David Jakubovic’s pot doc focuses primarily on children who’ve benefited from cannabis. In one case, Rylie Maedler not only recovers from a tumor in her face with the help of CBD, she leads the campaign to pass a CBD bill in her state, Delaware. Rylie and her mother Janie are the stars of CBD Nation. You watch as eight-year-old Rylie suffers, gets better and then decides to head to the state legislature, which enacted Rylie's Law that allowed children to use CBD in Delaware in 2015. Now 14, she has a line of CBD products named for her, Rylie's Sunshine. The film clearly views the cannabis compound known scientifically as cannabidiol as a miracle drug that can be used to treat numerous conditions from anxiety to arthritis. No other point of view is offered.
Chuck Leavell: The Tree Man
Some docs are purely tributes and this is one of them. Allen Farst contrasts Chuck Leavell’s varied music career with his lesser-known environmental efforts and accomplishments. Leavell, who’s 68, got his start with the Allman Brothers Band (he played on the Brothers and Sisters album). By the ’80s, he stepped in as the Rolling Stones keyboardist, thus cementing his place in rock history. Meanwhile, Leavell’s obsessed with trees. He and his wife own a former plantation in Georgia that has thousands. A love of the forest led to advocacy and him being named Tree Farmer of the Year. Don’t miss Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Daryl Jones and Leavell jamming on “Tumbling Dice” over the end credits.
Color Out of Space
Based on an H.P. Lovecraft short story from 1927, Richard Stanley’s faithful adaptation portrays a bucolic Massachusetts farm that's taken over by an unknown alien entity. Appropriately named, the Gardners, headed by Nathan (Nicolas Cage), don’t quite know what's hit them, other than it has something to do with a contaminated well and a fresh meteorite in their backyard. Colorful special effects and creepy moments may cause some shivers. Also living on the property is a squatter named Ezra played by none of other than Tommy Chong, who of course smokes weed in his little shack. But it’s pretty much the Nick Cage show, with him getting angrier by the moment, lashing out at family members until he becomes a target himself.
Creem: America’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll Magazine
Rock mag Creem, founded by Barry Kramer in 1969, got its start in Detroit, home to the Stooges, MC5, Motown, Mitch Ryder and George Clinton. Creem’s key staffers included Dave Marsh, who went on to Rolling Stone; Lester Bangs, their Hunter S. Thompson; and Jaan Uhelszki, who wrote the movie’s script. Excessive drug and alcohol use eventually KO’d Kramer and Bangs, who were just 38 and 33 respectively. Creem closed in 1989, but has not been forgotten, proven by the many testimonials in Scott Crawford's doc, from Lenny Kaye to Chili Peppers’ drummer Chad Smith, who grew up in Michigan and remembers visiting the office as a kid, to former High Times publisher and PUNK co-founder John Holmstrom.
Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan
A shell of his former self, Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan is the subject of Julien Temple's debauched rock doc. For a decade, from 1984-1993, the Pogues were the premiere Irish punk band. But years of heavy drinking and eventually heroin use took their toll. In addition, a bad fall in 2015 fractured MacGowan’s pelvis and left him crippled. Now 62, he spends much of the movie in a semi-nod, slurring his speech during interviews. But don’t feel bad for Shane MacGowan. He’d tell you to go piss yourself.
Adrianne’s a stone-cold junkie. A friend of hers, filmmaker Tyler Chandler, decided to make a movie about her struggles to get sober. Set in and around Vancouver, where illegal opioid use is sky high, Adrianne (her last name isn’t given) uses while the camera’s rolling. But the goal is to get her help, which starts with psilocybin therapy (i.e., magic mushrooms) and then ibogaine, a drug derived from the African iboga plant and known to curb withdrawal symptoms. It’s a difficult battle for Adrianne, but by the film’s end she’s no longer having cravings and is on the road to recovery.