The war in Iraq is the backdrop as the Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young "Freedom of Speech Tour" crisscrosses North America. Echoes of Vietnam-era anti-war sentiment abound as the band connects with today's audiences.
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This past May, Neil Young brought his solo tour to Toronto's Massey Hall, an iconic venue in the city of his birth. Jonathan Demme was on hand to capture the two nights, which highlighted new songs from the album Le Noise, produced by Daniel Lanois, mixed with classics like "Ohio" and "I Believe in You." At sixty-five, Young retains a youthful vitality and musical curiosity that balances his wisdom and experience. It's no wonder he's been an inspiration to the likes of Pearl Jam and Sonic Youth. In Neil Young Journeys, Demme intersperses the Massey Hall concert footage with brief scenes from a road trip through Ontario. Driving a 1956 Ford Crown Victoria, Young visits the rural town of Omemee, where he spent a key part of his formative years, and reminisces about his former neighbors and their daughters. As he drives past bulldozers transforming the landscape, he remarks, 'It's all gone... it's still in my head.' Written by
Couldn't Watch It - And I'm A Neil Young Fan (Of His Music Anyway)
This movie is unwatchable. I don't ditch out of movies very often but I could not slog through the boredom. Even the music is subpar.
I love Neil Young's music - at least much of his earlier catalog - but when it comes to pontification, Neil Young is no John Lennon...in other words, gems don't come from his lips. Maybe if I'd had a few beers I'd have been able to get through his rambling commentaries as he drives through areas that are of no interest. He almost seems as if he doesn't know what he's doing in this film - as if someone turned a camera on randomly and said, hey Neil, say something, we'll make a film! Doesn't work.
Jonathan Demme...what were you thinking, man? You seemed clueless in putting this movie together. A documentary needs to be thought out better. And what happened to the cutting room floor? You didn't seem to cut anything out of this film - and it's mostly warts!
I made it to 25-30 minutes and then I was bored to tears.
Sorry, Neil. You are not such a star that everything you do is interesting. How about some insights about your career, performance and song writing? Did you think at all about the people who'd pay good money to watch this flick?
It makes you wonder what the concept was here (if any thought at all was put into this movie). You can't just put a guy in a car and have him drive around to places only he cares about and call it a movie - nor can you take boring concert footage and make it work as a film.
Is this a documentary on a great songwriter on his way down? Even if that is what it is, it's too sad to watch.
This has the sadness of a Let It Be without the great music. But - as disappointing a film as it was - Let It Be provided us with insights into a band most of us idolized. Here, we get no insights whatsoever into Neil Young's musical life and he is not a man most of us idolize (if I can say so) - I believe most of us who like Neil's music simply tolerate him as a person (because the little I know about his personal life isn't all admirable).
The point is, Neil: what did you hope to accomplish here? And do you care about the audience? Narcissism is a drag. And that's the only thing that comes across in this film.
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