Sunday, August 30, 2009

Taking Woodstock

Ah well,

With the end of the week comes this weeks movie in review...

Taking Woodstock appears to be Ang Lee's interpretation of how events leading up to and during the three day music festival might have effected the life of a quirky Jewish family running a motel in the small town of White Lake, New York.

The movie was not quite what I'd though it was going be. Sure it had all the funny stuff that you'd expect and caught in glimpses from previews, but really by the time all was said and done, I was asking myself one question. Where the hell was the music, man?!

I mean at some point, you knew it was coming and I didn't exactly have my heart set on listening to Joan Baez. I wanted to hear some of the good shit, like Jefferson's "White Rabbit", Santana's "Soul Sacrifice", or The Who's "Tommy". Good grief man, give us some Joplin belting out "Piece of My Heart", or at the very least, just a taste of Hendrix...please!

I went to see this movie with two very good friends, and while waiting for our orders at the BBQ Smokehouse in Sebastopol, we discussed the movie. I love to listen to these two, because they have far greater depth than I when it comes to analyzing any sort of production. It was unanimous, we were all surprised at the nearly total lack of representation in regards to the MUSICAL experience that was Woodstock.

My friends were much more knowledgeable about the details of Woodstock then I, they'd seen the documentary, and they knew all the facts. For instance, the actor portraying the big hair producer was a dead ringer for the actual Michael Lang. They were able to spot every portion of reenacted file footage, from the set up at Max Yasgurs 600 acre farm, to the chaos of unprecedented traffic induced highway closures, and piece sign flashing nuns.

It seemed to me that Ang Lee's vision was more a story about the atmosphere that surrounded Woodstock, and not so much the event itself. The main character barely made it to the event and even then only after reluctantly partaking in an acid trip with a very friendly couple in the back of a Volkswagen bus.

As I sat and listened to my to friends talk about what they thought of the movie, a word crept out more than once. I think it best described what the director had provided far too much of, and in my opinion rather poorly, stereotypes.

I was two years old when this event took place and quite literally living on an island in the Pacific ocean, so I couldn't have been more removed. Even still, from what I have gleaned in my forty some odd years, Woodstock was many things to many people, but to me it has always been about the music, really damn good music.

Politics, religion, and ethnicity, have always been bridged by this thing that we all love, good music.
That to me was what Woodstock was able to do for three short days in 1969.

So to sum this movie up, I'd say it was entertaining, and worth the watch - just not so much at the theater.

Next week, District 9.


1 comment:

  1. Hi Joe,

    I was blown away by District 9. No twee scifi there. I hope you like it. You and I are about the same age and I remember bits from the early seventies, but mostly what I know of Woodstock comes from documentaries and such. I wish the stereotypes could be avoided in presenting eras. It seems that whenever a production takes on showing some historical period they give the audience what they expect rather than broadening the view.