The Doors: When You're Strange (2009)

7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 5,756 users   Metascore: 55/100
Reviews: 33 user | 106 critic | 18 from Metacritic.com

A look at the late '60s and early '70s rock band The Doors, including rare exclusive footage.

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Title: The Doors: When You're Strange (2009)

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Himself (archive footage)
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Storyline

A chronological look at The Doors, focusing on lead singer, Jim Morrison (1943-1971), from the formation of the band in 1965, it's first gigs, and first album, to Morrison's death, after years of alcohol and drug use. Along the journey, we see archival footage of rehearsals, performances, and private moments including a Miami concert resulting in Morrison's arrest and trial for indecency. His love of the spotlight, his desire to be a poet, and his alcohol-fueled mood swings lead to a back and forth between public and private desires, successes, and failures. The band's music plays throughout. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Genres:

Documentary | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexual content including references, nudity, drug material and language | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

12 May 2010 (USA)  »

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When You're Strange  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$66,833 (USA) (9 April 2010)

Gross:

$238,632 (USA) (11 June 2010)
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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

A mock newspaper clipping announces both that Sharon Tate and her friends have been found murdered and that Charles Manson and his "Family" are suspected. Manson and the "Family" were not identified as the Tate killers until December 1969, more than four months after the murders happened. See more »

Connections

Edited from HWY: An American Pastoral (1969) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Pretty good, pretty good, pretty neat, pretty neat, alright...
31 August 2010 | by (Liverpool, UK) – See all my reviews

Well, being a huge fan, knowing quite a lot of people in the Doors (full) circle and having been everywhere from Pere Lachaise to Rothdell Trail to Fairhaven Memorial... I have to say I did turn this on with a slight sense of anxiousness as to whether it would be another destruction of James Douglas Morrison's entire character as both the Oliver Stone horrorshow and the numerous vacuous "rockumentataries" have done.

However, I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised in the main. If you're a hardcore Doors fan then despite the claims of previously unseen footage, you will have seen most of this, few people have been to Paris without bumping into the likes of Rainer Moddeman and other well connected superfans and blagging bootleg stuff and HWY and Feast of Friends have been pretty easy to secure for a long time now as have tapes of Critique etc. But, I was quite impressed with what Tom Dicillo did with the footage, not only was he sympathetic and judicious with it but he accented the narrative with it almost as good as Densmore accented anything Jim did. Clearly, for the eagle eyed, he used footage from other events to underscore a point on an entirely different event but that's just me being picky - ultimately, there is a finite amount of footage that could be trawled. He avoided a lot of the glaring pitfalls one could easily make in such a documentary - for example he didn't get too caught in the trap of juxtaposing events in the 60's with the events of the Doors (there was some of this but it was measured and relevant) and I thought Depp was okay with his voice-over although he was a little dour and the script was at times a little prescriptive and compartmentalised. I do however appreciate that the film has to be appeal to more than the hardcore afficianados and that a balance has to be struck so I think the film really does work well both for those who only have a loose interest in The Doors (or even those just interested in the era) and those more fanatical about The Doors.

I know that Ray (at least) backed this film vocally which gives it credibility from the get go and I you have to give the guy credit for using only original footage. That said, this probably reduces the "filmmaking" to that of an editor so I don't want to be too gushing but still, give the guy his due, the end product is enjoyable, reasonably balanced, it maintained interest and it definitely had some nice touches in it which as I said derived from clever use of the stock material. It wasn't just the choice of footage; it was the more the way it was deployed and paced.

Maybe if budget (or sensibilities) had allowed, the film could have encompassed some other original footage (or other stock footage even) for those Doors fans who want to learn more about the Doors landmarks - be it shots of Venice beach or Rue Beautreillis but what I am glad of is the fact that they stayed well away from including interviews with the usual crowd like Grace Slick etc. which I think would have corrupted the output.

I'll watch it (and review it) sober again and see whether I feel the same but all in all, to quote the Velvet Menace himself, "pretty good, pretty good, pretty neat, pretty neat".


7 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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the footage of jim driving in the desert... sfdersh-1
Would have been a better film if it had had interviews with the Doors clive-ihd
Doors chronology error in movie cryptical70
A question for people who have already seen the movie skittles_funky_monkey
Depp to narrate filmbuff2
My review of When You're Strange m_morphose
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