by Francis Nayan
Go ahead and indulge on Christmas cookies and Pumpkin Spice Lattes with Netflix this holiday break, but look beyond The Walking Dead or another Mel Gibson movie. Here are a few movie suggestions for you winter break.
(Can be found on Youtube and television)
Real-talk, you can’t miss this one. It shows on VH1 once a month, and while stuffing your face with turkey, make sure you watch it. You’ll love it. This mini-series is about the legendary Mo-Town style group from their humble beginnings as high school kids singing on the corner, to Grammy Award winning music icons. Told from the perspective of Temptations baritone singer, Otis Williams, you’ll be able to see the story of the Temps from every triumph to tragedy to tap-dance. You’ll be entertained by all the classic hits such as “My Girl” and “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” with sweet dance moves done picture-perfect by the actors.
(Can be found on Netflix)
One of the best. Nowhere Boy is a gorgeously done picture of the melodramatic adolescence of John Lennon. The movie takes place in Lennon’s life from the age of 15 to about 17. It showcases Lennon (Aaron Johnson) as a young teenage rebel partying, fighting, stealing, scoring vintage babes, as well as his budding love for music and performing, which his estranged mother introduced him to. The relationship between the two is a major plot throughout the film. We know that Lennon was the leader of The Beatles, but the name of the group is never mentioned. Lennon’s introductions to young George Harrison and Paul McCartney are shown, though (sorry, Ringo).
Music is the Weapon
A documentary such as this is always going to be too short, but the function of Music Is the Weapon is in large part contextual and motivational. For those too tentative to dig into Fela Kuti’s remarkable 70s catalog, shirtless in his dressing room, or perform on saxophone for even a couple minutes, should serve as a trigger to begin exploring his impressive discography. Weapon was filmed after Kuti’s most fertile creative period of 1973-81, but it features invaluable live footage from his Egypt 80s period, several interviews about a broken Nigerian political state-—Kuti attempted to run for president right before the film was shot—and a biographical sketch of the man who coined the term “Afrobeat” after trips to Ghana and a Malcolm X-obsessed America during the late 1960s.
In Love With These Times
(Can be found on YouTube)
This movie is an ode to the DIY and the minimalistic aspect of garage music from the 60s to the present. As it pans trans-nationally, the camera focuses on artists like Jay Reatard, Black Lips, Thee Oh Sees, Vivian Girls and many more in an attempt to understand not only the exponential ascent of garage rock’s popularity but the reason these people feel so passionately about it. A wide-eye glimpse into a musical movement happening in your own backyard, there is a focus on the music coming out of Memphis, Atlanta, San Francisco, New York and other garage communities.