20 Music Movies to Get You Through Thanksgiving
They say that idle hands are the work of the devil, but in this climate, with all of this negativity swirling around us, downtime is good. As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, you're going to have a HELL of a lot of downtime — downtime to travel, downtime for digestion, downtime to avoid family interaction and downtime to just relax. You'll come out on the other side a better person, believe us.
Unless you find it therapeutic to sit and stare at the wall — which, in all fairness, very well might work for you — we've prepared this list of music-related films for you to watch during the in-between times, all of which will be the perfect foil for that potential conversation with your family about the importance of a Trump presidency. God save us all, and good luck.
The super-hyped Oasis documentary is every bit as good as they say it is, despite the fact that the entirety of the Blur beef is glossed over and it only covers the "glory years" up until 1996. Despite that, it's filled with behind the scenes information and incredible archival, plus it's funny as hell. ICYMI, check out our review.
Directed by the great Jim Jarmusch, this new documentary on Iggy Pop and the Stooges is a great standalone piece on the formation of this legendary band, the complex (and not-so-complex) personalities that made it up and the tunes that changed the world.
Even before Herr Donald’s ascendancy, this was the scariest movie of 2016. Touring band covers “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” to agitate shitheads at Pacific Northwest skinhead bar. Utterly disquieting, gory, ruthless clusterfuck ensues. Give Marvel House Style a break and “salute” this indie hellscape instead.
“All right, I know you guys think I'm a dick ... cheese ... burger, or whatever.” Michael McKean, never leave us. At least not for another four years.
SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL
This Godard film is half art film, and half what could be one of the greatest rock documentaries ever made. In between cuts from the Vietnam war and art set pieces, Godard tracks the entirety of the classic Stones song as the band made it ... from throwaway Dylan-esque doo-doo to the bongo-heavy classic that is played so often to this day. This film is a literal piece of history.
FAITH NO MORE — YOU FAT BASTARDS: LIVE AT THE BRIXTON ACADEMY
Never been a more appropriate title for a Thanksgiving movie. Real Thing-era FNM bust out most of their breakout album. No piss-drinking here since it's an official band product (surely still available on VHS for $9.99 in a Tower Records landfill), so other than Patton ad-libbing "fuck" into "Epic," it's (relatively) family-friendly.
THIS IS SPINAL TAP
No music-oriented movie marathon is complete without a viewing of this classic mockumentary detailing the rise, fall and redemption of the world’s most inept metal band. Crank it up to 11 and let the good times roll.
LOS PUNKS: WE ARE ALL WE HAVE
Released earlier this year, Angela Boatwright’s documentary follows the misfits and underdogs keeping Los Angeles’ punk scene alive, 30 years after its heyday in the '80s. It’s a wild ride, not to mention an essential shot of anarchic adrenaline in these trying political times.
HEAVY METAL PARKING LOT
Heavy Metal Parking Lot is one of the biggest cult classics in music-related cinema, and understandably so. The 17-minute short offers a unfiltered, hilarious look at first-generation metalheads in their natural habitat: a riotous tailgate outside a 1986 Judas Priest concert in Maryland. Thirty years later, the party hasn’t lost an ounce of pizzazz.
The lost Gregg Araki finale to his '90s hyperqueer "Teenage Apocalypse" trilogy is a solidification of every parental censor group fear of what teens were up to late at night. With a weird cast of some of the '90s' most popular stars, Nowhere creates an atmosphere where the world has ended, and all teens care about is whether or not they're going to get high (which is probably true). The wild script is also backed by a soundtrack too good; the film can't get pressed to DVD without paying out the ass on royalties. So, torrent a copy and enjoy the sweet tunes of Slowdive, Nine Inch Nails, Catherine Wheel, Sonic Youth and much more.
DETROIT ROCK CITY
Do you ever get bummed out that you're no longer as much of a fanboy over anything the way you were when you were younger? Lucky for you, KISS produced one of the most ridiculous odes to themselves possible in the form of Detroit Rock City. The movie follows four doofy stoners in 1978 on their quest from Cleveland to Detroit to watch their favorite face-painted foursome rock shit in their prime. It's a wild movie, a greatest hits of both '70s hard rock and nostalgia for devoting your time and energy to one band.
RELEASE THE BATS
It's hard to think about Fall Out Boy as being anything other than huge pop stars. But back in early 2005, they were straddling the line between underground pop-punk sensations and the next big thing in the genre. Release the Bats captures this period of time, showing Fall Out Boy doing the most ridiculous shit in between tour stops. The video is closer to Jackass than any traditional doc, featuring bassist Pete Wentz drinking piss, causing general mayhem and filming his other mid-2000s emo brethren playing music. It's a weird blast from the past, a perfect picture of a strange time for emo.
METALLICA: CLIFF 'EM ALL
It's been 30 years and, despite what everyone is telling you right now, nothing nothing NOTHING can hold a candle to Cliff Burton-era Metallica. Arguably the most important and influential band of the era, and this is an excellent behind-the-scenes look at these mammoths.
DANZIG / DANZIG II: LUCIFUGE
This pair of VHS videos aren't just a great companion piece to the legendary records that preceded them; they're also an essential part of the Danzig aura and ethos. Both home videos are out of print and streamable above.
PANTERA: VULGAR VIDEO
A collection of videos, behind-the-scenes shots and tour videos from the then-untouchable Cowboys From Hell. Taken at a time when we were all sure that Pantera would become what Metallica had just forsaken.
G.I.S.M.: SUBJ AND EGOS, CHOPPED
Somewhere between industrial music video, live gig and psychedelic nightmare is Subj and Egos, Chopped, the infamous and out of print video on G.I.S.M. from 1992. While it doesn't do much to shed light on these legendary miscreants, the doc does add to the mystique and volatility.
NINE INCH NAILS: BROKEN
If you absolutely have to barf up everything you take down Thanksgiving Day, this long-form video for the 1993 Broken EP (directed by the late, great Peter Christopherson of Throbbing Gristle fame) should get the job done within a few minutes. Whether it's force-feeding a bound gimp raw sewage or the penis-puncturing performative high jinks of also-deceased performance artist Bob Flanagan, you'll never see NIN's heaviest collection the same after these 20 hellacious minutes. Chow down!
RUNNIN' DOWN A DREAM
This FOUR-HOUR documentary chronicles Tom Petty’s career from member of Mudcrutch to part of the Heartbreakers, to artist and collaborator with everyone from Stevie Nicks to the Traveling Wilburys. At that duration, you might think it’s a little too much, but director Peter Bogdanovich keeps the pacing intact.
RUSH: BEYOND THE LIGHTED STAGE
There are very few moments in documentary history that make our jaws drop, but the one where Alex Lifeson tells his parents at the dinner table that he’s quitting high school to play in a rock band gets us every time.