Whether it’s the oldies but goodies performing at Ravinia or classic rock on the radio, summer brings out our nostalgic sides. Take a trip down memory lane to the '60s and '70s with this mix of documentaries and feature films, from the dreamy music scene to the tumultuous political landscape.
Visit the library to check out DVDs or Blu-rays, or place your selection/s on hold and pick up at the drive-up window.
With a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and Roger Ebert’s endorsement (“may be the best documentary ever made in America”), Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace & Music (DVD) is an unbeatable look at the mother of all music festivals. Originally released in 1970 but now featuring additional footage, director Michael Wadleigh beautifully captures the festival, producing the next best thing to actually having been there. Alternating between footage of performances and concert-goers, and covering the evolution of the event from hesitant planning to triumphant execution, this is an immersive viewing experience.
Turning twenty last year, Almost Famous (DVD) has become a cult classic for its endearing ensemble cast, memorable soundtrack, and funny yet touching coming-of-age story. This ode to music, and the joy and heartbreak it can bring, follows a young amateur reporter on his travels with a fictional band (you'll swear you’ve heard them before) and the one-of-a-kind characters who float in and out of their lives. Credit the sense of warmth and authenticity (despite the hard-living rock-and-roll lifestyle) to director Cameron Crowe, whose real-life experiences as a teenage writer for Rolling Stone inspired the movie.
The Wrecking Crew (DVD & Blu-ray, Hoopla, Kanopy) steps beyond the spotlight to celebrate the talented session musicians who backed up the era's hit-makers. A tribute to these hardworking and overlooked musicians as well as a a behind-the-scenes look at the music-making process, this is a fascinating story of the world of recording. This acclaimed documentary brings to life the names in album liner notes and gives viewers a renewed appreciation for the chart-toppers of the '60s.
The Sunshine Makers (Hoopla and Kanopy) takes a lighthearted look at three big letters behind the counterculture movement: LSD. This documentary follows Tim Scully and Nick Sand, and their mind-blowing (both in scale and mind-altering property) operation to spread peace through their own brand of LSD. Convinced that everyone would get along better if they dabbled in drugs, the duo’s idealist intentions are a throwback to the possibilities of the '60s, even if the end result was a jail sentence.
Medium Cool (DVD) combines real-life footage with fictionalized scenes to create a unique, unsettling look at the 1968 Democratic National Convention and the impact of politics on daily lives. Known for his documentaries, director Haskell Wexler applies his powerful cinematographic style to the social unrest in Chicago as seen through the eyes of a disillusioned TV cameraman.
Despite the timeless tunes and flower power vibes of the early seventies, the political atmosphere of the nation was in constant turmoil. Set in 1971, The Post (DVD & Blu-ray) is a star-studded look at how our government meddled in global affairs and what that meant for people at home. Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep shine in their performances as major players at The Washington Post as journalists race to uncover the Pentagon Papers and the extent of the government’s role in the Vietnam War.
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