Anthony Bourdain hosted back-to-back adventure food travel series first on The Travel Channel (No Reservations) and then on CNN (Parts Unknown). A chef by trade, Bourdain became famous when he penned Kitchen Confidential in 2000. This led to the travel shows and a new life away from home and the kitchen. Director Neville Morgan probes Bourdain’s suicide in 2018 and seems to pin it on his affair with Italian actor/director Asia Argento, who does not appear in the film. Roadrunner turns into a mediation on suicide. No particular advice is given on prevention. People around him saw Bourdain slipping into depression, but no one could snap him out of it or perhaps even tried. They all have to live with that.
This three-part series probes the deaths of three Mexican laborers who were killed on a weed farm in Mendocino County in 1993. Some people think a Big Foot or Sasquatch was responsible. David Holthouse investigates and Joshua Rofé directs. Holthouse learned of the murders while he actually worked at the farm where they took place. Years later he decided to attempt to solve the crime, traversing the state for leads. Via shakey camera live footage and animation, we learn about the history of cannabis in the famed Emerald Triangle along with reports of BIg Foot sightings. But by the end, it's just a wild Sasquatch chase that could easily have been squeezed into one episode.
Shoplifters of the World
Five Smiths fans are really bummed out when they learn the group has broken up in Stephen Kijack’s reverential ’80s flashback. During the metal/hair band/post-punk era, gloomy British bands spoke to disaffected youth. The five graduating high-school students already have enough on their plate when record-store staffer Dean (Ellar Coltrane), in desperation, goes to the local Denver classic rock station with a gun and demands DJ Full Metal Mickey (Joe Manganiello) play all four Smiths albums. Mickey eventually backs down from his hard-rock braggadocio (he loves KISS and Sabbath) and starts to dig the Smiths ever so slightly. A classic pot scene helps to break the ice when Mickey reaches for his KISS lunchbox where he has “some killer Colombian Red” stashed and pleas with Dean to “put the gun down and smoke some drugs with me,” which they do. Treated with kid gloves, Dean’s quickly released from jail, where girlfriend Cleo (Helena Howard) is there waiting for him.
Ross Ulbricht (Nick Robinson) - creator of the Silk Road website and subject of Tiller Russell’s biopic - wanted to change the world. For several years before it was shut down, Silk Road allowed consumers to buy drugs on the Internet anonymously using Bitcoin. “This is America,” Ulbricht boasts. “If you want to smoke a bowl, snort a line or pop a pill, that’s your prerogative. I'm using the Internet as an instrument of liberty.” But as the website grows in leaps and bounds, law enforcement begins to take notice. Embattled DEA agent Rick Bowden (James Clarke) is a dirty narc who's been reassigned to the cyber-crime unit. Considered a dinosaur for his old-school tactics (torture, for example), Bowden aims to prove them wrong. With the help of a hacker friend they find Silk Road and start tracing it back to Ulbricht and his partner in Utah. "The War on Drugs is a farce," Ulbricht declares. And he continues to pay for it with a life sentence.
In 1969, New York was home to a series of outdoor R&B concerts in Mount Morris Park known as the Harlem Cultural Festival. Despite the billing of big-name acts like Stevie Wonder, the Staple Singers and Sly & the Family Stone, this six-week series had been long forgotten until The Roots drummer and musicologist Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson got his hands on 40 hours of “lost footage.” He constructed his first movie out of those tapes. Musical highlights include “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” (The Fifth Dimension), “Oh Happy Day” (the Edwin Hawkins Singers), “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” (Gladys Knight & the Pips), “Everyday People” (Sly) and “To Be Young, Gifted and Black” (Nina Simone). The doc has been nominated for a Grammy (Best Music Film) and was named Best Documentary Feature by Critics Choice.