Documentaries

jbutler

Royal Flush
Joined
Oct 28, 2014
Messages
10,669
Reaction score
10,635
i know that some folks are quite a bit more interested in documentaries than fictional movies, so i thought i'd start this thread apart from the PCF at the Movies thread for those who want to discuss and seek recommendations of documentaries.

one i saw last week that i really liked was Muscle Shoals, which went through the history of the studios in muscle shoals, alabama: FAME studio and muscle shoals sound. having grown up just over the border in georgia and being a big duane allman fan, i was aware of a lot of it, but evidently not a lot of people are. really worthwhile and, it should go without saying, features some spectacular music.



also relevant given the death last week of the great David Carr is Page One, which stars Carr along with a lot of other NY Times staff and gets inside the editorial process of putting together the paper. really compelling stuff. i'm going to rewatch it sometime this week.



i rewatched Werner Herzog's Into the Abyss last week and it was as good as the first time i saw it. it's primarily a profile of a single death row inmate and his story. it doesn't try to sugarcoat his crime and it doesn't try to sell the viewer on his innocence, but just presents him and the other players: victims and otherwise. not my absolute favorite Herzog film, but probably in my top 5 of his.

 

tommythecat

Flush
Joined
Nov 3, 2014
Messages
1,475
Reaction score
922
Location
Homer Glen, IL
Muscle Shoals was great. I really enjoy stupid long music docs for some reason. The Tom Petty one is pretty good and about 4 hours long. Story of Darkside of the Moon and Story of Wish You Were Here are also enjoyable even though they are not crazy in depth like some others.

Print the Legend was a pretty interesting doc about 3-D printing available on Netflix.

 

Mental Nomad

Full House
Joined
Nov 7, 2014
Messages
3,640
Reaction score
2,457
Location
NJ - NY/NJ metro area
I caught The Sax Man on the festival circuit, also very good:

Searching for Sugarman was great:

And 20 Feet from Stardom is a must see:

I'm sorry, was this thread just for music docs, or docs in general? I really enjoyed this one:
I'm into craftsmanship, I'm into illusions, I'm into recreations, I'm into overturning old dogma... this fired on many cylinders, for me.
 

jbutler

Royal Flush
Joined
Oct 28, 2014
Messages
10,669
Reaction score
10,635
Searching for Sugarman was great:...

*spoiler alert*

i loved this on first viewing (and maybe second, too, i think), but later learned some things that made me reconsider. first, apparently rodriguez was already well-known and much-appreciated in other places outside the states well before the events of the film and had done multiple tours at that point. the movie makes it appear that he was just subsisting in detroit without any knowledge of his "fame" elsewhere when that was actually not the case. the trip to south africa was actually his first, but he had played in front of large audiences many, many times to that point.

questions of accuracy sometimes come up in fictional films, too, but much more often in documentaries i find myself wondering how much i should be focused on the "facts" portrayed and how much i should be looking to the storytelling and filmmaking as the qualities justifying the movie. clearly the facts are more important in some documentaries than others. it's reasonable that people often argue about statements in michael moore movies. but there are a lot of documentaries that wouldn't be affected at all if the "facts" presented there had been manipulated.

sugar man sort of falls between those extremes for me. the emotional impact of the movie relies to some degree on facts that i later learned were untrue, but at the same time, the movie was successful also as a result of the competent direction and editing.
 

manamongkids

Full House
Joined
Feb 25, 2014
Messages
4,401
Reaction score
3,493
Location
Usa

Is this considered a documentary? I had to watch it in college like 8 years ago, pretty intriguing, got the wheels spinning for a college class full of 19 year olds
 

Mental Nomad

Full House
Joined
Nov 7, 2014
Messages
3,640
Reaction score
2,457
Location
NJ - NY/NJ metro area
I suspect you may have some dates crossed...

The 2012 film depicts his 1998 tour in South Africa. He had touring success before the film, but not before 1998, and the film is talking about 1998.
 

Mental Nomad

Full House
Joined
Nov 7, 2014
Messages
3,640
Reaction score
2,457
Location
NJ - NY/NJ metro area
I get what they mean, but they're exaggerating things more than the film, itself.

He was active 1967–1973, 1979–1981, 1998–present. The film omits the fact that he was active briefly - unsuccessfully - in 79-81. The complaining articles make much of him opening for Midnight Oil in 80 iin Australia or something, but let's face it, Midnight Oil hadn't made it big, yet. He was opening for a relatively unknown band. That's not success.

And then he went inactive for seventeen years. In music, that's the span of several careers.

And the fact that some record store rats knew of him, that means he wasn't completely unknown, true, but he was still very unknown. Nobody I know would have included home on a list of every musical artist they could think of.

The documentarians took some license to tell a good story, but this article and the one it references seem to take as much or more license to knock them down.
 

slisk250

Straight Flush
Joined
Dec 9, 2014
Messages
7,878
Reaction score
13,106
Location
Rocky Mountain High
I really like nature documentaries. David A. was one of my favorites and I highly recommend "Life of Birds" BBC video.
 

jbutler

Royal Flush
Joined
Oct 28, 2014
Messages
10,669
Reaction score
10,635
I get what they mean, but they're exaggerating things more than the film, itself.

He was active 1967–1973, 1979–1981, 1998–present. The film omits the fact that he was active briefly - unsuccessfully - in 79-81. The complaining articles make much of him opening for Midnight Oil in 80 iin Australia or something, but let's face it, Midnight Oil hadn't made it big, yet. He was opening for a relatively unknown band. That's not success.

And then he went inactive for seventeen years. In music, that's the span of several careers.

And the fact that some record store rats knew of him, that means he wasn't completely unknown, true, but he was still very unknown. Nobody I know would have included home on a list of every musical artist they could think of.

The documentarians took some license to tell a good story, but this article and the one it references seem to take as much or more license to knock them down.

quite a bit of license imo. so much that it goes beyond license and gets into deception. the aim of the article is the result of not being honest with the audience. there was plenty of story available with the given facts, but the filmmakers wanted something more sensationalist and dramatic rather than taking on the task of making compelling a simple story of purportedly great music lost in time.

anyway, i'm usually the first to dismiss the importance of facts when they get in the way of good filmmaking, but there was nothing really unique about the film apart from the story, so to find that it is contrived was disappointing and brought the film down in my eyes.
 

Junior24xx

Straight
Joined
Apr 8, 2014
Messages
853
Reaction score
326
Location
Ottawa area, eastern ontario
i know that some folks are quite a bit more interested in documentaries than fictional movies, so i thought i'd start this thread apart from the PCF at the Movies thread for those who want to discuss and seek recommendations of documentaries.

one i saw last week that i really liked was Muscle Shoals, which went through the history of the studios in muscle shoals, alabama: FAME studio and muscle shoals sound. having grown up just over the border in georgia and being a big duane allman fan, i was aware of a lot of it, but evidently not a lot of people are. really worthwhile and, it should go without saying, features some spectacular music.

"in muscle shoals they've got the swampers... and they've been know to pick a song or two"
 

Chicken Rob

Full House
Joined
Oct 28, 2014
Messages
3,779
Reaction score
3,098
Location
United States
I recently watched "Electric Boogaloo: The Wild Untold Story of Cannon Films". Didn't live up to the title, but had some fun nostalgia moments from the '80s. Probably worth a watch only if interested in the topic of '80s B movies.
 

tommythecat

Flush
Joined
Nov 3, 2014
Messages
1,475
Reaction score
922
Location
Homer Glen, IL
I have watched a few docs over the last 2 days. First was Rush:Beyond the Lighted Stage and then Beware of Mr. Baker. I really enjoyed both. I wouldn't call myself a Rush fan and I only know their radio stuff, but I still found the doc entertaining. Beware of Mr. Baker is excellent. I only know Cream's radio stuff with a handful of other songs, and only a few Blind Faith songs. I think I have done myself a grave disservice by not seeking out more of Ginger's stuff. That dude can seriously wail on the drums.

Spike, I think you would enjoy both of these if you haven't seen them. A lot of drum related stuff in both.



Also watched Jimi Hendrix:Hear My Train A Comin' which was also really good.

 

jbutler

Royal Flush
Joined
Oct 28, 2014
Messages
10,669
Reaction score
10,635
i loved Beyond the Lighted Stage. another canadian music doc worth checking out - maybe the best ever canadian music doc - is Anvil! The Story of Anvil. it shows the other side of pursuing music as a career, but other than that i'll let the trailer speak for itself because it fucking rocks.

 

guinness

Flush
Joined
Oct 30, 2014
Messages
1,252
Reaction score
1,753
Location
Hard Luck Herotown
I love all the music docs being posted. I've seen them all and loved them all. I want to go see them again, especially since I was 5 beers deep for half of them.

Chicken I agree, the cannon films doc was more meh but I thought that was fitting given their flicks.

I forget, did we talk about Last Days Here? I recommend it. This guy is something else.

 

Chicken Rob

Full House
Joined
Oct 28, 2014
Messages
3,779
Reaction score
3,098
Location
United States
Just added Anvil! and Last Days Here to my queue. Being that I was in a band that had a shot and missed, I'm really looking forward to them.
 

jbutler

Royal Flush
Joined
Oct 28, 2014
Messages
10,669
Reaction score
10,635
i hadn't even heard of last days here. definitely on my to watch list.
 

Leonard

Flush
Joined
Nov 3, 2014
Messages
1,078
Reaction score
2,588
Location
United States
Not a music doc and I haven't even seen it but my wife raved about Citizenfour which she watched this week when I was playing poker...

L
 

jbutler

Royal Flush
Joined
Oct 28, 2014
Messages
10,669
Reaction score
10,635
Not a music doc and I haven't even seen it but my wife raved about Citizenfour which she watched this week when I was playing poker...

not sure how i neglected to mention this one in my oscars post in the movies thread, but i loved it, too. it really is insane to think that someone captured those moments on film for eternity. who knows how history will judge the importance of his leaks, but it's unbelievably compelling to watch edward snowden in the hours exactly surrounding - i.e., a day before and a day after - his identification as the leaker.

i was already a fan of glenn greenwald and laura poitras, so i was easily sold, but i think anyone with an interest in that whole affair would be captivated.
 

tommythecat

Flush
Joined
Nov 3, 2014
Messages
1,475
Reaction score
922
Location
Homer Glen, IL
I just watched Last Days Here and I really liked it.

I can't believe it didn't end with him dead. Talk about a crazy life!!

Here is an article that updates a couple years after the documentary...

Life After Last Days
 

guinness

Flush
Joined
Oct 30, 2014
Messages
1,252
Reaction score
1,753
Location
Hard Luck Herotown
I just watched Last Days Here and I really liked it.

I can't believe it didn't end with him dead. Talk about a crazy life!!

Here is an article that updates a couple years after the documentary...
Life After Last Days

Nice. I can't believe his line "Until I was 55 I had only seen 5 states".

I've been listening to this album while working (actually this album via Youtube lol) and I'm super digging it. Its a cross between black sabbath sound with a Jethro Tull voice. Walk in the Blue Light at 5:22 is pretty sweet.
 

Chicken Rob

Full House
Joined
Oct 28, 2014
Messages
3,779
Reaction score
3,098
Location
United States
I just listened to that album from 5:22 to the end while reading PCF and other forums, and it's surprisingly listenable.

I watched both Anvil! and Last Days Here last night. I highly recommend them both. Thanks for that link tommythecat.

I think Last Days Here is a more compelling story, but the film maker behind Anvil! did a better job at telling the story. It may have been that his subjects were easier to work with.

Not to dump on anvil, but maybe there is a reason they didn't sell millions of albums like those other bands they toured with. I was listening to this this morning:


It's pretty bad. They lyrics are awful, the lead playing is trite and amateurish, the riffs are stale, and the between song banter is embarrassing.

But really for me it is the songwriting and lyric writing that is not there, and my diagnosis for why they don't sell better.
 

jbutler

Royal Flush
Joined
Oct 28, 2014
Messages
10,669
Reaction score
10,635
was jamming Big Star last night and it occurred to me that the doc on their non-rise hadn't been mentioned here. it's probably partly because i adore the band so much, but i really, really loved this:

 

Chicken Rob

Full House
Joined
Oct 28, 2014
Messages
3,779
Reaction score
3,098
Location
United States
I remember the second wave of big star fans on the landscape when indie rock was breaking in the '80s-'90s. Wasn't a big fan in the day despite the fact that all the bands I liked loved them. Looking forward to seeing if things have changed for me.
 

tommythecat

Flush
Joined
Nov 3, 2014
Messages
1,475
Reaction score
922
Location
Homer Glen, IL
Finally watched A Band Called Death...amazing. I used to spend quite a bit of time in record stores when I was younger, but I never really sought out anything in particular and was never a collector. Makes me wonder how many times I passed by bands that never made it, but made truly fantastic music.

 
Top Bottom