Good Documentaries

Gerard K H Love

Appreciate your friends
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This:
9/11 by the Naudet brothers. That from-street-level footage of the first jet going in still scares the shit out of me.

was probably a set up by people who knew the 9-11 attack was happening when it did. The gas leak that was phoned in may have been part of it. But as a result one of the greatest documentaries of our time. IMHO.
 

esart

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I know many of these have been mentioned, but I wanted to list some of my favorites, if not just to be part of the club.

Tarnation (still one of the greatest movies in the whole wide world!)
In the Realms of the Unreal
Danielson Family Movie
Thin Blue Line
Encounters at the Ends of the World
Vinyl
Just Melvin
Born into This
Born into Brothels
Grey Gardens
51 Birch Street
Crumb
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
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I've read Fest's Hitler biography years ago. It was quite good. I did'nt know he's made a Hitler documentary too, but I'm sure it's just as good as his HItler biography.
 
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mjp

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Not to change the subject from Hitler or anything, but Carol reminded me about Edgeplay, a documentary about the Runaways. Probably only of interest to the elderly, but with the Runaways movie coming out, maybe some young whippersnappers will feel compelled to see what the real Runaways were like.

Joan Jett declined to take part in the film, but even without her it's an engrossing story. It's easy to forget how much shit those young women had to take when they dared to infringe on the sacred male rawk'n'roll turf in the not-too-distant past. If you were around in those days you probably remember the demeaning and dismissive way the music press treated them (jailbait rock, etc,. etc.). Whether you respect their music or not (most of it is easy to dismiss if you're so inclined), you have to respect them as pioneers.
 

Stavrogin

Over 1000 posts
Okay, got a batch of docs in from Amazon and the 1st one up is Anvil. Never realized till now that piss and shit in a toilet looks terribly similar to bacon and eggs (sunny side up) on a white plate. If the ending doesn't effect you then it's my sad task to inform you you may very well be dead inside. 51 Birch Street is next.
 

hoochmonkey9

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Same with DiG! The music of those bands was really meaningless to me, but their story was good.
I put off watching this one because I can't stand The Dandy Warhols, and my knowledge of The Brian Jonestown Massacre was limited to one album, Give It Back, which was interesting, but sounded like Syd Barrett doing The Beatles (although I guess that's better than Oasis, who sound like Hootie and the Blowfish doing The Turtles doing The Beatles).

anyway, I watched it the other night and it was quite good.

my opinion hasn't changed regarding The Dandy Warhols, if anything I dislike them and their posing, manipulative prettyboy singer more than I did before. and although I wouldn't want to spend 10 minutes with Anton Newcombe of TBJM, I would listen to his music.

but Newcombe is batshit crazy. and drugs make him über batshit crazy. after watching this movie, I'm glad my drug days are behind me. I'll just kill myself with booze, it's much more civilized.

very good movie.
 
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esart

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I forgot all about those Dandy Warhols. Yeesh! Thanks a lot for reminding me.

MJP watched some Frank Zappa thing last night. I'm glad he watched it without me. I heard it wasn't so hot.
 

slimedog

Over 1000 posts
I love the Runaways and I'm looking forward to seeing the movie. I can't believe they made a movie about them, though I think they're really deserving, but I was surprised about the Darby Crash film, too. Must be that LA connection.
 

nervas

more crickets than friends
Over 1000 posts
The Germs what we do is secret fell completely flat for me. I think I would have rather had some filmmakers do a real documentary ala End of the Century-the Ramones story, then hire the actors they did to portray Darby and his band mates. The new Runaways movie, I like Dakota Fanning, but will probably wait for dvd release.

And oh how I await the Iggy Pop biopic starring Elijah Wood, that has been rumored for 5 years now! (yes sarcasm font intended)
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
Over 5000 posts
Don't wake the sleeping Zappaphiles!
Too late, mjp! :D
- I like Zappa's music (not all of it, though), but I would'nt call myself a Zappaphile. Anyway, What Zappa documentary did you watch?
 
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mjp

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Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention: In the 1960s.

It was a little sleepy for me. Much like most of Zappa's music. Though I think he was a very interesting guy, and I admire what he tried to do with his senate testimony lambasting Tipper Gore's PMRC, but there was not a shred of that interesting man anywhere to be seen in this.

When it was over I thought, "I guess you really have to like Zappa to enjoy that." Then it occurred to me that if you really liked Zappa you probably already knew everything in the movie. So I'm not sure who it was made for.
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
Over 5000 posts
It's not a great Zappa documentary, that's for sure. I bought it recently myself and I was a bit disappointed. Maybe it has to do with it being made without cooperation from the Zappa Family Trust, because they couldn't show any footage or interviews with Zappa and that's not good when you're making a documentary about Zappa and the Mothers - on the contrary.
I think the best parts was the interviews with the old Mothers Of Invention members. The "experts" also contributed with some interesting facts now and then. I certainly learned a thing or three I did'nt know about before. That said, it was a bit boring or sleepy in places. Maybe also because it's a 2 hours 14 min. long documentary.
The worst part is the total absence of Zappa (the absence of the hero) in the documentary. Sure, there were lots of stills of Zappa but that was about it.
 
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nervas

more crickets than friends
Over 1000 posts
Well, along with all the other thumbs up already in this thread, gotta say Grey Gardens was one of the best documentaries I've ever seen! It was simply awesome! I think I'm in love with lil' Edie!

The weather is against us! - Edie
 

DirtyJersey13

The Cruelty of Loveless Love
Over 100 posts
I would agree with many of the recommendations on here, esp. Dark Days. It's rare that I'm ever watching anything other than a documentary, because even a mediocre documentary is more interesting to me than an amazing blockbuster.

Two suggestions would be Night and Fog, which is a harrowing film that packs some lasting effects in a short film. It deals with the concentration camps, before and after.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0048434/


Also, Baraka which is a beautifully filmed documentary filmed all around the world. It's actually the reason why I bought a Blu-Ray player.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0103767/
 

nervas

more crickets than friends
Over 1000 posts
I just re-watched the documentary on Roky Erickson. Eh, it was ok, but remembering docs like the devil and daniel johnston, I'm not sure why Roky's doc doesn't hold up? Has anyone else seen it? I don't know, maybe it is good, and maybe after seeing it again, I'm just not much of a Roky fan. The song you're gonna miss me and i walked with a zombie are classics, but watching this doc for maybe the 3rd time left me feeling like I'm ready to get rid of any 13th floor elevators, roky erickson stuff I have.
 

roni

Over 5000 posts
I've recently seen 'Die Anwälte' about three well known German lawyers, who were in the late 60s/early 70s defending extreme-left-wing clients (even RAF-members), two of which are now right wingers (one even a Nazi).

Their names: Otto Schily, Hans-Christian Sträbele and Horst Mahler.

see imdb for an English review.
 
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hoochmonkey9

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I just re-watched the documentary on Roky Erickson. Eh, it was ok, but remembering docs like the devil and daniel johnston, I'm not sure why Roky's doc doesn't hold up? Has anyone else seen it? I don't know, maybe it is good, and maybe after seeing it again, I'm just not much of a Roky fan. The song you're gonna miss me and i walked with a zombie are classics, but watching this doc for maybe the 3rd time left me feeling like I'm ready to get rid of any 13th floor elevators, roky erickson stuff I have.
he's got a new album coming out with Okkervil River.

listen to a song first, then decide if you want to throw his stuff out. ;)
 

justine

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Over 1000 posts

interesting docu about the impact of 'living online'. interesting but... annoying: the main dude, josh harris, starts to complain about how living his whole life online (something like 32 cameras rigged up around his and his gf's apartment) is just driving him crazy. but it was HIS idea, and he could've stopped it at any point.
 

mjp

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That trailer makes it look interesting, but the actual "living in public" in that loft was fucking boring. Not to mention it was ye olden dayes on the internet and you couldn't really watch it in real time over the modem connections most people had.

But even that concept, at the time, wasn't new, it was borrowed from the first "reality show," MTV's The Real World. It was just an unedited version with a smaller cast. The gimmick was the internet streaming, and that gimmick got him a lot of press.

I worked at a web hosting company back then, so the office had enough bandwidth to waste that you could almost watch it stream in real time. But even with a giant commercial internet connection the feed jerked and stopped and buffered. Ugh. Everyone who managed to watch it for more than a minute uninterrupted had the same reaction; "This is stupid."

Looks like a good movie though.
 

justine

stop the penistry
Over 1000 posts
yeah, that was kind of the big letdown: yay, we can do this cool tv-on-the-internet thing... but it's beyond irritating to try and watch.

the main dude is an interesting character, but pretty much a huge asshole. he skipped out of the US because of the debt he was in and now lives in ethiopia, coaching a kids' basketball team.
 

hoochmonkey9

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I was flipping through channels tonight and I paused on The Sundance Channel and thought 'this looks familiar.'

I can't believe I forgot about it.

I saw it back in the late '80s and it is probably one of the best docs of all time (or maybe just the most entertaining):

Gates.jpg


brilliant stuff.
 

esart

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I saw the Roky Erickson doc and liked it, but not as much as the Daniel Johnson one. I don't know why they get compared together. I guess they are very similar.

I'm a big Errol Morris fan too, but Gates of Heaven (IMHO) was his least best. Thin Blue Line and Mr Death are great.
 

hoochmonkey9

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it's a case, for me, where the filmmaker got me to watch a film whose subject matter held little or no attraction for me, and also made me enjoy it immensely.

I would, however, watch a film about a corrupt justice system no matter who directed it. luckily, Morris directed The Thin Blue Line and took it to another level.
 
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