Gonna try try a new format this month. Probably a one time thing. Like most of you, I love a good documentary. If it’s made well, the subject almost doesn’t matter. Here’s a few recent documentaries to check out.
Truly the brainchild of, and produced/funded by, Metallica bassist, Robert Trujillo. Six years in the making. The tale of Jaco Pastorius, game/instrument changing bassist, renegade, tortured genius, hobo, mental patient, cautionary tale and legend, among other descriptors. I knew the name but wasn’t really familiar with him and his work before this. A real eye opener. He Pioneered the fret-less bass. Emerging in jazz fusion outfit “The Weather Report”, he strayed in and out of rock circles working with an insane verity of musicians. He’s also a world class fuck up. Fascinating journey.
Leading conservative television pundit, William F. Buckley and glorified liberal author and intellectual ,Gore Vidal square the fuck off. Each has the distinction of being considered masters of debate and the English language. In 1968 they throw down in 10 televised debates, 5 during the RNC and 5 during the tumultuous DNC in Chicago. After several truly eloquent sessions Buckley fucking loses on national TV. “Now listen, you queer, stop calling me a crypto-Nazi or I’ll sock you in your goddamn face, and you’ll stay plastered.” said a flustered Buckley. A reaction and threat that would in some ways paint the rest of each man’s lives.”
Joe Calzaghe came from nowhere to become one of the most successful and notably, undefeated boxing champions of the modern era. From a small Welsh village, son of an Italian ex-pat musician and local mother, good looking and teased for being an immigrant, Joe learned to fight. That same father, with no boxing experience whatsoever, would coach his son for his entire, remarkable career. Spending most his career at Super-Middleweight (168 pounds (76 kg)) he amassed a remarkable 21 title defenses. For several years he was under appreciated, mostly fighting in Europe. At the end he came out and beat the best in America and even jumped to Light-Heavyweight to fight the best of all-time at that weight. 46-0. Very few boxers walked away as clean and with as much class as this man.
Jimmy Ellis was blessed. Touched by the hand of God with an unbelievable singing voice. The only problem was that a man named Elvis fucking Presley was walking around with just about the same voice, hell,Ellis even looked similar to The King. It was unmistakable. Jimmy came from a good family and lucrative business but had to peruse his dream of becoming a star, to no avail. 1977, Elvis bites it. 1979, this fucking character shows up singing just like him, same mannerisms too. This man is called Orion and he wears a Zoro-looking mask at all times (He has a mask for every outfit, several dozen, if not, hundreds). Is it Elvis? Is The King back?. Who cares, this dude is selling records and concert tickets. It’s the oldest story is show business in some ways, an unscrupulous manager convinces a talent to sell their soul. Once you sell you integrity, it’s fucker to get back. I shit you not, this happened and the true story is fucking bonkers. This could easily be the inspiration for the next Will Farrell movie. I would be shocked if someone didn’t buy the rights and make a comedy of some kind. I spent almost the entire thing saying “fuck off, that shit ain’t real” and I’m still not totally convinced.
You know all of those great, current comedians you love who started out in Boston in the 80’s and early 90’s? Louis C.K., Bill Burr, Joe Rogan, Marc Maron, David Cross, Bobcat Goldthwait and the list goes on and on. Well they grew up in clubs watching and were inspired by Barry Crimmins. Now I find that stand up usually doesn’t age that well but Crimmins was and still is fucking scathingly funny. The real story here is about a man who not only openly confronts the heinous abuse he survived but his fearless work as an advocate for so many who don’t, or didn’t think, they had a voice. Yeah, it’s heavy, but also funny and inspirational.
The nearly unbelievable story of one of the most corrupt cops ever. Based in Brooklyn, Michael Dowd is the worst of the worst. Unbelievable tales told by all kinds of characters, both good and bad. Like a great character straight out of a Scorsese flick, I had to constantly remind myself not to cheer for this fucking animal. Hard not to at times.
(Lee Ostler is a musician, avid fight fan, man-of-many-words, and huge fan of fine cinema. We think it’s too cute that he has a Minor in Film Studies, and are tickled pink that he now gets a chance to shine. So, each Thursday, he will start our minds rolling for the weekend with another gem of a film we can hunt down. Some will be easier to find than others, but that’s part of the game. Get the home theatre ready, pop the corn, and prepare to see some friggin’ awesome films)