The Documentary Thread

Is this OK? It may help to weed through documentaries of all stripes.
Separate from film and music videos enough?
For instance, Spinal Tap is a movie, not a documentary about a fictitious although brilliant and hilarious band.
The Last Waltz is a documentary. Although it’s filmed in 35 mm by one of America’s great filmmakers Martin scorsese’s

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Ahhh… the Monkees. Bubble gum pop music from the 60s.

The best thing I heard about the Monkees was Sam Kinison going off on Charles Manson, pivoting from mocking Manson’s questioning of what the Beatles meant when they wrote “why don’t we do it in the road” to wondering what he might think about the Monkees.



They were an amalgamate for sure, but not without talent and ability. Especially Peter Tork. Peter could hang with everyone. Check out the film.
Its very well done


I think I’m going to have to check this one out. I still catch myself listening to their tunes from time to time. Even if they didn’t write them, they’re still fun to listen to. I’ve heard some pretty hilarious stories about Davy Jones- seems like a guy I would have liked. Thanks for the tip!

Here’s another one on that same topic. I really enjoyed it.

Echos in the Canyon trailer


Thanks @HoopUte ill check it out!
@Steggys_Mixtapes, Mike Nesmith was a very successful producer and songwriter. Last Train to Clarksville was written by Carol King. They were all living amongst each other in Laurel Canyon. It was a very fecund time and there was a lot of intermingling, producing interesting symbiosis.

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Ummm, I’m pretty sure that Last Train to Clarksville was written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, as were many of the other early Monkey’s tunes.

They were a concept group, made for TV, that eventually managed to stand on their own talents, even if briefly. I was a young kid, 8 or 10 when the show originally aired, and fit perfectly into their target audience. I have to admit I outgrew them fairly quickly, but I have always been aware that some of the band members had real talent (particularly as you’ve mentioned, Mike Nesmith).

I’m eager to watch both of the Laurel Canyon documentaries. Those were some interesting times.

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I’ve been meaning to watch Don’t Look Back for awhile, and keep sort of not getting around to it.

And I’m going to go back and re-watch The Last Waltz again after several decades…

Thanks for the reminders :slight_smile:

You’re right! (I should have checked) I knew there was one though, and I now remember she and her husband wrote Last Train to Clarksville - which is what I was actually thinking of originally - but I confabulated some of the Goffin/King catalogue. Looks like there’s more than one. Here’s the story:

“Porpoise Song (Theme From ‘Head’),” The Monkees (1968)

10 Great Songs You Didn’t Know Carole King Wrote|676x575

While the duo wrote nearly a dozen songs for revolutionary TV-music-performance project The Monkees – notably the 1967 single “Pleasant Valley Sunday” – Goffin generally regarded these products as inferior “throwaways.” But by the time the television show began to wind down in 1968, producer Bob Rafelson approached the songwriters with a more interesting proposition: the soundtrack to the Monkees’ feature length film, Head .

Non-sequitur and nonsensical, the film was a bid for serious countercultural acceptance from the exceptionally stoned minds of Rafelson and a young Jack Nicholson, who wrote the script by spit-balling into a tape recorder during a drug-fueled weekend spent with the band in Ojai, California. “It wasn’t so much about the deconstruction of the Monkees, but it was using the deconstruction of the Monkees as metaphor for the deconstruction of the Hollywood film industry,” Dolenz tried to explain years later.

While the plot may have been an almost secondary concern, hit tunes were still a necessity and Rafelson commissioned Goffin and King to write the film’s theme song. By this point the musical team’s marriage had imploded and they were residing separately in Los Angeles. “Carole King was living in an apartment building on Sunset Boulevard, and I went to her apartment every day, and we would sit and we would talk,” Rafelson wrote in the liner notes to the Head soundtrack’s reissue in 1994. “That song was critical to me.”

Over gently undulating chords, King composed a meandering melody drawn equally from Eastern modes and Tin Pan Alley. The demo kicks off with her recitation of the Latin Mass of the Dead, a nod to the film’s opening scene in which Dolenz leaps off the massive Gerald Desmond Bridge to his presumed demise. From there, she sings Goffin’s words, an enigmatic psychedelic hodgepodge.

Goffin produced the song himself over six sessions in early 1968, calling upon 20 musicians – including a porpoise recorded especially for the occasion. The marine creature’s trill blended with swooping strings, shimmering organ washes, woodwinds, horns and Dolenz’s distorted vocals. The song is about as far removed from Bobby Vee as one could get, but it got the job done. “It is far and away my favorite Monkees song,” enthused Rafelson.


No disrespect to the Monkees - my musical ability is nada. I liked them as a kid.

I was mostly amused at how they got mangled into Kinison’s riff on Manson. (Not to derail things further, but the story of Kinison’s last moments after getting hit by a drunk driver will make atheists do a double-take. He went from Pentecostal preacher - lined up well with that yelling - to an irreverent party animal comedian, to the tragedy of that crash, where he was having a conversation with somebody - “Are you sure? OK, OK” - right before he passed.)

This documentary sounds good. Carole King (wow), Nicholson, a confluence of creativity, the Monkees.

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This is excellent, well worth 40 minutes. It was played a few years ago at the Banff Film Festival, which is shown on campus at the U every February. I go to it every year and this is my favorite film I’ve seen at Banff so far.

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Found this fascinating at the time. Ready to watch it again.

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