The Evolution Of ‘Where Everybody Knows Your Name’: The Theme From “Cheers”.

I’m a sucker for demos. I like to hear a great song come together. Who the Hell wants to hear dozens of static filled demo recordings and then sit through 58 takes of ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’? Me. That’s who.

I love that stuff and today we’re gonna take a look at a song which is even better than ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’, The Theme From “Cheers”. Or as it was originally titled, ‘My Kind Of People’. But let’s go back to before even then.

Cheers Single

From Wikipedia…

By 1981, New York songwriter Gary Portnoy had already written songs for the likes of Air Supply (“I’ll Never Get Enough”) and Dolly Parton (“Say Goodnight”). One night in the summer of that same year, his friend Judy Hart happened to be seated next to a Broadway producer at dinner. Upon finding out that Hart was working for a music publisher, he asked her if she could recommend someone to compose the score for a new musical he was producing. On a whim, Hart, who had never written a song, approached Portnoy, who had never written for the theater and, together, they set out to compose the words and music for the musical named Preppies.

In the spring of 1982, Judy (now using her full married name) Hart Angelo sent a tape of Preppies’ opening number, “People Like Us”, to a friend in California, who then passed it on to television producers Glen and Les Charles. Upon hearing it they each felt that, with a lyric re-write, “People Like Us” would be the perfect theme song for their upcoming NBC sitcom Cheers. Upon learning that “People Like Us” was legally bound to the musical Preppies, the Charles Brothers asked Portnoy and Hart Angelo to take a shot at composing a theme specifically for Cheers. The song that resulted, “My Kind of People”, was somewhat of a reworked version of “People Like Us”. It was subsequently rejected.

Portnoy and Hart Angelo then wrote and submitted two more potential themes for Cheers. One of them, entitled “Another Day” contained a lyric line “There are times when it’s fun to take the long way home” that greatly appealed to the Charles brothers. But, overall, the song missed the mark and was passed on. The fourth song began with a catchy intro followed by simple, alternating chords on a piano. The opening verse lines, both musically and lyrically, were something of a lament. The verse then transitioned into a soaring refrain that seemed to capture the essence of why people might want to go to a place like “Cheers” — a place “Where Everybody Knows Your Name”. The two songwriters recorded a simple piano/voice demo of the new song for the Cheers producers. Upon hearing it, the Charles Brothers gave it their stamp of approval and, once Portnoy and Hart Angelo had complied with a request for a few lyric changes intended to broaden the song’s appeal to a more general audience, “Where Everybody Knows Your Name” was officially designated the “Theme From Cheers”. The original verse:

‘Singing the blues when the Red Sox lose,
it’s a crisis in your life.
On the run ’cause all your girlfriends
wanna be your wife.
And the laundry ticket’s in the wash.’

Was changed to:

‘Making your way in the world today
takes everything you’ve got.
Taking a break from all your worries
sure would help a lot.
Wouldn’t you like to get away?’

After several months of mulling over possible outside singers, the producers eventually asked Gary Portnoy to record the vocal for the opening credits of their new series. (The chorus of the song is six of Portnoy’s vocals that he recorded one on top of the other to create the “group sound” of the hook.) It was also decided to maintain the simple feel of the New York demo in the TV version by keeping the number of instruments to a minimum. The final Cheers Theme was recorded on August 13, 1982 at Paramount Pictures in Los Angeles, California.

I’d read that Wikipedia article before and I’d always wanted to hear the original songs and demos but could never find them. YouTube’s a great thing. Here’s the evolution of the song…

Cheers Opener

You May Also Be Interested In…
* The Exact Opposite Of Happy Days
* Ralph Macchio: “Wax On, Fuck Off.”

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Published in: on September 27, 2015 at 16:33  Leave a Comment  
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I’d Like To Recommend Some Documentaries To You…

Hiya pals!
I decided to put a long list of documentaries together that I like because any time I look at lists of ‘Must see!’ documentaries, they all seem to contain the same films and they’re never extensive enough for my liking.

I’ll keep adding to this list from time to time and if there’s anything you’d like to recommend, let me know. Because I’m interested in EVERYTHING…

Animals

blackfishBlackfish (2013).
Aside from the fact that whales aren’t fish, this is worth watching. It’s about the orcas kept captive by Seaworld, which will hopefully cease to be a company one day.
Trailer HERE
Watch HERE

 

Dinosaur 13Dinosaur 13 (2014).
‘Two years after the discovery of “Sue,” the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton found to date, government officials seize the remains and claim that “Sue” was stolen from federal land.’
Trailer HERE

 

elephantThe Elephant In The Living Room (2010).
A lot of Americans are fucking crazy. This film shows some of them.
‘An American documentary film about the raising of exotic pets in homes around the United States, and the controversy surrounding the issue.’
Trailer HERE

 

RE Racing Extinction (2015).
‘Filmmaker Louie Psihoyos, along with activists, scientists and others, draws attention to mankind’s role in a potential loss of at least half of the world’s species.’
Trailer HERE

 

SHSlaughterhouse: The Task Of Blood (2005).
‘The day-to-day workings of a small, family-run abattoir and attempts to get inside the minds of the people who work there. It’s a hidden part of British life, but the reality is that thousands of animals are slaughtered every day in abattoirs. This film shows the process of meat production as animals are killed, butchered and stored in fridges before being transported to retail outlets. It reveals the attitudes of the workers to their task, their colleagues and life.’
Watch HERE

WWDWalking With Dinosaurs (1999).
‘Dazzling computer animation highlights this “speculative documentary” following the lives of dinosaurs from their beginning to their zenith – and their eventual decline during the Cretaceous period.’
Clip HERE

 

ZooZoo (2007).
‘Filmmaker Robinson Devor examines the taboo subject of bestiality. He centers the film around the case of a Seattle aircraft engineer, who died in 2005 after performing a sexual act with a stallion. The filmmaker interviews a number of zoophiles and uses dramatic re-enactments to illustrate their anonymous comments.’
Trailer HERE

Art & Artists

crumbCrumb (1994).
This documentary completely changed my life as an illustrator and 1 hour after seeing it for the first time, I’d started my own comic-strip.

“Crumb” follows the life of underground cartoonist Robert Crumb and his family. And it’s completely fascinating and weird and inspiring and depressing and funny and weird. And weird.
Trailer HERE

TMBTPDrew: The Man Behind The Poster (2013).
‘Feature-length documentary film highlighting the career of poster artist Drew Struzan, whose most popular works include the Indiana Jones, Back to the Future and Star Wars movie posters. Telling the tale through exclusive interviews with George Lucas, Harrison Ford, Michael J. Fox, Frank Darabont, Guillermo del Toro, Steven Spielberg and many other filmmakers, artists and critics, the journey spans Drew’s early career in commercial and album cover art through his recent retirement as one of the most recognizable and influential movie poster artists of all time.’
Trailer HERE

UnrealIn The Realms Of The Unreal (2004).
‘Henry Darger is an isolated janitor in Chicago, spending most of his time alone in his apartment. What no one knows is that he is completing an epic work of art within the four walls of his home. This work, a book with 15,000 pages and countless images, is unseen until after his death 1973, when his neighbors discover what he’s created. Jessica Yu uses Darger’s book to explore his life and mindset, supplementing his own drawings and words with interviews from people who knew him.’
Trailer HERE
Watch HERE

de-niroRemembering The Artist Robert De Niro Sr. (2014).
An all too short and heartfelt film about the artist Robert De Niro Sr.
Trailer HERE

 

 

pollockWho The Fuck Is Jackson Pollock? (2006).
‘A documentary following a Teri Horton, a 73-year-old former long-haul truck driver from California, who purchased a painting from a thrift store for $5, only later to find out that it may be a Jackson Pollock painting.’
Watch HERE


Biography

ElmoBeing Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey (2011)
‘Interviews with Frank Oz, Rosie O’Donnell, Whoopi Goldberg and others highlight a portrait of Kevin Clash, the man who brings “Sesame Street” muppet Elmo to life.’
Trailer HERE

 

Iris Iris (2015).
‘A documentary about fashion icon Iris Apfel from legendary documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles.’
Trailer HERE

 

JCI Knew It Was You: Rediscovering John Cazale (2009).
‘The film received its name from a famed line from “The Godfather: Part II” directed toward Cazale’s character of Fredo Corleone, and acts as a retrospective of Cazale’s distinguished acting career, which was cut short at age 42 when he died of lung cancer.’

‘The film was produced with the cooperation of Meryl Streep, who was living with Cazale at the time of his death. It features interviews with a number of his notable co-stars and directors.’
Trailer HERE

the-dogThe Dog (2013).
‘A portrait of the late John Woitowicz, whose attempted robbery of a Brooklyn bank to finance his male lover’s sex-reassignment surgery was the real-life inspiration for the film, “Dog Day Afternoon”.’
A must-see if you enjoy the film, “Dog Day Afternoon”!
Trailer HERE

 

imposterThe Imposter (2013).
About the 1997 case of the French confidence trickster Frédéric Bourdin, who impersonated Nicholas Barclay, a Texas boy who disappeared at the age of 13 in 1994.
Trailer HERE

 

LTMM Listen To Me Marlon (2015).
‘Actor Marlon Brando reveals personal thoughts on audio tape, offering insight into his life and career.’
Trailer HERE

 

 

TIgTig (2015).
‘Starring Tig Notaro and directed by Kristina Goolsby and Ashley York which chronicles Notaro’s trials dealing with being diagnosed with breast cancer and her attempts to become pregnant with her fiancée Stephanie Allynne.’

‘The documentary premiered at Sundance to rave reviews. Notaro hoped the film would be an “inspiring and humorous example of moving forward and taking risks in life as it continues to swing in every possible direction.”‘
Trailer HERE

takeiTo Be Takei (2014).
‘A look at the many roles played by eclectic 77-year-old actor/activist George Takei, whose wit, humor and grace have helped him to become an internationally beloved figure and Internet phenomenon with 7-million Facebook fans and counting.’
Trailer HERE

 

The WolfpackThe Wolfpack (2015).
‘Locked away in an apartment in the Lower East Side of Manhattan for fourteen years, the Angulo family’s seven children—six brothers named Mukunda, Narayana, Govinda, Bhagavan, Krisna (Glenn), and Jagadesh (Eddie), and their sister Visnu—learned about the world through watching films. They also re-enact scenes from their favorite movies. They were homescholled by their mother and confined to their 16th-storey four-bedroom apartment in the Seward Park Extension housing project. Their father, Oscar, had the only door key and prohibited the kids and their mother Susanne from leaving the apartment except for a few strictly-monitored trips on the “nefarious” streets.

Everything changed for them when 15-year-old Mukunda decided to walk around the neighborhood in January 2010, against their father’s instruction to remain inside. All the brothers then decided to begin exploring Manhattan and the world outside.’
Trailer HERE

Cinema

Cinemania

Cinemania (2002).
‘This documentary profiles five obsessive filmgoers in the New York City area, whose commitment to cinema has taken over every part of their lives. Some live off disability benefits, others have unknown sources of income. Every day, they see from two to five films, traveling between the many movie theaters in the city. The film follows them as they defend their unusual lifestyles, show off their collections of ticket stubs and memorabilia, and journey from one film to the next.’
Trailer HERE
Watch HERE

BTM Beware The Moon: Remembering ‘An American Werewolf In London’ (2009).
‘Twenty five years on, the original cast and crew look back on the John Landis classic, An American Werewolf In London.’
Trailer HERE

 

Superman LivesThe Death Of “Superman Lives”: What Happened? (2015).
‘Jon Schnepp delves into the story behind the proposed film to be directed by Tim Burton, with Nicolas Cage starring as Superman.’
Trailer HERE

 

 

HODHearts Of Darkness. A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse (1991).

‘In the late 1970s, as renegade filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola struggles to complete an epic allegory of the Vietnam War, “Apocalypse Now,” his wife, Eleanor, films his daily travails with a camera of her own. The documentary based on her footage details the difficulties of the large production — from weather-related delays in the Philippines to star Martin Sheen’s heart attack while filming — and it provides unprecedented behind-the-scenes clips of one of Hollywood’s most-acclaimed films.’
Trailer HERE

I know That VoiceI Know That Voice (2013).
‘A Documentary about voice acting. It is narrated by John DiMaggio, the voice of Bender on Futurama, and stars DiMaggio and many other voice actors, including Billy West,Tara Strong, Tom Kenny, June Foray, Rachael MacFarlane and Mark Hamill.
Trailer HERE

 

neverNever Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy (2010).
A four hour in-depth look at the entire Nightmare On Elm Street series. Jam packed and exactly what you want from a documentary like this!
Trailer HERE

 

Ray HarryRay Harry Hausen: Special Effects Titan (2011).
‘This is the definitive documentary about Ray Harryhausen. Aside from interviews with the great man himself, shot over five years, there are also interviews and tributes from James Cameron, Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, Nick Park, Phil Tippett, Terry Gilliam, Dennis Muren, John Landis, Ken Ralston, Joe Dante, Randy Cook, Guillermo Del Toro, Steve Johnson, John Lasseter and many more. For the first time Ray have provided unprecedented access to film all aspects of his collection including models, artwork and miniatures as well as Ray’s private study, where he designed most of his creations, and his workshop where he built them. In addition the documentary will use unseen footage of tests and experiments. Never before has so much visual material been used in any previous documentary about Ray. This definitive production will not only display a huge part of the unique collection but will illustrate the influence that Ray’s work has had on film makers during the past fifty or so years’.
Trailer HERE

RatedThis Film Is Not Yet Rated (2006).
‘Filmmakers Kimberly Peirce, Wayne Kramer, Michael Tucker and Matt Stone are among those who give commentary in Kirby Dick’s examination of the Motion Picture Association of America and the standards and methods its ratings board uses to rate the movies.’
Trailer HERE

 

Crime

Albert FishAlbert Fish: In Sin He Found Salvation (2007).
‘The life story of American serial killer and cannibal Albert Fish. In addition to interviews, period footage and photographs, the film also recreates many of Fish’s crimes in numerous re-enactment scenes.’

The story of Albert Fish fascinated me but I can’t understand why the director felt the need to include interviews with collector of oddities, Joe Coleman.
Trailer HERE

aileenAileen: Life And Death Of A Serial Killer (2003).
‘The film focuses on Wuornos’ declining mental state and the questionable judgement to execute her despite her being of unsound mind.’
Watch HERE

 

 

TBWTHT The Boy With The Henna Tattoo (2014).
‘To the world they appeared as model parents with a beautiful son. But the happy facade set up by Australian citizen Peter Truong and his American partner Mark Newton concealed the darkest of secrets.’
Watch HERE

 

central-park-5The Central Park Five (2012).
A documentary that examines the 1989 case of five black and Latino teenagers who were convicted of raping a white woman in Central Park. After having spent between 6 and 13 years each in prison, a serial rapist confessed to the crime.
Trailer HERE

 

CCCocaine Cowboys (2006)
‘Filmmaker Billy Corben recalls Miami drug wars of the 1970s and ’80s, when Colombian drug lords turned the relatively quiet Florida city into a breeding ground for violence and excess. Corben interviews so-called “survivors” of the era, including dealers, smugglers and hit men.’
Trailer HERE
Watch HERE

CC2Cocaine Cowboys 2: Hustlin’ With The Godmother (2008)
The sequel to the first one.
Trailer HERE
Watch HERE

 

american-mobInside The American Mob (2013 -).
‘Documentary film about the Italian Mafia and their organised crime activities in USA, mainly New York, between the ’60’s to mid ’90’s. Well documented with plenty of interviews and original footage. Story told by ex-members of Mafia, FBI agents and prosecutors at that time, cops and journalists. It explains how they functioned, the rule of omerta, which five families ruled New York and how; and also how the FBI and US government managed to dismantle them after 30 years of the crime syndicate being untouchable. Listen to what Rudy Giuliani, Joseph D. Pistone aka ‘Donnie Brasco’ and many others had to say about it.’
S01. EP01. Stayin’ Alive In The ’70’s.
S01. EP02. Operation Donnie Brasco.
S01. EP03. New York / Philly War.
S01. EP04. Taking Down The Mob.
S01. EP05.
S01. EP06.

The JinxThe Jinx: The Life And Deaths Of Robert Durst (2015).
‘The series investigates the unsolved 1982 disappearance of Durst’s wife Kathie, the 2000 execution-style killing of writer Susan Berman, and the 2001 death and dismemberment of Durst’s neighbor Morris Black in Galveston, Texas. It uses a wide array of existing footage including news, security footage, police evidence, and archival interviews combined with footage shot by Jarecki, which is composed of contemporary interviews, visual reenactments (some of which were shot at Jarecki’s upstate New York home), and self-reflexive footage of Jarecki’s film-making process and peculiar working relationship with Durst. Its complex editing style and narrative construction emphasize the contradictions within both Durst’s life and the bizarre and grisly murders he allegedly committed.’
Trailer HERE

MAM Making A Murderer (2015).
‘Exonerated after spending nearly two decades in prison for a crime he did not commit, Steven Avery filed suit against Manitowoc County, Wis., and several individuals involved with his arrest. Shortly after, however, Avery found himself behind bars again, this time accused of the murder of 25-year-old photographer Teresa Halbach.’
Trailer HERE

melvinJust Melvin, Just Evil (2000).
‘Melvin Just was a father, grandfather, and by all accounts, an incredible mechanic. He was also a child molester and most likely a murderer, too…’
Watch HERE

 

 

PL1Paradise Lost: The Child Murders At Robin Hood Hills (1996).
‘Three teenagers are accused of this horrific crime of killing three children, supposedly as a result of involvement in Satanism. As in their previous documentary, things turn out to be more complex than initial appearances and this film presents the real-life courtroom drama to the viewer, as it unfolds.’
Watch HERE

 

PL2Paradise Lost 2: Revelations (2000).
‘Filmmakers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky chronicle the appeals process of three men indicted for the murders of three children in Robin Hood Hills.’
Watch HERE

 
PL3Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory (2011).
‘New DNA evidence sheds light on the case of the West Memphis 3, a trio of men who were convicted in 1994 of murdering three suburban Arkansas Cub Scouts.’
Watch HERE

 

TSF The Seven Five (2014).
‘Former NYPD officer Michael Dowd tells how he and his partner committed a long list of crimes, including running their own cocaine ring, while on the job in the 1980s and early ’90s.’
Trailer HERE


Death

connollyBilly Connolly’s Big Send Off (2014).
‘Billy Connolly explores the world of death, dabbling in its customs and meeting those working within the industry, while sharing some of his innermost thoughts on shuffling off.’
Trailer HERE

 

BridgeThe Bridge (2006).
‘The majestic Golden Gate Bridge is one of San Francisco’s most popular tourist destinations. Unfortunately, it also is a beacon to people, struggling with depression, addiction or mental illness, who leap to their deaths into the waters of the bay. Filmmaker Eric Steel documents those suicides and interviews some of the victims’ grieving survivors.’
Trailer HERE
Watch HERE

deathA Certain Kind Of Death (2003).
‘Through interviews with various Los Angeles County morgue employees who calmly confront death on a daily basis, as well as actual scenes of corpses being worked on, this documentary examines what happens to the bodies of people who do not have family or friends to manage a funeral or cremation. The movie unflinchingly and starkly details how bodies are found and processed at the coroner’s office, and shows what happens to a person’s belongings afterward and how corpses are cremated.’

This film absolutely floored me and affected me for months afterwards.
Watch HERE

Drugs

BTHBlack Tar Heroin: The Dark End Of The Street (1999).
The film follows a simple structure, and shows the drug-related degradation of five youths (Jake, Tracey, Jessica, Alice, Oreo) during the course of three years. The film depicts their drug-related crimes and diseases: prostitution, male prostitution, AIDS, and lethal overdoses.
Watch HERE

Food

Deli ManDeli Man (2014).
‘Jewish culture reflects the heart of a vital ethnic history. As that culture continues to shift and adapt alongside mainstream America, delicatessen food – as its name suggests – remains a beloved communal delicacy.In Houston, Texas, third-generation deli man Ziggy Gruber has built arguably the finest delicatessen restaurant in the U.S. His story – augmented by the stories of iconic delis such as Katz’s, 2nd Avenue Deli, Nate ‘n Al, Carnegie, and the Stage – embodies a tradition indelibly linked to its savory, nostalgic foods.’
Trailer HERE

History

102102 Minutes That Changed America (2008).
‘102-minute American documentary that was produced by the History channel and premiered commercial-free on September 11, 2008, marking the seventh anniversary of the September 11th attacks The film depicts, in virtually real time, the New York-based events of the attacks primarily using raw footage from mostly amateur citizen journalists.’
Watch HERE

 

Music

AMY Amy (2015).
‘Archival footage and personal testimonials present an intimate portrait of the life and career of British singer/songwriter Amy Winehouse.’
Trailer HERE

 

 

anvilAnvil: The Story of Anvil (2008).
‘Canadian heavy-metal band Anvil delivered a highly influential 1982 album that would inspire the likes of Anthrax and Metallica, and then dropped off the map to begin what would become decades of toiling in obscurity. Director and former roadie Sacha Gervasi follows guitarist Steve “Lips” Kudlow and drummer Robb Reiner as they stumble through a harrowing European tour and reflect on failure, friendship, resilience and the will to follow even the most impossible of dreams.’
Trailer HERE

beatlesThe Beatles Anthology (1995).
‘The Beatles Anthology is a documentary series on the career of The Beatles. It was broadcast on UK television in six abridged parts between 19 and 23 November 1995, while in the U.S. it was seen as three feature-length episodes.’
Trailer HERE

 

LIBLet It Be (1970).
‘Initially slated to be a television documentary about the Beatles in the studio, this film, directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, instead captures the writing and recording of their penultimate album, “Let It Be.” After the dense complexity of “The White Album,” Paul McCartney wants to return to basics with the next offering. However, tensions within the band are high and quickly become frayed in the studio. The film ends with a rooftop concert in London, the last live show from the group.’
Trailer HERE

chuckChuck Berry: Hail! Hail! Rock ‘N’ Roll (1987).
Filmed by director Taylor Hackford on the occasion of Chuck Berry’s 60th birthday, this documentary presents the rock legend performing in his home town of St. Louis, Missouri. Joined by a number of admiring musicians, notably guitar acolytes Keith Richards and Eric Clapton, Berry runs through his classic hits to an adoring audience. The production also features behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with Berry and others, providing an in-depth look at the pioneering guitarist and singer.’
Trailer HERE

bowieCracked Actor: A Film About David Bowie (1975).
’53-minute-long BBC television documentary film about the rock star David Bowie. It was filmed in 1974. At the time he was a cocaine addict and the documentary has become notorious for showing Bowie’s fragile mental state during this period.’
Watch HERE

CB Cry Baby: The Pedal That Rocks The World (2011).
‘Cry Baby: The Pedal That Rocks The World tells the story of the wah wah effect pedal, from its invention in 1966 to the present day.’
Trailer HERE

 

 

dont-look-backDont Look Back (1965).
‘1967 American documentary film by D. A. Pennebaker that covers Bob Dylan’s 1965 concert tour in the United Kingdom.’
Trailer HERE

 

HOTE History Of The Eagles (2013).
‘Interviews, concert performances and archival footage present a comprehensive history of the top-selling U.S. rock band the Eagles.’
Trailer HERE

 

GG AlinHated: GG Allin And The Murder Junkies (1993).
‘Punk rocker GG Allin indulged in shocking behavior before his death by a drug overdose in 1993.’
Watch HERE

 

 

MOHKurt Cobain: Montage Of Heck (2015).
‘Filmmaker Brett Morgen uses material from the Cobains’ personal archives in an in-depth examination of the Nirvana frontman’s childhood, music career and untimely death.’
Trailer HERE

 

lemmyLemmy (2010).
‘Profile of British rock musician Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister, bass guitarist and lead vocalist of the British heavy metal band Motorhead.’
Trailer HERE

 

lennonyc

LennoNYC (2010).
‘LennoNYC features never-before heard studio recordings from the Double Fantasy sessions and never-before-seen outtakes from Lennon in concert and home movies that have only recently been transferred to video.  It also features exclusive interviews with Ms. Ono, who cooperated extensively with the production and offers an unprecedented level of access, as well as with artists who worked closely with Lennon during this period, including Elton John and photographer Bob Gruen (who took the iconic photograph of Lennon in front of the skyline wearing a “New York City” t-shirt).’
Trailer HERE
Watch HERE

TimeOnce Upon A Time In Norway…The History Of Mayhem (2007).
‘Interviews with central members of early Norwegian black metal bands about Mayhem, the early black metal scene and the crimes they committed.’

Watch HERE

 

RIA Rammstein In Amerika (2015).
‘Rammstein in Amerika, is a live concert video album by German NDH-metal band Rammstein. It documents the sold out show the band played at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York, United States’.
Trailer HERE

 

TFFS Twenty Feet From Stardom (2013).
‘Filmmaker Morgan Neville shines a long-overdue spotlight on the hit-making contributions of longtime backup singers like Darlene Love and Merry Clayton.’
Trailer HERE

 

harryWho Is Harry Nilsson? ( And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him) (2010).
‘David Leaf and John Scheinfeld interviewed close to three dozen of Nilsson’s friends, colleagues and extended family, who all shared their memories of Harry Nilsson, his music and how it affected them. This was put together in a documentary where we follow Harry Nilsson from childhood to death, enjoying the highs and lows along with him, from Grammy wins through divorce and substance abuse.’
Trailer HERE

WBMAWhen Björk Met Attenborough (2013).
‘Partly filmed at the Natural History Museum in London, the documentary features an encounter between Icelandic singer-songwriter and musician Björk and English broadcaster and naturalist David Attenborough. They discuss the nature of music and the intersection between music, nature and technology. It also follows the singer as she prepares for her Biophilia Tour, along with rehearsal and studio recording.’
Trailer HERE

The Wrecking CrewThe Wrecking Crew (2015).
‘The son of guitarist Tommy Tedesco pays tribute to his late father and a core group of studio musicians who played on some of the biggest hits of the 1960s and ’70s, including “California Girls” and “Mrs. Robinson.”‘
Trailer HERE

 

New York

nyNew York: A Documentary Film (1999).
‘Eight-part, 17½ hour, American documentary film on the history of New York City.’
Part 1: The Country And The City.
Part 2: Order And Disorder.
Part 3: Sunshine And Shadows.
Part 4: The Power And The People.
Part 5: Cosmopolis.
Part 6: City Of Tomorrow.
Part 7: The City And The World.
Part 8 (1 of 2) : The Centre Of The World.
Part 8 (2 of 2) : The Centre Of The World.

47thWest 47th Street (2001).
‘An intimate cinéma vérité portrait of four people with serious mental illness as their lives naturally unfold over a three-year period beginning in spring 2001. The characters are all members of Fountain House, a psychiatric rehabilitation programme located on West 47th Street in a part of New York City once known as Hell’s Kitchen.’
Watch HERE

Oddities

FK Finders Keepers (2015).
‘Amputee John Wood finds himself in a stranger-than-fiction battle to reclaim his mummified leg from entrepreneur Shannon Whisnant, who found it in a grill that he bought at an auction.’
Trailer HERE

 

HOAH Hands On A Hardbody (1997).
‘Filmmaker S.R. Bindler profiles Texas contestants trying to win a truck by keeping one hand on it longer than everyone else.’
Trailer HERE

 

 

People

boyA Boy’s Life (2003).
‘Follows a Mississippi family’s attempts to deal with an increasingly violent and erratic child.’

I’m no psychologist but I couldn’t see anything violent or erratic about this child.
Watch HERE



BullyBully (2011).
‘Filmmaker Lee Hirsch examines five cases of youths who endure vicious persecution at the hands of their peers. Ja’meye, 14, winds up in reform school after pulling a gun on the youths who tormented her for years. Cameras record the abuse suffered by 14-year-old Alex as he’s beaten and teased on the bus. Star athlete Kelby, 16, is ostracized and worse after she comes out as lesbian. Most tragic of all, two boys, one 17 and one 12, commit suicide to escape the torture.’
Trailer HERE

DZDear Zachary: A Letter To A Son About His Father (2008).
Trust me. It’s best that you know NOTHING about this film before you watch it.

 

 

SOTWC Genie: Secret Of The Wild Child (????).
‘This is an Emmy Award-winning documentary about a girl who spent her early life chained in a bedroom. Brought up in confinement, “Genie” was primitive, brutish, and hardly capable of walking or talking. NOVA follows the contentious attempts to unbolt the secret of the wild child who has reached near maturity in an agonizing seclusion with almost no human contact.’
Watch HERE

greyGrey Gardens (1975).
‘This film explores the daily lives of two aging, eccentric relatives of Jackie Kennedy Onassis. Edie Bouvier Beale and her mother, Edith, are the sole inhabitants of a Long Island estate. During the course of the documentary, they discuss their habits, desires and former loves with filmmakers Albert and David Maysles. The women reveal themselves to be misfits with outsized, engaging personalities. Much of the conversation is centred on their pasts, as mother and daughter now rarely leave home.’
Trailer HERE
Watch HERE

High On Crack StreetHigh On Crack Street: Lost Lives On Lowell (1995).
Particularly fascinating when watched after the Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale film, “The Fighter” (2010).
Watch HERE

 

 

FliesI Like Killing Flies (2004).
‘In 2002, an unusual eatery called Shopsin’s loses its lease after 32 years. Filmmaker Matt Mahurin goes inside the diner to figure out its gastronomic appeal, and paint a portrait of its colourful owners Kenny and Eve and they prepare to start fresh in a new location.’
Watch HERE

 

alone-nowI Think We’re Alone Now (2008).
‘Two individuals, Jeff and Kelly, claim to be in love with the 80’s pop singer Tiffany.’
Trailer HERE
Watch HERE

 

Still hereI’m Still Here (2010).
Director Casey Affleck follows Joaquin Phoenix as he carries out a plan to retire from acting and concentrate on a new career as a hip-hop musician.
Trailer HERE

 

TQOI The Queen Of Ireland (2015).
‘2015 Irish documentary film directed by Conor Horgan. It focuses on Rory O’Neill, better known as Panti, in the lead up to the historic referendum on marriage equality for same-sex couples in Ireland.’
Trailer HERE

 

F WordThe Other F Word (2011).
‘The film explores the world of ageing punk rock musicians, as they transition into parents and try to maintain the contrast between their anti-authoritarian lifestyle with the responsibilities offatherhood, the titular “other F word”.’
Trailer HERE
Watch HERE

woodsOut Of The Woods: Life And Death In Dirty Dave’s Homeless Camp (2012).
‘Follows the life and death struggles of homeless people living in a camp in the woods for four years. Arth directed, shot and edited Out of the Woods by himself after meeting one of the subjects, Dean “Dino the Dinosaur” Bieber, in a former drug slum Arth had rebuilt and turned into “The Garden District” in DeLand some years before.
Watch HERE

PP Pervert Park (2014).
‘Residents of a trailer park in St. Petersburg, Fla. — all convicted sex offenders — discuss their experiences living in the outside world.’
Trailer HERE

 

Places

saltonPlagues And Pleasures On The Salton Sea (2004).
‘This offbeat and often humorous documentary tells the story of the accidental lake and environmental catastrophe known as the Salton Sea, located in the desert of Southern California, USA.’ Narrated by John Waters.
Watch HERE

Popular Culture

Deep WebDeep Web (2015).
‘A film directed by Alex Winter, chronicling events surrounding Silk Road, Bitcoin and politics of the Dark Web.’

‘Covering the trial of Ross Ulbricht, the documentary features interviews with Wired writer Andy Greenberg and developer Amir Taaki. Winter is best known on screen for playing Bill from the Bill & Ted film series; Deep Web features narration from his former co-star and Bitcoin enthusiast Keanu Reeves.
Trailer HERE

pirateTPB AWK: The Pirate Bay Away From Keyboard (2013).
‘An intellectual freedoms documentary based around the interpersonal triumphs, and defeats of the three main characters against the largest industry in the known universe. The media industry.’
Watch HERE

 

babySexy Baby (2012).
‘An ex adult film star, a 12 year old girl and a 22 year old who yearns for “normal” private parts are chronicled in this thought provoking doc about how porn, social media and pop culture affect women and girls.’
Trailer HERE
Watch HERE

turtlesTurtle Power: The Definitive History Of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014).
‘The history of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle franchise.’

This is bursting with content! Exactly what I’m always looking for in a documentary. Particularly interesting if you’re interested in drawing.
Trailer HERE

Religion

GC Going Clear: Scientology And The Prison Of Belief (2015).
‘Filmmaker Alex Gibney interviews former members of the Church of Scientology and reveals abuses and strange practices within the controversial organization.’
Trailer HERE

 

religulousReligulous (2008).
‘Bill Maher’s take on the current state of world religion.’
Trailer HERE
Watch HERE

 

Space

MoonIn The Shadow Of The Moon (2007).
‘In 1961, NASA started its Apollo program to realize President John F. Kennedy’s dream of putting a man on the moon. This documentary retells the story of the program’s mission through archival footage and interviews with all the surviving astronauts, except Neil Armstrong. With the U.S. racing to beat the Soviet Union into space, NASA began a series of test flights, culminating in Armstrong’s 1969 walk on the moon and briefly uniting the world in awe of the United States’ accomplishment.’
Trailer HERE

Sport

MatBeyond The Mat (1999).
‘Barry Blaustein’s honest, intimate, revealing, highly entertaining, and critically acclaimed behind-the-scenes look at wrestling, takes viewers beyond the ring and into the lives of the men and women who inhabit this colorful, competitive, and surprisingly complex world.’
Watch HERE

 

LiquidStep Into Liquid (2004).
‘In a documentary shot in waters all over the globe, director Dana Brown takes on tall waves and surfers who live to challenge them. The film treks from the Irish coast, where a trio of American brothers take on the Atlantic surf, to Rapa Nui in the Pacific, where the Easter Island statues gaze out at board-riding daredevils. Brown also finds good surfing in unlikely places, like Wisconsin and Texas, and charts the rise of female surfers in a sport traditionally dominated by males.’
Trailer HERE
Watch HERE

Survival

strandedStranded: I’ve Come From A Plane That Crashed On The Mountains (2007).
‘Film which tells the story of a rugby team from Uruguay who boarded Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571. The film features interviews with the survivors who recount their struggle to survive after the plane crashed in the Andes Mountains and were forced to consume the flesh of the deceased.’
Trailer HERE

 

voidTouching The Void (2003).
‘Documentary based on the book of the same name by Joe Simpson about Simpson’s and Simon Yates‘ disastrous and near fatal attempt to climb Siula Grande (6,344 m) in the Cordillera Huayhuash in the Peruvian Andes in 1985.’
Trailer HERE
Watch HERE

The Titanic Disaster

GhostsGhosts Of The Abyss (2003).
‘Veteran filmmaker James Cameron delves into the inspiration for his film “Titanic” by traveling to the mammoth cruise liner’s final resting spot. Accompanied by a team of historians and friend Bill Paxton, Cameron uses unprecedented technology to take the viewer on an unscripted tour of this famous wreckage. This look back through time allows audiences to see never-before-photographed images and understand more about what transpired on that fateful night.’
Trailer HERE

Travel

mazunguMazungu Canoeing The Congo (2008).
Phil Harwood’s amazing 3000 mile journey down Africa’s most dangerous river.
Trailer HERE

 

 

War

DADear America: Letters Home From Vietnam (1987).
American Grammy Award–winning documentary, inspired by the anthology of the same title, directed by Bill Couturié. Using real letters written by US soldiers (which can be read in the book along with many more) and archive footage, the film creates a highly personal experience of the Vietnam War. The film won the Special Jury Prize: Documentary at Sundance Film Festival in 1988.
Watch HERE

Taxi To The Dark SideTaxi To The Dark Side (2007).
‘Explores the American military’s use of torture by focusing on the unsolved murder of an Afhgani taxi driver who, in 2002, was taken for questioning at Bagram Force Air Base. Five days later, the man was dead. The medical examiner claimed the driver died from excessive physical abuse. Taking this case as a jumping-off point, the film examines wider claims of torture that occurred at bases like Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay during the Bush administration.’
Trailer HERE

You May Also Be Interested In…
* Books That Are Better Than The Bible

Where Is Rik Mayall? …Oh Wait, There He Is!

Ah, I’m so pleased to see his insane face again!

Today, Mr. Adrian Edmondson put this photo up on his Twitter feed with the caption:
“Writing with this complete bastard today…”

Excited?
I know I am!
Click HERE to see just how excited I actually am!

* UPDATE!
(From Marion McMullen of The Coventry Telegraph of all people and places)…

THE boys from Bottom are back in a new show which sees Rik Mayall and Ade Edmondson revive their cult characters Richie Rich and Eddie Hitler.
(Actually, it’s Richard Richard and Edward Elizabeth Hitler. Get it right Marion McMullen of The Coventry Telegraph!).

The pair have swapped their filthy flat for the sandy shores of a tropical island in the six-part series.

Ade said: “It’s been a while since I last worked with that complete b****** Rik Mayall and I’m very much looking forward to bashing him about the head with various blunt objects. It’s the only language he understands.”

The show, called Hooligans Island, will be on BBC2 next year.

It is one of a series of new comedy commissions announced at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, including David Mitchell and Robert Webb in Our Men.

The show, billed as a comedy drama, stars Mitchell as the British ambassador in the fictional country of Tazbekistan and Webb as a devious diplomat.

Another show sees Father Ted writer Graham Linehan team up with Steve Delaney to bring the comic’s creation Count Arthur Strong to television.

The character, a pompous self-styled showbusiness legend, will feature in six half-hour episodes.

Executive producer Gregor Sharp said: “We are absolutely delighted to see Graham and Steve join the immensely talented group of writers and comedians making brilliant shows across the BBC channels.”

How To Cope With Death.

It really pays to watch television at 4am. The other morning, I was lying on my floor with one eye open when this utterly fantastic 3 minute short appeared on Channel 4…

“How To Cope With Death” by Ignacio Ferreras:

You May Also Be Interested In:
* “The Tannery” By Iain Gardner
* Pingu In John Carpenter’s “The Thing”
* Al Cook’s “Necropolis”: Cut Loose (Complete Version)

“The Tannery” By Iain Gardner.

“The Tannery” is a short 2D animation film by Edinburgh animation artist Iain Gardner. I caught it on TV by sheer chance a few months ago and it impressed me so much that I was kicking myself for days later because I didn’t record it.

At under 10 minutes, “The Tannery” is a really short film and because it aired at 3am, I wrote it off as one of those amazing little films that you only manage to see once and then never again.

…Ah, but Channel 4
Good old Channel 4 aired the film once again and although it still had the same graveyard slot, I stayed up and enjoyed it all over again. I even managed to record it and I’ve been playing it for anyone who comes to visit me.

It’s hard to explain the film’s simple plot without completely ruining it for you but stick with me, we’ll get there.

“The Tannery” is the story of a young fox in the snow who one day gets his brains blown out by a huntsman and instead of being no more, the fox becomes a spirit and continues on his merry way through the afterlife.

The fox makes pals with the spirit of a wee bunny rabbit and together, they run around in the snow having a great time and occasionally watching the spirits of other animals sailing up into the stars…

…AND THEN!
…Well, that’s as much as I can really tell you but the ending of the film could give the ending of “The Sopranos” a run for its money!

Just like its IMDB page the trailer for “The Tannery” gives nothing away.

Like I said, I want to tell everyone I know about “The Tannery” but it’s a tricky thing to do without completely spoiling the film so I thought I’d do the next best thing.

I tracked down Iain Gardner who made the film and I asked him a few questions and wouldn’t ya know it, he actually answered them!
Enjoy!

Q. Hello Iain! You’re from Edinburgh and I’m from Glasgow. Shouldn’t we be fighting each other in some bar somewhere?

A. Probably best we take it outside.

Q. I was lucky enough to have caught your short animation film “The Tannery” not once but twice in the wee hours on Channel 4. I was very impressed. How long did it take to put together?

A. Uuuuuurgh. Months. 6 months of protracted development, and then 8-9 months in production. Actually, I’m foggy on how many months it took to actually make, as I became the walking dead myself in the process.

Q. When and how did you come up with the idea for “The Tannery”?

A.  Drink. You get asked this question at Festivals, and I’m keen to build on my mythology that a bottle of wine started it, but I was drunk when I got thinking that there might be wee sad souls yearning for the furs that selfish arrogant vain humans wear. It was years ago – the film started as ‘The Fox Who Lost It’s Fur’ and was a much bigger, more epic, story but the practicalities of budget and time meant that the tone of my idea had to come across in a much simpler and shorter narrative – still, I constructed it in such a way that I may still be able to pick up the story where ‘The Tannery’ left off. Still can’t judge from audience reaction whether it’s worth mining that seam.

Q. The film manages to be very charming, sinister, lovely and bleak all at once. Did you set out to shock? 

A. I certainly didn’t set out to shock, and fought hard not to do so – there were many script advisors attached to the film, and their main proclivity seemed to be gore and pain. No, I wanted to break people’s hearts! That was the main experiential emotion that I wanted to channel via animation. I’ve nothing against comedy in Animation, but the plasticity of the medium manages to trigger that reflex within the diaphragm that makes us laugh. Do you remember Bambi? Whether you love it or hate it, and my film similarly has its detractors, but that is animation at its most wonderful, when it engages your emotions and makes you cry. I’ve had a few reports of tears in audiences. Can’t please all the people all of the time, but mission accomplished.

Q. The film certainly broke my heart and it’s refreshing to see a 2D animation film these days. How many artists worked on the film?

A. I’d like to say one, because essentially it was a one man band. However, the wonderfully talented animator and illustrator Rachel Everitt assisted me throughout with rendering the artwork (not in the computer rendering sense, but in brandishing pencils and creating soft lines and shades, much as The Snowman was created), and a team of enthusiasts joined near the end to help animate the Hunter in his lodge (thank you Ulrike Keil), and additional support was volunteered from Andy Macpherson, Owen Rixon, Neil McDonald and David Bell. Not to mention the CGI team at world class Axis Animation, headed by Wiek Luijken with Drew Robertson, Stu Shapiro, Richard Clay and Dana Dorian. So with reference to the actual frames, I’d possibly claim 75% blood from my fingertips, and the rest shared with those 11 talented individuals – there’s also the musical talent led by composer Mick Cooke, and volunteers who helped scan the drawings into the computer.

Q. How big a part did contemporary technology play in the making of the film?

A. There was the CGI work done at Axis for a few moving backgrounds, and all the shots were composited in After Effects, with artwork scanned into Photoshop. But the performances were hand drawn, paper and pencil!

Q. I’m starting to find big glossy Hollywood 3D animation productions almost…too glossy and perfect. What are your thoughts?

A. Come and see the McLaren Animation at the Edinburgh Film Festival in June. You’ll enjoy that. And the International Animation programme. June 20th-1stJuly. Programme announced on the 30th May.

But yes, there does need to be more variety in animated features, but sadly it’s dictated by box office. Rent ‘The Illusionist’ by Sylvain Chomet. Watch ‘101 Dalmatians’ again.

Q. I write and illustrate a comic strip using a black biro pen and people continually tell me to employ software for a helping hand so that I can churn it all out quicker.I feel that the strip would loose any charm it may have if I did this. Do you have any advice?

A. Follow your gut. Who are these people?

Q. EXACTLY! What kind of things influence your work?

A. Time and money!

And alcohol.

I love Eastern European Animation – the fine art created by certain film makers within a certain period of time, not the ‘cooing’ mole we saw on telly in the seventies. Frederic Bac from Canada is an obvious inspiration to me (if you know his work). And I love Jiri Trnka, both as Film maker and Illustrator – it’s his centenary April 2012, check your local cinema (GFT?) and see if you can catch his stop motion films.

2014 will be Norman McLaren’s Centenary, he’s an inspiration  – look out for events celebrating that also!

Q. “The Tannery” is currently going around the World film circuit. Have you had any feedback from insomniacs like me who caught your film on Channel 4 in the wee wee hours ?

A. Well, here are a few of my favourite anonymous tweets;

it was like the snowman only more violent!’

It’s heartbreaking.’

Inadertantly (sic) just watched The Tannery.. Quite possibly one of the saddest pieces of animation I’ve seen ☹ JESH… !’

freakin the f**k out watchin this ‘the tannery’ fox movie! Incredible

felt like I’d been on an LSD sesh

Just watched a sick animation called the tannery. Made me think. Now…bed.’

These reactions probably say more about insomniac tweeters than the film though.

Q. Do you happen to know if Channel 4 has any plans to run the film for a third time?

A. Well, it’s been on four times, and if it’s on again I’ll need to check the broadcast agreement in place for the film! I’d love it to be aired when people are awake next time. It’s been sold to SBS Australia, and I’m hoping more territories will follow suit. Silent film is perfect for international audiences.

END OF Q & A.

Many thanks go to Iain for his talents and for taking the time to answer my questions.
Look out for “The Tannery”.

Here are some links:
“The Tannery” Facebook Page.
Iain Gardner’s Website.
Iain Gardner’s Twitter Feed.

You May Also Be Interested In…
*
Boris Karloff: “Tales Of The Frightened”.
* 6 Films To Keep You Awake.
* Thundercats & Jessica Rabbit’s Dress.
* Al Cook’s “Necropolis”.
 

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