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the music and off-beat style makes up any of the lulls in the interviews
I wouldn't say that Year of the Horse, director Jim Jarmusch's only documentary, is one of the all-time great rock-docs (i.e. Woodstock, Last Waltz, Pink Floyd Live at Pompeii), but it does have many good things going for it, not the least of which the performances. Although some of the interview footage goes into some lulls and conventions (i.e. 'deep' explanations of how the band works, the fights, the self-conscious attitude of being in a film trying to capture 25 years in 2 hours), it's not as boring as I would've expected from the interviews. Some people have said this is like a Spinal Tap film that takes itself too seriously, and I can see where that criticism could stand. However, Jarmusch has a lot of pride in his experimental style, shooting only with 16mm & 8mm, mostly grainy or home-video style. The results are something of a very personal view into Young and his Crazy Horse people, some of whom seem to be more 'there' than others. A couple of segments though, like when Jarmusch reads from the bible to Young, or vintage footage of Scottish views on the band/shenanigans with the band in a hotel room, are quite entertaining on their own.
But for those looking for just the music instead of the interviews or talk, the film may or may not meet your expectations, depending on how much of a Neil Young fan &/or Neil Young & Crazy Horse fan you are. If you're of the latter, it's probably a must-see, with songs like "F***in' up", "Slips Away", "Tonight's the Night", and a couple of songs I've just plain never heard of before seeing the film. There's also the finale, with a half retro Young and present-day (1996 present day) performance of "Like a Hurricane", which will probably be the highlight for those who only are familiar with the hits of Neil Young, or for anyone. The best thing that I can say about the performances, as a little more than a casual observer/listener to Young/Crazy Horse's music, is that there is always this uncommon energy between all the players in the band. Even if what they're singing is loud or distorted or "grunge", they are having fun on stage, and the camaraderie is an enjoyable part of the performances. Jarmusch's style with these scenes ranges from wild and cool, to a step or two away from being a little pretentious or, worse, MTV style editing. Most of the time though, his vision works for the material, and in the end what we get is more of a glimpse at what Young & Crazy Horse are all about- a pure form of rock & roll, harder than the solo Young stuff if not as hard as the rockers of today, and its definitely not of the 'corporate' product pool. B+
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