The Top 5 Most Anticipated Music Documentaries

Music geeks are salivating at the prospect of these five upcoming music documentaries.

1. Living in the Material World: George Harrison

Director: Martin Scorsese

Sure we love the Beatles, but then there’s the dark horse George Harrison, the man who emerged as a brilliantly enigmatic songwriter and became known as the quintessential reductionist guitar player. His post-Beatles release All Things Must Pass rivals Plastic Ono Band as the best post-Fab Four record and his notable solo career and much under-appreciated musicianship have been long overdue for a closer inspection. As we mark the 10-year anniversary of his death, the Scorsese-directed biopic will shed light on what made his musical contributions so significant. Look for new interview footage from remaining Beatles McCartney and Ringo, as well as unreleased material that Olivia Harrison pulled from George’s archives.


2. Nothing Can Hurt Me: The Big Star Story

Directors: Danielle McCarthy/Drew DeNicola

The greatest band to fly under the radar produced three of the most brilliant pop albums of the '70s and have been a critical favorite for decades now. Sadly, the attention for this groundbreaking band has come in the wake of the death of lead singer/songwriter Alex Chilton and original bassist Andy Hummel last year. Big Star re-defined and re-contextualized the gargantuan pop brushstrokes of the Beatles into grandiose and perpetually melancholic pop masterpieces that went on to influence '80s college rock titans R.E.M. and the Replacements, who would later release the song “Alex Chilton” in honor of his influence. The documentary will cover the inspiring and tragic story of Big Star, as well as their enduring legacy, culminating in footage from the tribute shows that took place shortly after Chilton’s death last year. Long time producer and mentor John Fry of Ardent Studios has been acting as one of the executive producers of the documentary.


3. Color Me Obsessed: the potentially true story of the last best band, The Replacements

Director: Gorman Bechard

Speaking of the Replacements, a much-needed documentary on the band is on its way this month, as the film will have a premiere in Tampa at the Gasparilla International Film Festival. Strangely, the film will feature no music or imagery from the band, but instead will rely on a host of influential musicians, actors, fans, and journalists who will share their reflections and obsessions. The Minneapolis based-quartet from the '80s married punk debauchery with bristling folk-pop and in the process almost single-handedly birthed the indie rock movement in the decade to follow. Albums like Let It Be and Tim are now considered bona fide classics and Paul Westerberg’s songwriting prowess has won him countless devotees, including filmmaker Cameron Crowe who featured Westerberg’s music prominently in his film Singles.


4. Upside Down: The Creation Records Story

Director: Danny O’Connor

One of British music’s most unlikely success stories, Creation Records became the flagship for ground-breaking independent music in the '80s and '90s. The film presents founder Alan McGee as he traces the story of the label from their early days of working with notables such as My Bloody Valentine, Teenage Fanclub, and Jesus and Mary Chain, up through the commercial and critical breakthrough of the bombastic and comicly arrogant Oasis. Upside Down gets it’s North American Premiere at this month’s South by Southwest Festival in Austin.


5. Happy: The Story of Keith Richards

Director: Johnny Depp

It’s been nearly 15 years since Johnny Depp has ventured beyond acting to direct a film, but his love for Keith Richards is drawing him back into the director’s chair. With momentum behind Keith’s story, being fueled in part by the release of his 2010 autobiography Life, the 66-year-old guitarist will spill more on his legendary rock and roll indulgences and contributions to his fellow Pirates of the Carribean cohort. Depp described the film to EW as a cross between "The Godfather and a painting by Italian artist (Michelangleo Merisi da) Caravaggio.” With a Rolling Stones reunion tour planned this year, as well as Depp’s numerous film projects in 2011, it might be some time before we know what that actually means.




Reading Pandemics

Pandemic, Hope, Defiance, and Protest in 'Romeo and Juliet'

Shakespeare's well known romantic tale Romeo and Juliet, written during a pandemic, has a surprisingly hopeful message about defiance and protest.


A Family Visit Turns to Guerrilla Warfare in 'The Truth'

Catherine Deneuve plays an imperious but fading actress who can't stop being cruel to the people around her in Hirokazu Koreeda's secrets- and betrayal-packed melodrama, The Truth.


The Top 20 Punk Protest Songs for July 4th

As punk music history verifies, American citizenry are not all shiny, happy people. These 20 songs reflect the other side of patriotism -- free speech brandished by the brave and uncouth.


90 Years on 'Olivia' Remains a Classic of Lesbian Literature

It's good that we have our happy LGBTQ stories today, but it's also important to appreciate and understand the daunting depths of feeling that a love repressed can produce. In Dorothy Strachey's case, it produced the masterful Olivia.


Indie Rocker Alpha Cat Presents 'Live at Vox Pop' (album stream)

A raw live set from Brooklyn in the summer of 2005 found Alpha Cat returning to the stage after personal tumult. Sales benefit organizations seeking to end discrimination toward those seeking help with mental health issues.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

'Avengers: Endgame' Faces the Other Side of Loss

Whereas the heroes in Avengers: Endgame stew for five years, our pandemic grief has barely taken us to the after-credit sequence. Someone page Captain Marvel, please.


Between the Grooves of Nirvana's 'Nevermind'

Our writers undertake a track-by-track analysis of the most celebrated album of the 1990s: Nirvana's Nevermind. From the surprise hit that brought grunge to the masses, to the hidden cacophonous noise-fest that may not even be on your copy of the record, it's all here.


Deeper Graves Arrives via 'Open Roads' (album stream)

Chrome Waves, ex-Nachtmystium man Jeff Wilson offers up solo debut, Open Roads, featuring dark and remarkable sounds in tune with Sisters of Mercy and Bauhaus.

Featured: Top of Home Page

The 50 Best Albums of 2020 So Far

Even in the coronavirus-shortened record release schedule of 2020, the year has offered a mountainous feast of sublime music. The 50 best albums of 2020 so far are an eclectic and increasingly "woke" bunch.


First Tragedy, Then Farce, Then What?

Riffing off Marx's riff on Hegel on history, art historian and critic Hal Foster contemplates political culture and cultural politics in the age of Donald Trump in What Comes After Farce?


HAIM Create Their Best Album with 'Women in Music Pt. III'

On Women in Music Pt. III, HAIM are done pretending and ready to be themselves. By learning to embrace the power in their weakest points, the group have created their best work to date.


Amnesia Scanner's 'Tearless' Aesthetically Maps the Failing Anthropocene

Amnesia Scanner's Tearless aesthetically maps the failing Anthropocene through its globally connected features and experimental mesh of deconstructed club, reggaeton, and metalcore.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.