I really love documentaries, especially about music or other "non serious" subjects. In recent years, films like King of Kong, Anvil: The Story of Anvil, Metallica: Some Kind of Monster. and, of course, Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage have greatly impressed me.
Of course, they can't all be golden.
In the last couple of weeks I've watched two documentaries that have seemed, flat out, irrelevant. Stones in Exile, and When You're Strange: A Film About The Doors.
Stones in Exile really seems to be a "bonus feature" for the recent re-issue of the wonderful Exile on Main Street album. Much like the excellent Wings for Wheels was included in the 30th Anniversary Born to Run box set. So, essentially, this should be a product for a die-hard fan. Something to reveal unknown stories behind the album, or to provide new insights into it's making...
This feels like something that only someone who's knowledge of the Stones is relative meager would glean anything from. It feels slapdash and intentionally on the surface. Who is this film for? If you care enough to buy it, you'll know all the stories, and if you don't...why would you watch it?
Top that off with the fact it's only about an hour long. This whole package feel like a half-assed money grab. Thank God the album itself is so wonderful.
As for When You're Strange...
Oh buy do these people think they're digging deep. Lots of weird, "find the underlying meaning" footage of the band, and Morrison. Johnny Deep doing narration. However, I found myself ticking off the same stories that Oliver Stone dramatized in his fiction film, The Doors. You kinda feel like you're just watching a more lifeless version of that movie.
Yes, yes...I know this is "real" footage, but it's not nearly as compelling as Stone's fictional versions of the same events.
Plus...Look, I know that every male has a "Jim Morrison period," where we become enamored with this guy who was so artistic it apparently gave him lease to be a complete asshole to everyone around him. Jim Morrison was talented, he was also a complete dick. It strikes me funny how Morrison, as a "rock star" is allowed, and even expected, to do selfish, hurtful things that we'd crucify, say, an actor for. Morrison seemingly went to a point where he was lost in a world of antagonizing both the people around him, and his fans.
Not even in a Johnny Rotten, "I'm upfront about it" way. Morrison still played the peace and love bit, and sucked as much adulation as possible from his audience, while constantly antagonizing them. Rotten, it seems, didn't care if you liked him, or not.
I like the music, to a point...but Morrison seems like such a loser.