A new week, a new group of documentaries to talk about. First we have Dawn of Humanity. As a firm believer in Darwinism and evolution, I found this extremely fascinating. This “episode” of PBS/Nova focuses on one of the biggest breakthroughs of evolution. In what could be the largest discovery of fossils ever found, scientists found pieces that helped connect steps of evolution that we previously couldn’t connect. The discovery in Africa helped prove the theory that man evolved from Africa and not in Europe as others believed. The volume of fossils, bones, and skeletal remains was amazing. The idea that burial grounds have been around for millions of years and not just thousands like we currently believe is pretty interesting as well. What I found funny was that the caves and dwellings were so narrow and tight, the main scientist had to hire very thin and small women to get through it and get to the fossils. It is easily one of the biggest scientific discoveries of the past 50 (or more years). If you are smart and believe in evolution, find this and watch it. Thoroughly fascinating.
Next we have the latest in rock docs about a band I knew nothing about, Rebel Scum. Like every musical documentary, the level of enjoyment pretty much correlates with your interest in the artist. Not only am I not familiar with The Dirty Works, but I’ve never even heard of them. I’m not a huge fan of this type of white trash punk, but I will say that it did hold my attention. I wouldn’t go out and listen to any of their music, but I have to give the filmmakers credit for making a pretty intimate film. It tackles all the best subjects you expect like addiction and dysfunction plus this one has some extreme violence and mental illness. The lead singer is a total mess and this shows two years of that insanity. If you know the band, you get a very in depth look at them. There’s some surprising stuff in it so I really don’t want to give too much away. Well made even if I don’t like the music.
Third we have Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine. Matt Shepard was one of the most well known cases of anti-gay hate crimes and, like the previous documentary I just wrote about, is very intimate. You get never before seen photos, video footage and an inside look at the case. Shepard was a young gay man who was tortured and killed and brought light to the struggles of young gays. You get an inside look from people who knew Matt and who struggle years later with what happened. It could be a very tough watch for some people though because of the emotional impact Matt and the case had on others. It hits personal loss right on and you truly understand what these people go through. Just prepare yourself when going to watch this.
Last we have another rock doc I wasn’t familiar with, The Color of Noise. This is the story of Haze XXL and his record label Amphetamine Reptile Records or AmRep for short. I had no idea who this was or what AmRep was, but I’m sure the people who do will absolutely love this. It is a pretty cool story though. A Marine (Tom Hazelmyer) starts producing albums for his own band and sells them through the mail. He gets big and works with some huge names in 80s & 90s punk. He goes through a near death experience, does work as a graphic artist and “becomes” Haze XXL. Really odd and bizarre but still interesting. The best part of this Blu-ray is that it’s jammed pack with interviews and footage and music and then there’s the special features. You get like 50 interviews and tons of music and artwork and graphics and footage in the actual documentary and the bonus features has even more. If you are familiar with Haze and AmRep, definitely buy this, it’s worth it for EVERYTHING you get in it.