Monday, October 17, 2011
I remember living on a PMQ in Ottawa and coming home from school one day to find my dad and his best friend from college lying on the floor with the stereo speakers blaring next to their heads listening to an aircraft flying and then jumping to a really fast rock song over and over again. I just remember standing there while they were so excited about this record they were listening to...they would get up and manually lift the needle and replay this one song, and then lay back down again to listen. It was The White Album by The Beatles and the song was "Back In The USSR".
I also remember when my dad and I were channel surfing in the basement rec room of our house in Calgary and we stumbled on to a BBC show called The Rutles and just got right into the show laughing amazed we had never heard of it before. I have such a happy memory of just us howling and thinking what a brilliant idea for a mockumentary. We saw this just before the Spinal Tap phenomenon. I don't think the name mockumentary existed until Rob Reiner.(although there several genre like Woody Allen stuff and some British tv shows and Orson Welles radio play). It just seemed so brave to make a movie mocking the Beatles. And that first viewing as the credits rolled both my dad and I were so blown away that Harrison was the producer!
This weekend we watched the HBO documentary by Martin Scorsese on George Harrison Living In The Material World and it was really quite good. I thought there might have been a little too much focus on the Beatles years and less on his life after...but in general it was a pretty cool two part doc. Interviews with Harrisons wife, Ringo Starr and Terry Gilliam were major highlights. There was also some interesting clips of the Beatles tension just before they broke up. I must say, the clothes were pretty awesome and many many clips were things I had never seen before. We were excited to see this doc because we had been on the road with Tuffy P and Mister Anchovy when the PBS Dylan/Scorsese movie came out. I think we watched it one night in Nashville and the second part in Memphis. (how rock and roll is that?)
A great part of this documentary was the interview and little bits of back stories about The Traveling Wilbury's. And of course, since it's Scorsese we want to know...what and hw will he treat this story, how will he bring his own taste, and innovate making a doc? A lof of Scorceses legend has to do with music. He's made so many movies that study pop culture and used music in amazing clever manners in editing and references. Who can forget Donovan singing operatic over a violent beating in Goodfellas? Scorsese positioned The Clash in a street scene with Rupert Pupkin. And ne of the top five concert movies of all time is The Last Waltz. So how will he work with this subject and beloved person? Scorcese brings a lot of life to the movie with sharp editing. the soundtrack is often suddenly chopped right out...a contrast to the usual "Ken Burns" easy drifting of music carrying over from one cut to another scene. Scorsese dispenses with such comforting edits. I found this brought an unexpected energy to the pace of the movie.