5. Cocksucker Blues (1972) – The Rolling Stones
A fly-on-the-wall kind of backstage documentary, Cocksucker Blues was to be a truthful look at what went on behind the scenes in a huge Rolling Stones tour at the height of their success, fame and, of course, excessive rock star behavior.
Scenes include Mick Jagger doing coke and groping himself in bed; crew-members having sex with groupies while the Stones watch and play percussion instruments; Keith Richards so unbelievably high that he can’t even handle his drugs right; oh, and also the Stones meeting Truman Capote and Andy Warhol for the first time.
All in all, it’s a very interesting and outrageous piece of history filmmaking, but the Stones thought it was too much (and that’s something coming from them), sued the director, and won. Now, Cocksucker Blues can only be legally screened once a year, and only with its director Robert Frank present in the very same room.
4. Let it Be: The Film (1970) – The Beatles
It’s very unlikely that we’ll see Let it Be: The Film be released while Paul McCartney and/or Ringo Starr still live. In 2008, plans to finally release it on DVD were blocked by lawsuits from both of them, keeping it out of the market – all because, of course, it features footage of the Beatles in the studio for what would have been their last album, leading to a pretty ugly break-up, and while most of the tension and real fights are cut, there are still quite a bit of tension and awkwardness left in.
We see how Lennon weirdly refuses to act interested in whatever any of the other members have to say, and there’s a portion right in the middle of the film in which Harrison is not present – when he returns, it’s only because the others agreed to let him bring his friend Billy Preston as a sort-of fifth member.
Meanwhile, McCartney condescendingly reflects on the group’s happy-go-lucky past image, and Yoko Ono hover around the studio all the time, even if only Lennon acknowledges her.
3. The Day the Clown Cried (1972) – Jerry Lewis
Jerry Lewis directed and starred in a film about a circus clown who leads children into gas chambers during the Holocaust. Yes, seriously, he thought that was a good idea.
It was actually a series of financial and legal complications that prevented it from being released, but Lewis’ own opinion of it changed over the years. In his 1985 autobiography, he still deeply believed everyone (including children) should experience this twisted story, but that later changed.
Nowadays, reporters are warned about not mentioning The Day the Clown Cried in their interviews with Lewis, and he reportedly keeps the only VHS copy of his film on a safe.
Very few people have seen it, and most of those who have report that it is every bit as wrong and disturbing (not in a good way) as it seems – actor Harry Shearer saw it in 1979, and said: “It’s not funny, and it’s not good, and somebody’s trying too hard in the wrong direction to convey this strongly held feeling”.
2. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003) – Sean Connery
Sean Connery was convinced he had fallen out of love with acting and filmmaking when he was done with The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, the frankly terrible adaptation of Alan Moore’s classic graphic novel. He has since announced his retirement, save for two minor voice-over works in a James Bond video-game and a barely seen British animation. You know who else pledged to never make another film again? Director Stephen Norrington.
The working relationship between those two was reportedly so bad that it delayed the production and the filming in a big way. When Norrington didn’t attend the premiere, Connery reportedly said to a reporter asking where the director was to “check the local asylum” – and while The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was eventually released to box office and critical failure, virtually everyone involved with it has since repudiated it, reporting that it was a misguided idea and a terrible working experience.
1. Don’s Plum (1995) – Leonardo DiCaprio
Don’s Plum as became somewhat of a Hollywood urban legend since its director R.D. Robb began running around trying to get a theatrical release for it.
Done in 1995 as “a favor to a friend”, in Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire’s own words, Don’s Plum suddenly became hot property when both stars became A-listers, and while Robb intended to release it in 2001, DiCaprio, Maguire and other actors appearing in the film filed a lawsuit to prevent it from happening.
It didn’t, at least not in the US/Canada territories, but it has seen the light of day in Europe, and everyone who’s seen it can report: it’s not such a big deal. It features DiCaprio and Maguire in atypically irritating roles, yes, and a lot of talk about sex and drugs, but not much of either of those things.
Reports that DiCaprio’s character was bisexual are also inaccurate (it’s another one of the characters), and there’s no nudity whatsoever in the film – actually, both its big stars spend the whole 90-minutes of it sitting in a restaurant, discussing their lives.
It’s a pretentious black-and-white indie film of the 90s through and through, so maybe it was only a matter of not wanting to be associated with a bad film for DiCaprio and Maguire.
Author Bio: Caio Coletti is a Brazilian-born journalist, a proud poptimist, and has too many opinions to keep them all to himself.