Amy Berg wrote and directed this portrait of 1960s singing star Janis Joplin, and tells her story in a captivating way. Watching it, I realized I was aware of her career high points – blowing them away at Monterey in 1967 and Woodstock in 1969, chatting honestly on The Dick Cavett Show,
and releasing Kris Kristofferson’s “Me and Bobby McGee” as a posthumous hit – but little else. This documentary takes us back to her small Texas town, her high school days, and even, in a surprisingly touching moment of candor and pain, her high school reunion. The music is here, too – and one listen to her singing “Ball and Chain” at the Monterey Pop Festival is enough to understand why she rose so quickly. The fall, that’s explained by the rest of this touching character study, another American Masters
triumph. For a full review, see David Hinckley’s All Along the Watchtower. Check local listings.