Best Documentary Movies of 1987
Metallica: Cliff 'Em All
Originally released as "The $19.98 Home Vid: Cliff 'Em All," Metallica's first video is a tribute to late original bassist Cliff Burton. James Hetfield describes it as "a compilation of bootleg footage shot by sneaky Metallifux, stuff shot for TV that was never used, but we've held onto, home footage, personal fotos and us drunk. But most important, it's really a look back at the 3-1/2 years that Cliff was with us and includes his best bass solos and the home footage and pix that we feel best capture his unique personality and style." 1987.
Jimi Plays Monterey
It's no exaggeration to say this might be the most intense and groundbreaking 45-minute performance in the history of rock. Jimi Hendrix's debut American set at 1967's Monterey Pop Festival is generally considered one of the most radical and legendary live shows ever. Virtually unknown to American audiences at the time, even though he was already an established entity in the UK, Hendrix and his two-piece Experience explode on stage, ripping through blues classics "Rock Me Baby" and Howlin' Wolf's "Killing Floor," interpreting and electrifying Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone," debuting songs from his yet-to-be-released first album and closing with the now historic sacrificing/burning of his guitar during an unhinged version of "Wild Thing" that even its writer Chip Taylor would never have imagined. Hendrix uses feedback and distortion to enhance the songs in whisper-to-scream intensity, blazing territory that had not been previously explored with as much soul-frazzled power.
Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam
Real-life letters written by American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines during the Vietnam War to their families and friends back home. Archive footage of the war and news coverage thereof augment the first-person "narrative" by men and women who were in the war, some of whom did not survive it.
The Other Israel
Compiled after 15 months filming and editing, this fast-moving, professional video documentary will give you a unique education on the inner teachings of Judaism and the Talmud. Through the television camera "The Other Israel" takes you where few Christian scholars have gone before.
Swimming to Cambodia
Spalding Gray sits behind a desk throughout the entire film and recounts his exploits and chance encounters while playing a minor role in the film 'The Killing Fields'. At the same time, he gives a background to the events occurring in Cambodia at the time the film was set.
The Charles Bukowski Tapes
The Charles Bukowski Tapes are an altogether more than four hours long collection of 52 short-interviews with the American cult author Charles Bukowski, sorted by topic and each between one and ten minutes long. Director Barbet Schroeder (Barfly) interviews Bukowski about such themes as alcohol, violence, and women, and Bukowski answers willingly, losing himself in sometimes minute-long monologues. Amongst other things, Bukowski leads the small camera team through his parents’ house and his former neighbourhood, but the largest part of the interviews takes place in Bukowski’s flat or backyard. The documentary includes a scene in which Bukowski reacts violently toward his wife Linda Lee.
Athens, GA Inside/Out
Led by the success of the B-52's and R.E.M., Athens, Georgia was the most happening music scene in the country by the mid 80's. Following several different bands from different genres, this film paints Athens as a magical artistic environment where bands are not in competition, but co-exist in harmony and share the ideals of the land. Live performances of R.E.M.'s "Swan Swan H" and "Dream (All I Have To Do)" at the Lucy Cobb Institute chapel are included. Also featured are performances and interviews frm the B-52's, Pylon, B-B-Que Killers, Time Toy, Jim Herbert, Flat Duo Jets, Love Tractor, Kilkenny Cats, Squalls and more
The Hero's Journey: The World of Joseph Campbell
One of the greatest storytellers of our time, and arguably the greatest mythologist, Joseph Campbell spent most of his long, rich career explaining how ancient myths like the Hero’s Journey are relevant to modern life. In understanding the importance of myth as a vital, vibrant source of "mankind’s one great story," Campbell inspired others to embark on a quest for the meaning of myth in their own lives. This biographical portrait, filmed shortly before his death in 1987, follows Campbell’s personal quest—a pathless journey of questioning, discovery, and ultimately of delight and joy in a life to which he said, "Yes."
Ah, the '80s! A time of hair bands and their ludicrous MTV videos filled with spandex-clad band members and skimpily clad bimbos. Kiss: Exposed returns us to that forgettable era, as Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons show how to desperately try to remain cock rock's elder statesmen. This 1987 compilation serves up several now-hilarious video clips from Kiss's '80s "unmasked" period, including "Tears Are Falling," "Heaven's on Fire," "Lick It Up," and "I Love It Loud." (Count the fires burning in these classic video relics of days gone by!) Also on hand are Stanley and Simmons themselves, looking properly embarrassed as they act out rock's biggest fantasy: lounging by the pool with a bevy of (mostly) bare beauties. The saving grace is the generous selection of vintage live performances: hearing the band do "Strutter," "Detroit Rock City," "Ladies Room," and "Deuce" in its late-'70s prime is worth wading through the outdated '80s-style power pop... if you're a real Kiss fan, of course.
First broadcast in 1987 on the UK's Channel 4, Bombin' is a documentary about Afrika Bambaataa's Zulu nation bringing American hip-hop culture to the UK for first time. The main focus is the graffiti art of Brim and the variety of reactions he is faced with from the British public and press.