What does every rock doc tell us? Success in the music biz comes at a price, paid in any manner of ways from the brawling egos of Dig! to the therapy sessions in Metallica: Some Kind of Monster. Inevitably, every film in the genre's gonna have certain similarities (drama, heartbreak, testimonials as to the subject's tune-tastic genius); the best of the bunch also feature a compelling story, aided by access that opens up a little corner on a world that makes millionaires of a few while viciously stomping on the dreams of many.
Jeroen Berkvens's A Skin Too Few: The Days of Nick Drake is barely feature length at 48 minutes, which makes sense when you learn that the singer-songwriter was only 26 when he died, leaving behind precious few photos and zero films of his all-too-rare gigs. The talent of the enigmatic Drake now known as "that guy who sang that song on that Volkswagon ad" is discussed in worshipful tones by Paul Weller and others; his hushed, folky songs are played over footage of city- and landscapes, with the suggestion that Drake's music must be the chief means of unlocking his mystique. Other valuable insights are provided by Drake's sister, Gabrielle, who reads his letters and points out that despite coming from a privileged, supportive family, he was depressed for almost all of his life. "I think he had rejected the world," Drake's mother recalls on an audio recording made after the musician's fatal overdose. "Nothing made him happy."
Bummed out yet? Why not? Fortunately, Chris Suchorsky's Golden Days injects some hope into its tale of Brooklyn band the Damnwell's long, hard road to discovering that signing with a major label can be more trouble than it's worth. Technically slick, Golden Days is an engaging tale, even if you don't care for the Damnwell's brand of upbeat pop rock which exactly matches their nice-guy personalities. As two band members are listed among the film's producers, I can't help wondering if there were any ugly scenes left on the cutting-room floor. Fistfights? Drug binges? Brawling egos? Not behind this music, apparently.
Sat/29, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3, 9:15 p.m.
Roxie Film Center
A SKIN TOO FEW
Oct. 3, 7 p.m.; Oct. 9, 5 p.m.
Roxie Film Center