From the category archives:

Doc Squawk

Documentaries are a huge love of mine and I find myself seeking them out more and more frequently. As a result I’m going to add a dedicated new category to the blog – Doc Squawk. Where I squawk about the docs, obviously. I may also chirp, bu-gock or even “review” them.

During my senior year of high school Oliver Stone conveniently created a major motion picture/biopic about classic rock band The Doors titled, intuitively enough, The Doors. Jim Morrison was played by Val Kilmer, John Densmore was played by an Entourage douche, Robby Krieger was played by a Pulp Fiction fruitcake and Ray Manzarek was emoted by a Twin Peaks twit. High-calibre director and actors equalled a solid flick overall. I thought that 20 years ago as a confused teenager – and still do.

“Faces come out of the rain? Who’d you buy this shit from?”

Although convinced I hated “classic rock” back in 1991 and spent almost all my time cooing about the Happy Mondays and Stone Roses, for some reason my group of friends and I were hell bent on seeing this movie. I remember the pre-flick “preparation” in the parking lot of the movie theater in Woburn, Massachusetts like it was yesterday. In fact, it’s amazing we were able to put one foot in front of the other long enough to have our tickets torn.

We came, we saw, we began listening to The Doors incessantly for the rest of the year. In fact, I distinctly remember creating mixtapes (of which I was a mass-producer) which contained both Doors tunes and the likes of Manchester masters like the aforementioned – plus perhaps Inspiral Carpets, The Farm and The Charlatans – all mixed together. And I remember why I did this. The Doors never had a bass player. The entire low end was provided by Manzarek’s awesome dual-keyboard adeptness. As organs were also a huge part of the “Madchester” music scene, the synergy was obvious to me at the time and I rest my zit-faced case.

I’ve retained my appreciation for the band over the last 20 years, well beyond the strange little pop culture fad I went through way back when. As a result, when I finally signed up for Netflix and hooked it up in the Man Cave via my PS3 last night, the first thing I watched was the recent documentary “When You’re Strange: A Film About The Doors ”. It’s full of first-hand footage the world has never seen before and there were many moments and mutterings I remembered (probably because I revisited it a couple of weeks ago) from Stone’s scripted movie. When Hollywood’s version was filmed said backstage/personal/home movie footage was available only to the likes of screenwriters and folks like Val Kilmer.

jim-morrison-miami

My point is, tons of the dialogue we see spoken in the documentary made it into the script of the biopic – and that realization enthralled the heck out of me. For example, I always had a hard time picturing Jimmy screaming, “You’re all a bunch of fuckin’ slaves, man!”, to thousands of people in Miami. I no longer have that problem. I really enjoyed and maybe even nerded-out a little over finally getting to see so much of what was source material for the film I’ve dug for such a long time now.

In short, loved it. Great insight (especially all the movie-like footage of Morrison being chased through the desert in a ‘68 Mustang – anyone know where and why that was filmed?) Fans of The Doors (movie, band etc.) have to seek it out. And in closing I’d just like to say… thank goodness my 17-year-old self never had access to peyote.

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