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Bittersweet Motel (2000)

7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 572 users   Metascore: 47/100
Reviews: 6 user | 25 critic | 17 from Metacritic.com

Bittersweet Motel is a documentary about the popular rock band Phish. The film focuses on Phish's music, with little emphasis on their die-hard fan base.

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Title: Bittersweet Motel (2000)

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Jon Fishman ...
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Mike Gordon ...
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Page McConnell ...
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Storyline

This film follows the band, Phish, through a year of its life; from the Great Went concert in Limestone, ME in August 1997 through the subsequent touring in the next year, leading up to August 1998. The director, Todd Phillips, said, "We weren't looking to make 'Tie-Dyed'; I wanted to concentrate on the music." Written by Vic Harrison <harrisvb@flyernet.udayton.edu>

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Documentary

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Release Date:

5 July 2001 (Netherlands)  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$38,454 (USA) (25 August 2000)

Gross:

$380,927 (USA) (8 December 2000)
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Quotes

Jon Fishman: It's like, why would I want to make a movie about myself again?
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References Pumping Iron (1977) See more »

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User Reviews

Flawed, but entertaining, uplifting and insightful nonetheless
13 February 2001 | by (Santa Fe, NM) – See all my reviews

This documentary of the travelin' band Phish is above and beyond a lot of "rockumentaries" out there. It purports to lend audiences a behind-the-scenes look at the band on tour, and does so as promised. A lot of people have said that they're relieved the documentary didn't focus on the band's somewhat infamous, huge fan base that follows Phish on tour. I agree that the lack of "fan" interviews was a refreshing surprise, but was annoyed to find that the few phans they did talk to were complete and utter morons: there was harmonica boy, the horny frat-pack, tripping groupie harassing Trey Anastasio, and lamely objectified nitrous-huffing girl. Ugh. It would've been nice if they'd balanced them out with some thoughtful, intelligent phan commentary. I know these people exist; I myself followed Phish on tour for a short period a year or so before this multi-tour documentary was made.

That aside, though, I enjoyed the live concert footage (nice that the filmmakers chose to play most of the songs all the way through, instead of providing lots of mere snippets), the backstage banter (a lot of it gut-wrenchingly funny, at least to me) and the coverage of the group's much ballyhooed European tour. Especially liked that the band had fun with the fact that a documentary was being made of them--gotta love the staged "accidental" fellatio going on behind closed doors--despite the fact that they obviously weren't always thrilled to have a camera crew tailing their every move. One caveat: wish Trey hadn't been such a primary focus. I mean, he's entertaining, but so are the other guys.

The editing isn't fabulous, but it's good enough.

One more thing: Even if you're not a "phan," you'll probably enjoy this film. You may even develop an undiscovered appreciation for Phish's evident creative talent, sense of humor and impressive musical chops. My husband had no real love for Phish before seeing this, and still doesn't really, but was glad he saw it nonetheless. As for folks who dig the band, this documentary is a real gem you'll probably want to get on video when it's released.


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