A documentary on the once-promising American rock bands The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Dandy Warhols, and the friendship/rivalry between their respective founders, Anton Newcombe and Courtney Taylor.
As the front man of the Clash from 1977 onwards, Joe Strummer changed people's lives forever. Four years after his death, his influence reaches out around the world, more strongly now than ... See full summary »
A feature-length documentary film about hip-hop DJing, otherwise known as turntablism. From the South Bronx in the 1970s to San Francisco now, the world's best scratchers, beat-diggers, ... See full summary »
On the edge of the 30th anniversary of punk rock, Punk's Not Dead takes you into the sweaty underground clubs, backyard parties, recording studios, and yes, shopping malls and stadium shows... See full summary »
This feature length documentary captures the band during early performances in New York at Kenny's Castaways and Max's Kansas City, then follows the Dolls on their tour of the west coast, ... See full summary »
Blessed are the meek rock 'n roll gods, for they shall inherit the earth
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.
32 of 35 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?