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I Am Trying to Break Your Heart (2002)

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First-time filmmaker and award-winning photographer Sam Jones documents the recording of Wilco's album, "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot."

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Himself
John Stirratt ...
Himself
Leroy Bach ...
Himself
Glenn Kotche ...
Himself
Jay Bennett ...
Himself
Greg Kot ...
Himself
Tony Margherita ...
Himself
...
Himself
Wes Orshoski ...
Himself
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Bill Bentley
David Bither
Lin Brehmer
Chris Brickley
Ken Coomer ...
Himself
David Fricke
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Storyline

First time director Sam Jones documents the making of Wilco's fourth studio Album, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Named after the Wilco song that is featured on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, an album that strays from the Alt-country that made them famous. Jones' desire was to document the creative work of YHF's production, he seems to have found a bit more, including band members departing and a conflict with Reprise record company. This is a true documentry of art versus money-driven media conglomerates. Written by J. Robert Putzer <hoplite59@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary | Music

Certificate:

Unrated
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Details

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

21 June 2002 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$10,776 (USA) (26 July 2002)

Gross:

$445,521 (USA) (11 July 2003)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Sam Jones, the members of Wilco never complained or asked for space during filming. At one point, Jones said, "I had the camera next to (John Stirratt), pointing straight at him, and he flubbed his bass line. The song stopped, and (Jay Bennett) yelled out, 'That one was going so great!' I felt terrible, but John, ever the gentleman, claimed that I didn't have anything to do with him messing up. (Yeah right, you try doing your job all day with a virtual stranger pointing a giant camera at you.)" See more »

Connections

References Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A documentary for musicians... and I'm not one
12 August 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

There's something so intrinsically beautiful about watching a group of musicians work so effortlessly in their own environment. Their ambition and their passion comes through in the music, but only a film like this can capture all the details of this phenomena. I Am Trying to Break Your Heart is that film that captures the talent, the perseverance, and the passion of the band Wilco. It tells the story of their recording of their album "Yankee, Hotel, Foxtrot" and how they were given complete freedom to make the record, only to have that freedom stripped from them when it came time to actually release the album. This is a documentary made out of the love and respect for not just Wilco, but music in general.

The film is structured as one would expect from a film like this. We cut between studio footage and concert footage with some breaks here and there that highlight a very specific mood and atmosphere of the film. There is never a dull moment in this film as there is always something interesting going on either verbally or artistically. The studio footage is fascinating as we get to see the nitty gritty process of making a record come alive. We see the most trivial things receive long, sophisticated conversations. This documentary does a wondrous job of capturing what music means to these guys, and how strong their passion is for it. A non-musician type like me might not understand everything they are talking about during debates over the music, but it is still very evident that this band takes their job seriously and they respect and adore music to no end.

Then of course there's the concert footage which also captures a hint of magic and motivation in this band. They play in small venues where the music seems to become more personal as they rock out on stage. This footage perfectly highlights the results of their passion and tireless determination to make their album great. It is evident that these guys love what they do and will surely never stop doing it. They love making art as much as this film loves capturing art. This is a fascinating film that really does show what making art is all about, enveloping a look and feel that matches the somber quality of the band. Wilco's music and the film's atmosphere are incredibly in sync, showing further dedication on both fronts.

I Am Trying to Break Your Heart is also an interesting profile on the band's front man Jeff Tweedy. He is an incredibly interesting character whose love for music knows no boundaries. He does what he wants to do and will stop at nothing to make the record he wants to make. There is an air of pretentiousness to him, but I suppose it goes along appropriately with the amount of talent this man possesses. He and Wilco make great music, but they also talk about music in a way that shows how much more it means to them than the average person. And to see this unfold within the film is truly remarkable.

When you get right down to it, this is just a fantastically well made documentary, and that's all there is to it. It's more intriguing and introspective than entertaining, and it truly is a musicians film. The non-musicians are somewhat alienated at times, but one can at least respect the obvious passion and talent these fine gentlemen display. For a middle of the road Wilco fan who isn't a musician himself, this makes a very fascinating and very enticing one time watch. For musicians and massive Wilco fans this is surely considered to be a masterpiece.


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