Reviews & Ratings for
"American Masters" Lou Reed: Rock and Roll Heart (1998)

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Extremely well done!

Author: Kris Earle from Boston, MA
24 May 1999

This was a very interesting documentary on Lou Reed's background and evolution over the past few decades --- some great interviews and "cameos" by friends, musicians and critics alike! Check it out... if you don't like Lou already, you will - if you like him, you'll love him, and if you love him, you'll want an extra hour added on to this film. 8 and 1/2 out of 10.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Bitty doc about the Avante Garde Rocker.

Author: Spikeopath from United Kingdom
20 March 2015

Lou Reed,legend, simple as. Here under the American Masters series he gets just over 70 minutes of screen time, which ultimately isn't enough. For fans of his work, both solo and with the legendary Velvet Underground, it's "nice" to have something on film, to see him acknowledged, and I guess for interested outsiders this is a good "grooming" doc. Yet there's so much missing, key periods in his career are given short shrift and replaced by stock filler concert scenes - none of which play the whole songs!

Is there anything here that fans will learn that is new? Possible not. The newcomers get a sample of his early influences, from romantic poets to beat street artists, the Velvet Underground period gets good time, with welcome chatter from John Cale and Mo Tucker, then his solo work is covered by a series of interview snippets, with credible and interesting back stories to some of his famous songs. The live footage pleases the eyes and ears, while the roll call of back slappers is mercifully not over-killed.

But it's not even close to being definitive and that just comes off as a shame and wasted opportunity. 6/10

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Hot And Cool!

Author: ErnieSegarra from New York
18 January 2005

Once again, I'm Jo-Jo not Ernie - he's my husband and I can't erase his name off this site no matter how hard I try. Anyway, for a fairly recent convert to Lou Reed like myself, this was a really enjoyable film. He does seem to be an interesting person - definitely from the "Grumpy Old Man School Of Sexiness" (like my husband). Like several of you have mentioned, his marriage/homosexuality was glossed over; in fact his background in general was barely mentioned and it was one aspect of the film that I found a little disappointing. I would like to have heard about his family, relationships etc, but the insight into his career was pretty good.

My favourite part was definitely the closing credits - "Perfect Day" is one of Lou's prettiest songs (although he doesn't seem to be much associated with "pretty" songs) and everyone looked adorable. Patti Smith giggling is one of the sexiest things I have ever seen! I would love to see an expanded version of this with more info.

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4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

A Good Documentary Until Lou Himself Jumps The Shark

Author: wadechurton from New Zealand
15 October 2007

The other comments here mention the documentary's crucial historical omissions and gloss-overs, but it is worth adding that the final third is also something of a chore to watch. It is not the treatment of events, but the subject himself and principally his growing artistic pretensions which makes for sometimes risible viewing (the footage of the 'Timerocker' show looks very, very silly indeed). Before he gets too 'art and lit' however, this DVD presents a fine collection of Lou footage and amusing interviews well worth an eight out of ten rating. A pity he's such a tedious old master now, but at least he's still here to tell the tale.

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1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:


Author: cardcheat53
30 November 2004

Rock n Roll Heart is a masterful collection of late '60s Velvets footage. It skips a lot of the negative aspects of Lou's life-how Bowie and Reed did not collaborate for 20+ years 'cause they didn't get along; or how Andy and Reed fell out over a contractual agreement (Reed wanted to give Andy 20% of their royalties AFTER he collected the money, not the other way around-i.e. Andy collected all the money, received his 20%, and gave Reed the rest). The documentary does not cover the reasons why John Cale left the band (arguably, he was as important as Reed to the Velvet's sound). Like the previous summary stated, the doc. also skips his homosexuality and the shock treatments which shaped much of his music. It glosses over Lou Reed's personality-primarily that he is hard to deal with-a major reason why he has had difficulty finding a backing band. It does state (and rightfully so) that he is a genius. He is my Beatles and one of the greatest songwriter in rock's history. Get this for the footage, not the real story!

Also: Metal Maching Music RULES! Seriously. It is highly unlistenable, but that is the point! I love it!

However, Lou's solo stuff primarily SUCKS! Part of Transformer compares to the Velvets. Part of Berlin, too. Not much else though.

This just in: MOE TUCKER RULES!

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