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Wow! I haven't had this good a time at the movies for some time.
Usually when I post reviews I mull things over for quite a while but I wanted to put my two cents in while this is ultra fresh. What a great tribute to The Boss. The people who live, breathe and identify with Springsteen's music get the spotlight and showcase in the best possible way why we, the fans, like the man so much.
The stories they tell range from funny to really touching to downright hilarious on occasion. The way Springsteen connects with his audience is really special and it's displayed through some well chosen clips from relatively recent shows. The rare footage from live shows from way back-when is also a real treat for the die-hard fans.
I identified with a lot of the people and most likely every viewer will find something they related to as well. I'm a Springsteen nut so, to me, this was a perfect night at the movies. 10 out of 10.
As an added bonus there was a six song show/compilation from the Hyde Park concert last year (knockout performances of "Shackled and Drawn" and "We are Alive") that concluded with the Beatles songs "I Saw Her Standing There" and "Twist and Shout" with Paul McCartney. Seeing it in a theater with the sound yanked up way high is the next best thing to actually being at a Springsteen concert.
And that "Epilogue" was fun too. Seeing those fans meet the man and how gracious Springsteen seems to be; well it was a great ending to a fantastic film and show.
If anyone has ever wondered what the big deal with Springsteen is...well; "Springsteen and I" is the response I would give.
Well this is my very first IMDb review so here goes.. I have to say I'm somewhat of a latecomer when it comes to Springsteen and his music. My uncle has always been a huge fan and I never truly understood why until recently. I went to one of his concerts for the first time and it was something truly special, something I had never experienced before. I was there for intrigued about this film\documentary about the boss so thought I would go see it. What can I say it was a great tribute, funny at times but also very emotional. From the Elvis impersonator to the boss playing and singing in the street with a busker I thoroughly enjoyed this from start to finish. Springsteen's passion and energy on stage is truly captivating. The London concert at the end was a great finish, I was tapping away like a teenager at a 1D concert. Go see it, I am now a true convert!!!!!
For those who know me, it's no secret that I'm a huge Bruce Springsteen
fan. Ever since I got into music properly he's been my #1. Not only
does he have what I consider to be the biggest and best discography but
his songs speak to me in an overwhelmingly emotional and personal way.
I find it difficult to articulate all my feelings towards his music but
at the very least he was the artist who introduced me to how great an
album could be. I used to just like songs on their own or greatest hits
set to shuffle. But with Bruce and albums like Born To Run and Darkness
on the Edge of Town, it was the first time I looked at songs as having
a place and time and it made music 10x better for all my other
favourite artists. Shortly after my big Springsteen obsession was when
I started looking at music critically.
So it certainly looks like this documentary, Springsteen & I, is built for me. Even better, it's coming off the back of Life In A Day, a 2011 documentary I saw when it came out, immediately fell in love with and it remains in my top 10 of the year today. I feel almost honoured that its crowd-sourced footage style is being used next for a Springsteen documentary when it could've been used for anything else. I remember the day they first asked for footage and I quite regret contributing. Unfortunately I was busy at the time and I didn't have all the Bruce merchandise I wanted on me. But I am quite glad I didn't end up a part of it because it would've been rather strange to see myself. And having seen it, I see what they wanted now. They wanted the charming flaws and quirks of real people.
They keep in the outtakes. They keep in the eccentric people. They keep in the people who can't stand Bruce. They focus on people of contradictions as a young woman working on her masters degree who works as a truck driver and a middle aged man who breaks down crying while he drives. Just like the diversity of Bruce's songs, the film has its emotional ups and downs with its great sense of humour and people who are overwhelmed in trying to articulate what Bruce means to them. There's also some really entertaining anecdotes of people who've had encounters with him too which I'm glad they included and as they show people describing the events, it's matched with the concert footage. The documentary just encapsulates why I love Bruce. It's in the life he pumps into the world. How he makes everyday life feel like living life to the fullest. He brings people together. Through mutually liking his music and being together at concerts, in movies and now in movie theaters.
Unfortunately, the film is rougher and not as sharp as Life In A Day. Of course, when you have a film that's from the footage of everyday people and there's no standards of equipment, it inevitably leads to technical flaws besides the one area the director has control of - editing and structure. Although pacing can't really be controlled in each clip, the latter is the one department Springsteen & I really struggles with. But then there's no real structure to follow so it ends up as stream-of-conscience which sometimes feels like repetitive fan worship rather than cutting deep into why Bruce deserves his many fans. Fortunately Bruce's music interspersed throughout ties it all together. Non-Springsteen fans and casual fans will probably struggle through it but for the small but warm community that considers him #1, it's bliss.
Producer Ridley Scott and his company Scott Free productions made the
crowd-sourced documentary 'Life in a Day' which comprised of video
clips submitted by people around the world.
Springsteen & I follows a similar route as we see a selection of clips sent by Springsteen fans mixed with some concert footage of Bruce. Of all the performers out there, Springsteen is a sensible choice. He is not the latest fad who will disappear after a few albums, or an old dinosaur living off past hits for years on end but someone still releasing new material, touring with new material and a worldwide fan base spanning a few decades.
Obviously Springsteen fans would appreciate this the most but the film stands and fall by the contributors and here some of it is lacking and rather dull. A bit too much of we love Bruce and what he means to me but little of real substance.
Some of the best stories were for example the Philly Elvis who managed to get on stage and sing Elvis songs with Bruce or the guy who got dumped and managed to talk to Bruce and have his request played as well as a street busker who managed to get Bruce to sing with him (although rather a few famous singers end up singing with buskers these days as YouTube is full of those clips.)
There is one British contributor who states Bruce means love for his partner, because for her he endures listening to his music and going to his concerts which are by the way too long as far as he is concerned.
Another contributor also from Britain tells the story how he went to New York to see him in concert only to find he had tickets that the seats were right at the back of the stadium (know how he feels as its happened to me a few times) and then a mysterious man upgraded him to the best seats in the house (which has never happened to me).
These stories were few and far between and you gather that some of the contributions were probably not that good.
Watch a documentary on a musician and his music, and what do you
expect? A biopic, perhaps? A film about his beginnings, his
inspirations, the way his fans have changed him, the crippling (or
enabling) effects of fame? A glimpse, perhaps, into the singer as a man
the humanising of someone touched by the supernatural glow of
celebrity. Or perhaps it's a concert documentary: a film focused more
closely on talent and musicianship. Much as pioneering rock-and-roll
icon Bruce Springsteen is deserving of all such cinematic treatment,
Springsteen & I, refreshingly, falls into none of those categories.
Instead, it's a movie for his fans and made by his fans and, as a
result, one that works very well too as an examination of the modern
phenomena of celebrity culture and fandom.
Checking in with Springsteen's fans from all over the world, the documentary is spliced together from their home videos and personal accounts resulting in stories that range from the hilarious (a mother who has forcibly passed her love for the Boss down to her offspring) to the touching (a British couple get an unexpected surprise when they fly to New York to catch a live concert). Fans talk about the electric moments in which they find themselves unexpectedly sharing Springsteen's spotlight, whether it's onstage or in an impromptu street performance. Of course, there's much ruminating on the way in which Springsteen's music has underscored and even changed the lives of his fans even if they've never had the chance to see him perform live.
There's a real danger at every point in the film that it might become too mawkish and self-congratulatory. Indeed, if this were a documentary made by any other world-famous celebrity, it would likely come off as self-aggrandising, arrogant pablum. But because Springsteen has somehow managed to maintain a reputation for humility and being, as a fan put its, very much "salt of the earth", despite being one of the biggest stars on the planet, he just about gets away with it. Fans of the man and his music will recognise their own stories in these sweet, affecting tales, which ring with truth and a shared passion.
On the other hand, non-fans and neophytes might find the general air of breathless reverence somewhat off-putting although there are certainly elements in the film which they can probably appreciate too. Director Baillie Walsh puts the story together with a light touch, taking care to inject humour into the proceedings. Specifically, she presents the point of view of, for want of a better term, a "fan-in-law" a man who dutifully but reluctantly accompanies his Springsteen-obsessed wife to concerts all over Europe. It's moments like these that expand the film beyond a mere homage to a celebrity. Look a little deeper, and the vignettes in Springsteen & I reveal a great deal about passion and fandom: the need for human connection, the power of music and poetry, the community and camaraderie that can form from shared interests.
Another undeniable huge draw of Springsteen & I is the live footage that runs throughout the film, as well as the exclusive concert highlights that unspool after the credits. The sense where the former is concerned is of Springsteen sharing the limelight with his fans: his performances, including some rare, purportedly never-before-seen live footage, are tied into their stories. He riffs charmingly on the hidden subtext in Red-Headed Woman, for instance, or sings Born To Run across years and generations to close out the film. The concert reel after the credits, taken from his Hard Rock Calling performance in London last year and featuring Sir Paul McCartney, includes six rousing, wonderfully-performed rock anthems that are alone worth the price of admission.
For anyone who's ever loved something or someone in an indescribable, soul-deep way, even if it isn't Springsteen (but especially if it is), Springsteen & I is a movie that will resonate. It acknowledges the huge, enormous place celebrity, music, culture and art can occupy in someone's life, without the derogatory allusions that usually come with being classified a nerd, a geek or obsessive. For those unacquainted with the cult of Springsteen, be warned: this could prove both annoying and cloying, though there's also a chance he and his fans could charm you with the strength of their love and devotion.
I watched this movie in Perth Australia and thoroughly enjoyed it. It
gives a very personal account of the effect a singer/songwriter can
have on people. The fact that these people are just 'run of the mill"
adds great weight to the film.The switch between high resolution
professional material and home movie works to bring this close to the
The power of this film is really in the extended material which was shown in the cinema but which is not included in the dload.
iTunes dload however doesn't have the extended material which was a great disappointment, Does anyone know where I can get this?
This entertaining documentary film concentrates on die hard Bruce Springsteen fans: they tell us why they love the Boss so much and what are the sources of their fanaticism. Intercalated with interviews to the fans, are segments of concerts of Bruce. Sometimes, the fans appear in the clips: in perhaps the best segment, a fan who is also an Elvis impersonator narrates the time he got to sing with the boss in a concert after writing on a placard "can the king sing with the boss", and sure enough, the film shows footage of that very funny episode. Another segments I enjoyed: 1) Bruce's impromptu gig with a street musician; 2) a pretty, articulate young Asian woman who works as a truck driver (!) speaks of her love for Bruce and how he talks for people like her in blue collar jobs who do the tough physical job in society; 3) a British fan tells the story of how he was able to get front row seats for a concert in Madison Square Garden; 4) a young Bruce on a concert early on his career (a career that is now more than 40 years old!!) singing folk very much in the style of Bob Dylan. This film is not just for Bruce fans, though surely they would enjoy it most.
OK, so i'm one of the disciples that adore the music of Bruce
Springsteen and of course I was going to love this film BUT, as I
watched it became apparent that the film is so much more than a
love-fest for Springsteen fans.
Its about human emotions, how people from all walks of life choose to give perspective to their daily routine, it's about how we make life a little bit easier through the pleasure of music, it's about feeling part of a wider community.
It's tender, it's funny, it's creative, it's beautiful, but more than anything it's honest and I found that refreshing! It really is a film for everyone (even those who switch off the radio when the Boss starts to sing!) - it's a revealing insight that deserves to be seen by a wider audience than Springsteen fans.
Yes I'm from NJ but no I was not a Springsteen fan until a friend
dragged me to a concert at the Boston Garden during winter finals my
first year of college. And that night was life- changing. I've seen him
maybe 75 times since then, but never overseas. Only one show failed to
amaze. I also have a life, I like other things, and I know that Bruce
Springsteen like any other public figure is still just a guy. I don't
think he's a god, or my God. But there is nothing like a Springsteen
concert. It is transforming.
So I was really looking forward to this documentary. The first 20-30 minutes were excruciating and all I could think was, wait it out because it's cool to see London Calling on a huge screen. The shaky cell phone videos were headache and nausea inducing and I kept thinking, where was Ridley Scott when they were putting this together?
Then it got really good. I LOOOOOVED the couple where the guy doesn't like the music, he got funnier every time he opened his mouth. I loved the woman in Copenhagen. She was very real, she seemed like someone I'd like to know. And that's kind of the point of this film, I think -- how strangers can share an experience through music or art or any common interest. The guy who works at the stadium was really compelling. So articulate. When he said he was walking home after a concert and his girlfriend said, "At a certain point I felt like I was the only one there, that he was talking and singing directly to me," THAT is the magic of a Springsteen concert and his unique talent. The guy in Poland was profound, even though he said very little.
On the other hand, some of the people made me sad in their extremism.
Bruce himself wasn't really important to this film. It was nice that he met the people at the end but it didn't make or break the experience for me.
Overall it was like a really really good Kickstarter project on steroids. Clever, interesting, thought-provoking, very funny. And there's still magic in all the memories of all those Jersey summer nights caring only about the music for the moment.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
See the Boss is just that inspirational that here I am after seeing the movie not an hour ago and I am motivated to write my first ever review. Well as Bjorn beat me to it, the film expertly tells the Bruce story from the perspective of the fans. Some younger, some older. Some funnier, some deeper. These fans tell what it means to listen to a song, an album, watch a concert, and in some occasions meet the man himself. They tell the meaning of being a Springsteen fan much better than I ever could. The editing is perfect too for instance the instance where a British factory worker tells his story and then is followed by older footage of Springsteen doing Factory. Very poignant. Not sure if this is a spoiler, if so it will be a good one. Do not leave too early. After a bit more of an hour (which passed by way too quickly) the credits roll. This is quickly followed by a 6-7 song set from Hyde Park (the one where Sir Paul and Bruce got shut down). If you go and watch it don't be afraid like the crowd I went to see it, dance in the aisles, enjoy life. After this set comes the epilogue. Stay for it. It brings everything full circle.
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