A new week, a new batch of documentaries to talk about. First we have Salad Days: A Decade of Punk in Washington D.C. Obviously it’s a rock doc about the rise of punk in our country’s capital. I’m not a huge punk fan and only knew a few of these bands by name more than their discography. I know of Black Flag and Henry Rollins (who is in the documentary) and Fugazi, but I don’t know if I know the rest of them. Obviously if you were into this scene, it’s a must watch film. Even if you weren’t, it’s still pretty interesting. This punk scene came about from a bunch of middle class to upper middle class white kids (for the most part) in D.C. without much else to do. They hung around Georgetown, got beat up and started a scene. The one band seemed to have started straight edge music and other bands made sure to separate themselves from them. Since I never got into punk, I never understood what all these kids were fighting against, but it’s well made, has a ton of people in it like Rollins, Dave Grohl, Fred Armisen and more. If you like rock docs, this is right up your alley.
Next we have Pop Life. It’s also kind of a rock doc, but it focuses on the drug scene in pop culture especially music. It talks about the kids taking Molly and dancing at big festivals. It talks about A-list celebs and musicians and their love affair with cocaine. Of course it talks about weed and Snoop Dogg. There’s musicians like T-Pain who talk about drug use in music. There’s some DJs (who might be famous, I have no idea who they are) that try to say you don’t need drugs to like their music which I laughed at. There’s a former celebrity concierge who talked about her experiences getting drugs for A-list, B- list, C-list, and D-list celebrities. There’s many doctors and experts who discuss the effects of different drugs on humans and long term effects. I watch a lot of things about drugs so none of it was all that new to me, but if you aren’t familiar with the different types of drugs and how you react to them, check it out I guess.
Third we have A Murder in the Park. Man was this frustrating to watch. A man was convicted of killing 2 people in Chicago in the 1980s and a Northwestern journalism professor convinces his students to find a way to free the man. Through their “investigation” they get him freed from Death Row and sent home. Sounds great right? Well no. The students were your typical social justice warriors that were pawns in the professor’s scheme. What journalists have to do with criminal justice is beyond me, but these stupid kids thought they were so high and mighty and freed a man from death when in reality they passed over tons of evidence, didn’t interview other witnesses AND didn’t realize their professor had a partner who forced a fake confession from another man. The professor sold books and movie rights and made money while these dumb kids thought they were being so righteous. I wanted to strangle them! The whole thing is mind numbing how they freed one guy, forced another guy to confess all to get rid of the Death Penalty in Illinois and played these kids. Just a bizarre story.
Fourth we have Misery Loves Comedy. I thoroughly enjoyed this. Kevin Pollak interviews some of the biggest names in comedy and gets brutally honest answers about life, fame, touring, depression, legacies and more. Jimmy Fallon, Judd Apatow, Amy Schumer, Mike Birbiglia, Jim Gaffigan, Tom Hanks, Steve Coogan and many more share their experiences and as a fan of comedy, I was hooked. If you like stand up or TV/movie comedies, you have to see this. It’s raw and honest and hilarious and it’s a great look behind the curtain that is comedy. I don’t even want to give away stories from it because you really should watch it. Seriously, if you like stand up comedy, go find this now. If you are considering a life in comedy, this is a must own. The old footage is worth the price of the DVD, but it’s also a Comedy 101 class in itself.
Last we have Soul Boys of the Western World. I only knew Spandau Ballet because of a song or two, but I can see fans of theirs eating this up. It’s clearly for the fans and there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s some cool footage and if you don’t know much about the band, how they formed and what not, it’s pretty educational. As with any 80’s band, they broke up and reformed and the film explains it pretty well. Maybe there was more to the break up, but I don’t have a clue. If I knew the band beyond the song True I might have really like this, but their fans will love it for sure.