ASSORTED DECLARATIONS BY STAFF WRITER TOM GRAHAM
What’s up, movie doc?
When I saw the list of upcoming films that were going to be released this summer, I saw a season chock-full of revisions, reunions and repeating trends such as gathering as many movie stars as possible and cram them into CGI stuffed roller coasters usually offered in 3D. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy massive explosions, spaceships and superheroes as much as the next geek, but it got me thinking about the absence of my favorite genre of film: the music documentary. I remember going to the movie theaters and seeing musicians on the big screen, playing their music and revealing their true selves. I enjoyed seeing the artist in time of personal reflection, retrospect, the tension between bandmates and record labels and how they dealt with everyday problems.
Here are some of my favorite music documentaries that I highly recommend viewing as soon as you can:
U2 Rattle and Hum
Bono and the rest of the Irish boys come to America in support of The Joshua Tree. Full of great performances and plenty of frustrations, it showcases an exhausted U2 giving it all. It’s a nice goodbye to the way U2 used to be before the Achtung Baby reinvention.
Bob Dylan Don’t Look Back
The D.A. Pennebaker documentary showcases Dylan on his 1965 tour of England, which would be the last time he would perform purely as a folk singer. It also shows Dylan dealing with massive fame, fanatical fans and inner struggles.
The Band The Last Waltz
The Band’s final concert was filmed by director Martin Scorsese and made into an iconic documentary. The film features concert performances, studio segments and interviews by Scorsese with the members of the group and includes appearances by special guests Eric Clapton, Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Van Morrison and Neil Young.
This documentary is a crazy and unsettling tale about the psychedelic rock bands The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Dandy Warhols, and the friendship-turned-bitter-enemy relationship between the band’s frontmen, Anton Newcombe and Courtney Taylor. There is a lot of sex, drugs, rock and roll and gift-wrapped shotgun shells.
The Devil and Daniel Johnston
The Devil and Daniel Johnston follows the life of Austin, Texas musician Johnston through home movies and recordings while focusing on his constant battles living with bipolar disorder. At one point in the movie, he believes he is Casper the Friendly Ghost and removes the keys from the ignition of an airplane while it’s in flight.
Pink Floyd Live In Pompeii
Live at Pompeii is a 1972 film featuring Pink Floyd performing six songs in the ancient Roman amphitheater in Pompeii, Italy without a live audience. The documentary has great scenes of the young Floyd in the studio, interviews and band members drinking glasses of milk.
John Lennon Imagine
Part biography and part love story, the film shows us Lennon playing many different roles in his life. A must own movie for music lovers.
Other gems on my must see list include The Fearless Freaks (The Flaming Lips), loudQuietLoud: a film about the Pixies, A Hard Day’s Night and Michael Jackson’s This Is It. Enjoy!