Born Jonathan French in Beverly Hills, California and orphaned at 3 months old, this young boy was adopted by his Mexican nanny (Lupe Ontiveros) and step-father (Danny Trejo) and raised to ... See full summary »
Spencer John French,
After 17 years, things have got too predictable and stale. They argue, they visit a marriage counselor, Richard (drunk) visits a prostitute. They split up. After meeting other people, they ... See full summary »
Dick Van Dyke,
Hoping for positive publicity, a tobacco company offers $25 million to any American town that quits smoking for 30 days. Amidst a media frenzy, Eagle Rock, Iowa accepts the challenge while the company's PR man tries to sabotage the effort.
Oberlin College, 1959. Pete Seeger (who?) was giving a concert. Nothing else for me to do. So I went. This was one of the first times I'd gone to a live musical performance, so perhaps that's why I was totally blown away. Probably not, though. No, I don't remember a single one of the songs he sang. What I do remember, though, is the way I felt -- we all felt -- as members of an auditorium-wide family. We listened; we sang along, we played the "Divide the audience into groups and sing rounds" game. Or maybe the men sing one verse and the women sing another. It was fun. It felt good.
I don't think anyone there thought that we were participating in an historical movement. I know I didn't. But we were. The perspective just wasn't there for us at that time.
This movie provides the perspective. As a performer, Seeger's musicianship is impressive. His reedy voice delivers lyrics strongly and convincingly. But there's more. He has said that rather than have the audience sit attentively, quietly and respectfully, listening to him sing, he wants to hear them sing. He helps them sing. He cajoles, tweaks, shames, damn near forces them to sing.
While this documentary is not a sermon, Seeger himself has an agenda and it is shown. He has been called "An Inconvenient Artist." His music is good music. It has been given credit (or blame) for influencing several generations of young people to ask the difficult questions about their government and themselves. Two small "bits" that I especially enjoyed were Arlo Guthrie on dealing with pamphlets and why the FBI was responsible for the renewed interest in Folk Music in the 50's and 60's.
The movie, like Seeger, is entertaining. The time (90 minutes) will pass all too swiftly. It might be difficult to find (Art Houses and such). Take the time to look for it and go see it. I predict that you will be glad you did. Trust me: have I ever lied to you before?
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