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Oliver Stone's homage to 1960s rock group The Doors also doubles as a biography of the group's late singer, the "Electric Poet" Jim Morrison. The movie follows Morrison from his days as a film student in Los Angeles to his death in Paris in 1971, at the age of 27. The movie features a tour-de-force performance by Val Kilmer, who not only looks like Jim Morrison's long-lost twin brother, but also sounds so much like him that he did much of his own singing. It has been written that even the surviving Doors had trouble distinguishing Kilmer's vocals from Morrison's originals. Written by
Denise P. Meyer <email@example.com>
My eyes were closed until autumn 1995, when channel 5 in Sweden showed The Doors. I taped it and didn't think too much of it in the beginning. The only thing I knew about The Doors was their song "Light my fire".
A friend of mine, who borrowed the film from me, told me he liked the "cave" scene and the music in it. I myself liked the scene where Jim climbs up to Pam's balcony. That was pretty much it. But then I noticed the song "love street" which is played in the beginning, and then I realized that the guitar intro to "The end" wasn't that bad. After that I bought the soundtrack and now I was pretty much hooked. I put my eurodisco records on a shelf and became a "rock'n roller", and Jim was my role model. My relationship to Jim Morrison is actually the closest to being a gay that I will ever be.
The best part of the film are the opening thirty minutes, where Jim "quits" his film class on UCLA, follows Pam home from the beach and takes her out on a night walk, rehearses with the band and "Light my fire" is introduced. Too bad we never get to see the band being formed. I love that story, when Jim meets Ray on the beach and that conversation leads up to Jim singing "Moonlight drive". This scene is also one of few which shows the real Jim Morrison, but I will get back to that later. Around this time, Jim meets his girlfriend with whom he stayed until he died.
After half an hour, the movie takes on in a different direction. It is from now on, a very dark movie. This is for a reason, and the reason is that Oliver wants the audience to see everything through Jim's eyes. The result is that some scenes are very surreal and after a while you may think that Oliver Stone himself took some acid before shooting them.
The negative side of the film, which have made many people upset, is the way Jim Morrison is presented. Jim is high or/and drunk in nearly every scene he appears in, and since the movie is shown through his angle the result is the surrealism and spaced-out scenes. "Jimbo" has unfortunately a bigger part than Jim. (See the movie and you'll know what I mean.)
I have read practically every book there is to read about The Doors, including the one named "light my fire", written by the organist Ray Manzarek. This guy isn't too happy with the movie. I see his point but at the same time, he confirms in the book that most of the things in the movie has actually happened; the back against the audience, the Ed Sullivan sequence where Jim sings the word "higher" on national television, the TV-throwing in the studio. Other things could never happen or are just simply wrong; the Andy Warhole-party where Jim is abandoned by the rest of the band (something that true friends would never do to one another), Jim's student project (his movie didn't look like that at all), Jim's red mustang (Jim had a blue mustang which he actually called "the blue lady").
Oliver Stone focuses the movie on the wrong things. Sure, Jim Morrison was a pothead, but he was also a very intelligent, sensitive, friendly and funny person. This is far from the picture most people have of him after seeing the movie. But if you know this, and just want some Rock'n roll in your life you will like the movie anyway. Another strange thing is that Oliver Stone has said that he loved Jim and wanted the movie to be a sort of homage to him!? Some homage. So the film is great, however it is not the real story of Jim Morrison. The only time we see the sensitive side of Jim is when he turns down an early offer from a record company man who tells him to "drop those guys".
The music numbers are the scenes that impresses me the most. The choreography, the lighting of the stage, and, above all, the fact that Val Kilmer actually sings all the songs by himself. Look at the "Not to touch the earth" sequence and you'll know what I mean.
And now we come to the best thing with this movie. The ONE thing that made me buy it and watch it about 30 times after that. That thing is Val Kilmer. An actor who hadn't made anything spectacular before this and haven't really done anything after it. He was born to do this part. It isn't the real Jim, but an alternative Jim who you kind of love to hate. But now I'm only talking about the personality. Kilmer walks like, talks like, sings like, and above all looks like Jim. And some looks. What wouldn't I give to have that hair or that wardrobe.
Besides Kilmer, there are many more great and well-known actors in this movie; Mimi Rogers, Michael Wincott, Josie Bissett, Crispin Glover, Kathleen Quinlan (who plays the very true character Patricia Keneally), and one of the few actors that I can't stand; Michael Madsen. Also, some artists gone acting; Billy Idol, Swedens own Eagle-Eye Cherry (whose scene were cut out from the final film), and if my eyes aren't lying to me; Billy Vera. And oh yeah, I almost forgot: MEG RYAN (arrr).
Also, do not forget to check out the cool end credits, with fast speeding pictures of night time L.A, being played to "L.A woman".
I now see that channel four is showing "Wall Street". Very appropriate way to spend the rest of this evening, don't you think? Of course, it can't be compared to The Doors but nevertheless!
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