Monday, March 10, 2008


1. GIMME SHELTER – The standard-bearer for now and forever; a fantastic, trippy film in its own right, to say nothing of the circumstances under which it was made.
2. THE DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION – A life-changing film for me, along with #3 – not only did it introduce me into the world of crazed, uber-energized LA punk rock that I love to this day, it was a well-told overview of some of the stranger and sensational corners of that scene and that era.
3. URGH: A MUSIC WAR – All it was was a series of clips from a bunch of early 80s new wave & post-punk bands, and yet it’s a beautiful string of performances by great bands like THE CRAMPS, AU PAIRS, X, PERE UBU and other heroes.
4. DIG!See my review here.
6. BOB DYLAN – DON’T LOOK BACK – I’m not a huge Dylan fan, but I almost became one after watching the snarky, snotty young Bob go electric and piss off his fans.
7. NICO ICON – Well-done look at the enigmatic Nico, the muse of Warhol, Fellini and the Velvet Underground – and then a drugged-out, influential musical ice princess in her own right. Great stuff.
8. WE JAM ECONOSee my review here.
9. THE MC5: A TRUE TESTIMONIALSee my review here.
10. THEREMIN: AN ELECTRONIC ODYSSEY – An entire film about a musical instrument, one that I found totally riveting and quite funny in parts.

Surely I’ve forgotten one of your favorites, no? Let me know in the comments section!


John R said...

I would add the documentary on Jandek to the list. I found it to be fascinating. "Decline" I is probably my all-time favorite. "We Jam Econo" is also great.

Anonymous said...

I think Wattstax and The Last Waltz are both classics. For that matter, Decline, Part II is brilliant. More wasted and pathetic to be sure, but unforgettable. Still need to see The Townes film.


Matt said...


Anonymous said...

"The Band That Would Be King"!


Dave said...

I second the Band That Would Be King, most definitely, plus the second Decline film, which is non-stop hilarity. I'll also put in my two cents for the Last Waltz: truly one of the great concert films, even though I know of people who flee in horror whenever I put it on at home here amongst polite company. "American Hardcore" SHOULD have been one of the greats, but in my opinion is a totally missed opportunity. Mingus' "Beneath The Underdog" is a goodie, too.

Anonymous said...

I would add X's The Unheard Music and Dead Moon's Unknown Passage.

sean said...

I vote for the Filth and The Fury. It was a more a snapshot of the UK in the mid to late 70s and provided the context out of which the Pistols arose

John R said...

Oh, yes, the Filth and the Fury was great. Definitely in the top five.

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

I would include End Of the Century. A terrific doc even for guys like me who might have Ramones burnout. Born To Lose: The Last Rock and Roll movie was not a well made film at all but it makes my list for the subject matter and some incredible footage.
Ditto Cocksucker Blues. I'm also not a Bob Dylan fan but Scorsese's doc was outstanding. Not a fan of anything the Stones have done in over 30 years either but I have no doubt MS' new doc will also be good. Not sure where I would rank Letts' Punk:Attitude but I enjoyed it.
Im hearing good things about the new Joe Strummer doc.
I haven't seen Hated but that is on my to-see list. That might lean more toward the torture porn I just read about it another thread hehe.
And would somebody please make a comprehensive doc about the brothers Davies and the greatest rock and roll band of all time.

April 13, 2008 8:22 AM

Andre said...

Just following up on my own post. I got ahold of Hated the GG Allin doc and it is actually quite a good doc. I wouldn't rate it too high on my list because personally I've never considered GG or his music anything more than a curiosity, but it is a well made film and the dvd comes with a bonus of his last show and trip back to his hotel the night he mercifully died.
Oh yeah, i'm no psychiatrist but after vieing this I think I may have solved the riddle of why this man was so angry. His dick is only like half an inch long.

thomas said...

I have seen a couple recently that would be in my top ten. "You're Gonna Miss Me" is in the top 3. Not really rockumentary but related is "Desperate Man Blues" about Joe Bussard the king of 78s and his lifelong record collecting quest. More about prewar country, blues, and jazz. He despises rock and roll. very interesting life.