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New York Doll (2005)

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A recovering alcoholic and recently converted Mormon, Arthur "Killer" Kane, of the rock band The New York Dolls, is given a chance at reuniting with his band after 30 years.

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Title: New York Doll (2005)

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Directors: Nadya Beck, Bob Gruen
Stars: David Johansen, Arthur Kane, Jerry Nolan
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A recovering alcoholic and recently converted Mormon, Arthur "Killer" Kane, of the rock band The New York Dolls, is given a chance at reuniting with his band after 30 years.

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one man. two journeys. See more »

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Documentary | Music

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Rated PG-13 for drug content | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

28 October 2005 (USA)  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$17,583 (USA) (28 October 2005)

Gross:

$217,655 (USA) (10 March 2006)
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User Reviews

 
Blessed are the meek rock 'n roll gods, for they shall inherit the earth
14 November 2005 | by (Salt Lake City, Utah) – See all my reviews

What an enchanting little slice of wish-fulfillment cinema -- I love, love, love it. The thing is, this is not a saccharine Hollywood screenplay, Disneyfied for your viewing pleasure -- it is a real-life fairy tale inhabited by defiant glam rockers and blessed with a glorious racket of a soundtrack. Quirky, charming Arthur Kane guilelessly lays out his life for our examination -- his brief, joyous days of fame, fortune, and fabulous platform boots; his years of remorse and despair, boozing amid the ruins of youthful dreams; the healing peace of his newfound faith; and finally his giddy return to the beginning, as he finds himself in leather pants once again, this time viewing his fame and friendships with a wisdom, humor, and gratitude dearly bought over long years of struggle and spiritual redemption.

He is not so very remarkable, really, and that is what sets this piece apart from rockumentaries and gives it a warmth and depth that is lacking in that worshipful genre. Though he spent years living as a rock god, Arthur knows at age 55 that his long-ago life of fame was a gift, not an entitlement, and that he squandered it. Every audience member with a regret becomes invested in Arthur's story. He speaks frankly of his gratitude to God for lifting his sights and hopes again, but admits that the past haunts him even so. That mixture of peace and aching rings true and keeps this film human and honest even as we trail behind him, wide-eyed, watching him stumble gleefully on old joys and bravely confront his demons. There is a contented, bemused look in his eyes as he basks in the happiness of his reunion with friend and bandmate David Johansen while simultaneously parrying David's playful jabs at the finer points of Arthur's conservative Mormon faith. Gone is the glazed, drunken stare of his early days -- he now knows who he is and what he has and drinks every last drop with sober joy.

I take it back -- Arthur is really QUITE remarkable. Not because he and his friends were the toast of New York and London twice in one lifetime, but because he learns to see things as they really are, whether standing at the bottom of the heap or at the top -- an achievement that is easily as rare as rock and roll fame.

New York Doll is a winsome, moving film, and every time I think of it, it makes me smile.


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