Rock films come out every three months or so. Many go completely unnoticed by the mainstream of movie goers. You have to find them in a local arts cinema or a college basement. Eventually they find their way onto DVD, Netflix, etc.
Of course bands like The Rolling Stones and U2 have the audience to create a sensation and show them in IMAX theaters.
Some are just concert films, but I am always drawn to actual documentaries. I stay away from Biopics because I don’t care for actors playing rock stars. It just doesn’t seem to work.
I have watched quite a few Roc Docs, as they are now called.
Since I seem to be making lists, here are some you might want to check out.
My favorite dozen – in order:
12. It’s Gonna get Loud – I thought I would hate this, but I didn’t. Jimmy Page, Jack White and The Edge talk about music and guitars and it’s really very interesting.
11. New York Doll – The story of Arthur “Killer” Kane, New York Dolls Bassist. He basically walks around and shows you stuff. It’s bizzare.
10. The Clash – Rude Boy – tough to find, but a brilliant peek into the studio while The Clash were recording their second album.
9. Punk Attitude – A great insiders look at the punk scene from the 70’s. I liked this, but it should have had more performances and less talk. Although, Henry Rollins has a great way of interpreting the scene.
8. Talking Heads Chronology – All Heads from the humble beginnings playing in a kitchen for 12 people to the giant arena band they became in a very short period.
7. The Sex Pistols – The Filth And The Fury – an amazing look at a legendary band. The story of how they sabotaged their own careers and the mark they left on rock n roll.
6. The US vs. John Lennon – fascinating and mind-blowing story of The Nixon Administration’s attempt to deport John Lennon. Amazing footage and back story.
5. George Harrison – Living In The Material World – another Scorsese masterpiece. The first disc is all the stuff you probably have seen before if you are a Beatles fan. the second disc is astounding.
4. The Who – The Kids Are Alright – Roger Daltrey, while making Tommy, always said “I just want to make a movie about the bloody ‘oo. They did, and it’s brilliant.
3. The Ramones – End of the Century – pure fun to watch the story of some regular neighborhood kids from Forest Hills and how they became the most important band in the punk explosion of the late 70’s.
2. Bob Dylan – No Direction Home – masterful depiction of Dylan’s rise and fall under his own terms. Scorsese did a brilliant job as a film maker and an obvious fan. The interviews alone are worth the price, but there is so much more here for the Dylan enthusiast and those wanting to discover a legend.
And my Number 1 FAVORITE Documentary:
1. This Is Spinal Tap – One of the greatest documentaries about a legendary band that didn’t exist, but later did cease to exist. That about sums it up. There is more here than “goes to 11”. I can’t listen to Jethro Tull without laughing because of this movie. They nailed it.
Rock Docs I have NOT seen but want to:
Joe Strummer – The Future is Unwritten
The Story Of Anvil
The Wrecking Crew
Standing In The Shadows
Rock Docs I havn’t seen and DON’T want to:
U2 – Rattle & Hum
Rush – Beyond The Lighted Stage