Celebrating 17 Years of Film.Biz.Fans.
by P. David Ebersole and Todd Hughes
April 13, 2012 11:05 AM
7 Comments
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Rock On: 'Hit So Hard' Filmmakers Name Their Top 10 Music Docs of All Time

"Hit So Hard" Variance Films
"Hit So Hard: The Life and Near Death Story of Patty Schemel," P. David Ebersole's documentary about the life of Patty Schemel, the drummer of Courtney Love's seminal rock band Hole, opens in New York today after playing at festivals worldwide, including SXSW and Sheffield Doc/Fest. The film expands to Los Angeles on April 20.

To mark the occasion, Indiewire asked Ebersole and producing partner Todd Hughes to share with us their top ten music documentaries of all time.

Check out their picks below:

"The Decline of Western Civilization" (1981 Dir: Penelope Spheris)
The ultimate DIY punk rock documentary. From the stark black-and-white interviews with teenage punkers against a bare light bulb to the gritty and hilarious “at home” interviews with superstars of the then exploding Los Angeles music scene (like Exene of X and Darby Crash of The Germs), Penelope Spheris’ effortless filmmaking wove together a vivid portrait of a true blank generation. Lines like “Eat my fuck” and “New wave is a figment of some lame cunt’s imagination” have become classic. Our interviewee Phranc makes her first onscreen appearance here, as a member of Catholic Discipline.




"Lifetime Guarantee: Phranc's Adventure in Plastic" (2001 Dir: Lisa Udelson)
A touching portrait of Phranc, the original Jewish lesbian folk singer, who rose to fame in the early '80s but found a new career in the '90s using her singing and performing talents to become one of the nation’s top Tupperware salesladies. Even after performing her original song “Tupperware Lady” on the Donny and Marie Show, director Udelson deftly captures Phranc’s ultimate sadness as her butch persona is shunned at a massive Tupperware convention.

"Woodstock" (1970 Dir: Michael Wadleigh)
The classic concert film featuring some of the greatest musicians of all time was the ultimate backstage pass, depicting everything from rock-star drug use to naked hippies frolicking in the mud. Young Martin Scorsese was one of the film’s seven editors. The gorgeous use of split screen was a major influence on "Hit So Hard" (and features our interviewee Dallas Taylor who was the drummer of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young).

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7 Comments

  • Ben | June 13, 2012 10:56 PMReply

    This movie really did make me go to the record store and get everything he did.

    Be Here to Love Me: A film about Townes Van Zandt
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0423853/

  • John | April 14, 2012 2:14 PMReply

    What about COLOR ME OBSESSED, A FILM ABOUT THE REPLACEMENTS and THE DEVIL AND DANIEL JOHNSTON, the two most original rock docs ever made.

  • bob hawk | April 14, 2012 4:28 AMReply

    LET'S GET LOST is one of the all-time greats. Some others: DON'T LOOK BACK, GIMME SHELTER, MAD DOGS AND ENGLISHMEN, MONTEREY POP, STANDING IN THE SHADOWS OF MOTOWN, so many more . . .

  • Scott | April 13, 2012 7:05 PMReply

    Nice lists, lads (although I'd put LET'S GET LOST on the main one). And I'd also add THE LAST WALTZ and the Patti Smith doc, DREAM OF LIFE.

  • Don | April 13, 2012 6:45 PMReply

    "The Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame in Cincinatti"? First off, it's spelled "Cincinnati." And second, the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame is in Cleveland. Apart from that, though...

  • Ted | April 13, 2012 5:31 PMReply

    What about RIPHOUSE 151: Could've Been's & Wanna Be's? That movie pisses on Anvil!

  • Edward Copeland | April 13, 2012 3:39 PMReply

    Not even an honorable mention for The Last Waltz? Tsk, tsk,