time.

david_b said...

Yes, the Anthology was a very logical (and most-welcome) step for Beatle fans. It was equally helpful to the 'Threetles' especially George who really was grateful to FINALLY feel like he's closing that chapter of his life, after years of nauseating interviews with the same questions all the time. I believe it started off as 'Long and Winding Road' by Derek Taylor shortly after they broke up in 1970, then finally morphed into Anthology (George did't want one of Paul's songs as the title..).

Anyone here have the Anthology-Directors Cut..? I heard it has so much more details that had to be left out of the official release due to names mentioned, legal wranglings, etc.. I'm still hunting for it. The best way I've found to watch Anthology is not straight-through, unless you're a fanatic, but just dropping in via menu to different spots.

I'd really like a good Stones documentary. I may have to pick up 'Crossfire', but there's been SOOOOO many in the past (12x5, Gimme Shelter, Shine a Light..), it's hard to pick, it's almost like you have to view a couple to get a good handle on various stages of their 50yr career. I heard the 'Exile' one was so-so, too many contemporary interviews with today's stars, skimpin' on actual archival Stones footage or interviews.

And yes, I'd go with Spinal Tap as well.

david_b said...

As an added note, I did like the Disney 'Hey Hey We're the Monkees', especially when you have Peter and Mike pontificating on their influence and just why they're still so well-thought of..

Mike always ignored/never really understood the band's appeal for decades, but he's come to appreciate it more lately after Davey's death.

I'd like a good Ramones documentary.., seeing the last original member just passed on.

Anonymous said...

Great comments so far, all! I'll have to be looking into some of your suggestions. I'll throw in the Who's "The Kids Are Alright". I haven't seen it in a long time but loved it back in the day.

And of course...Spinal Tap!

Tom

J.A. Morris said...

Since david_b mentioned them, 'End Of The Century' is a good Ramones documentary.

I recently saw an excellent documentary about Bikini Kill/Le Tigre vocalist Kathleen Hanna called 'The Punk Singer'. Recommended for fans of those bands.

The recent Hendrix doc 'Hear My Train Comin' is also very good, contains footage I'd never seen before.

david_b said...

Cool J.A., I knew there was a good Ramones doc, just haven't shopped for one lately on Amazon.

Garett said...

There's a 2011 doc about punk rock dads called The Other F Word
that's very good. How do they relate to their single bandmates on the road when they've now got a wife and kids to look after? How do they become the authority father figure when punk is all about overthrowing authority? That link is to the full film.

david_b said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
david_b said...

Any Maysles Brothers fans in the group..?

Their 'Beatles First Visit' and Stones 'Gimme Shelter' seems to bookend the '60s societal scene through music quite well. Amazing.

And to think, a very young George Lucas was indeed one of their cameramen at Altamont; apparently he didn't contribute much footage since his camera kept malfunctioning throughout the horrid event.

Garett said...

Searching for Sugar Man is a great 2012 doc about the singer Rodriguez. He was supposed to be the next big thing in the early '70s, a great songwriter like Bob Dylan, but then disappeared.

Dr. Oyola said...

20 Feet from Stardom is the best I've seen lately. . . Well that and A Band Called Death - both of which made me actually cry (for different reasons).

The Beatles doc series from ABC in the 90s was pretty fantastic, too.

Tony said...

I don't know if it was an actual documentary, but "The Last Waltz" about The Band is stellar. A more recent one which is also excellent is "Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage".

Anonymous said...

This Is Spinal Tap seems to be getting the votes it deserves. Just because it's not real doesn't mean it's not real, man.
And IIRC, the band Slade provided much of the real life stories that went into the making of the "mockumentary".

Is 20 FEET FROM STARDOM the one about the back up singers? I think I've heard about it but have yet to see it? Is it on Netflix?

I have some "alone" time coming up at the end of the month, I think I'm going to have to pencil in THE OTHER F WORD!

30 YEARS OF MAXIMUM R&B about The Who is one I've always enjoyed. I have a copy on VHS that I really REALLY need to make a digital copy.

Who? Yes! No, what's the band's name? The Who! The Who? Yes! The band is named The Yes!?! No, The Who? Who? The Band!!! It gets me every time!!!

The Prowler (it depends of what the meaning of "actual" is).

Garett said...

Another interesting one was Anvil! The Story of Anvil about the very influential but commercially unsuccessful metal band Anvil. It's been a few years since I watched this one, but it gets 8.0 on IMDb and 98% on Rotten Tomatoes. That link is the whole movie again.

Edo Bosnar said...

Man, why have I never heard of Death before? A funk band that went proto-punk/hard rock - that's all kind of awesome. Needless to say, I *really* want to see that documentary

Edo Bosnar said...

And Garett, man, you're killing me with these links; my list of movies, documentaries and other stuff to watch is getting about as long as my reading list.
The Sugar Man movie in particular looks really interesting - I recall reading a brief news piece about that a while back, probably when the documentary was released.

Dr. Oyola said...

20 Feet From Stardom was on Netflix streaming last I checked.

Garett said...

Searching for Sugar Man is really top notch, Edo, for subject and filmmaking.

Karen said...

Lots of good suggestions. I saw "End of the Century" at the theater when it came out and it was a gem. Highly recommended.

I've been meaning to catch "20 Feet from Stardom" and since we just got Netflix coming directly through the TV, I'll make it a point to check it out. I read that the incredible Merry Clayton (she sang the unforgettable female vocals on the Stones' Gimme Shelter, among other things) is featured in it.

KevinFermoyle said...

One I haven't seen mentioned - Standing In The Shadow Of Motown - the documentary about the musicians who played on virtually every Motown hit of the Sixties and early Seventies. Highly recommended.

Karen said...

My memory is bad - I watched "Crossfire Hurricane" yesterday and while it is good, I realized that I was thinking of another Stones documentary I had seen recently that was more detailed. Now to figure out which one that was!

Ace Hamilton said...

Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage

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