Lil Peep to Amy Winehouse — essential music documentaries and biopics

Lil Peep

With premiere details of the new Lil Peep documentary announced, we round up the best music biopics and documentaries out there — form Amy Winehouse to Talking Heads — and where to watch them online.

Executive produced by Terrance Malick and with a soundtrack by Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump, a new Lil Peep documentary is set to premiere in March at SXSW 2019.

Also executive produced by Peep’s mother, Liza Womack — who was also instrumental in making sure that the release of the late artist’s posthumous Come Over When You’re Sober Part 2 album was handled correctly — Everybody’s Everything also finds Song to Song producer Sebastian Jones and Animal’s Ramez Silyan at the helm, taking on directorial duties.

Succinctly describing the depth and breadth of Peep’s impact on fans worldwide, the documentary is summarised as “an intimate, humanistic portrait that seeks to understand an artist who attempted to be all things to all people.” An underground hero in his own right, the figurehead for his gothboiclique collective with Wicca Phase Springs Eternal, known for his personal warmth and sense of humour almost as much as his music, Peep created a unique mix of trap, pop-punk and emo that bridged generations and blurred genre divides.

Born Gustav Ahr, Peep had been rightly positioned to bring his music to the mainstream before his tragic death from an accidental fentanyl overdose in 2017. Everybody’s Everything is set to follow Peep’s journey from New York to Long Beach to Los Angeles — and from the depths of SoundCloud to Billboard success.

The documentary shows 10, 12, and 14 of March at SXSW, with a wider release to follow. Until then, we’ve put together a list of the best biopics and documentaries to watch online and where to watch them.

Stop Making Sense

Why you should watch it: Probably the greatest recorded live show of all time, Stop Making Sense is a testament to the unpredictable brilliance of Talking Heads and the near-unbeatable charisma of David Byrne.

Where you can watch it: Free with Amazon Prime Video

Behind The Candelabra

Why you should watch it: Brilliantly portrayed by Michael Douglas, Behind The Candelabra is an intimate portrait of legendary American pianist, singer and entertainer Liberace — a peak behind the sequin curtain of his lavish but deeply closeted lifestyle and into the depths of addiction and depression that come with it. Given that it’s Liberace, it is — thankfully — more fun than it sounds.

Where you can watch it: Free with Amazon Prime Video


Why you should watch it: A brief but bright light, Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis’ life was plagued by anxiety, depression and serious physical illness. Control is an unsurprisingly bleak look into his life (personally and as part of the band) and how those things were only exacerbated by success as time went on.

Where you can watch it: Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, MUBI

Heavy Metal Parking Lot

Why you should watch it: This is very much a what you see is what you get situation: filmed at the pre-show tailgate in a Maryland parking lot outside of a 1986 Judas Priest concert, this short is a rare, unaffected glimpse into the more human element of a declining subculture beyond the music itself.

Where you can watch it: Free with Amazon Prime Video


Why you should watch it: You know the story and you know, sadly, that there’s no getting away from its tragic ending. Like Amy Winehouse herself, Amy is not something to be glibly labelled a “cautionary tale,” but rather a hard look at the implosive pressures of fame and raw, undeniable talent when those things are latched info and abused by the people around you for their own ends.

Where you can watch it: Netflix

Straight Outta Compton

Why you should watch it: The story of NWA is a huge part of the story of modern hip-hop. If you’re interested in either — and both are fascinating in and of themselves — then this is a must watch.

Where you can watch it: Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes

Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened and Fyre Fraud

Why you should watch them: If you’re going to watch one of these then it’s worth your time watching both. Hulu’s documentary comes across as fairly objective and covers a fair bit of ground in terms of what actually went wrong with the Ja Rule co-signed Fyre Festival. Netflix’s turn, produced in part by FuckJerry — who were themselves involved with creating the whole sorry mess — is considerably less neutral, but significantly more entertaining, and is home to the countless memes you’ll have seen on Twitter. For a complete picture, get your eyes around both and marvel at the limitlessness of industry hubris.

Where you can watch them: Netflix / Hulu

Party Monster

Why you should watch it: Worth it for the extremely 00s cast of Seth Green and Macaulay Culkin alone, Party Monster — part Less Than Zero, part true crime movie — is both a tribute to and a sobering reminder of the dangerous hedonism of late 80s and early 90s New York.

Where you can watch it: Amazon Prime Video

Searching For Sugar Man

Why you should watch it: One of those great word of mouth stories, Sugar Man finds two obsessive fans on the hunt for a 70s musician widely rumoured to have died.

Where you can watch it: Amazon Prime Video

If somehow none of those piqued your interest, check out the biggest films and TV coming to streaming services this month.

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