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Last Days Here (2011)

Not Rated | | Documentary, Music | 29 April 2011 (USA)
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Documentary follows Bobby Liebling, lead singer of seminal hard rock/heavy metal band Pentagram, as he battles decades of hard drug addiction and personal demons to try and get his life back.
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Sean Pelletier
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Documentary follows Bobby Liebling, lead singer of seminal hard rock/heavy metal band Pentagram, as he battles decades of hard drug addiction and personal demons to try and get his life back.

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Taglines:

In life there isn't always an encore.

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Documentary | Music

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

29 April 2011 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Last Days Here: The True Story of Pentagram's Bobby Liebling  »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,671, 4 March 2012, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$6,695, 11 March 2012
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Features Pentagram: All Your Sins (2015) See more »

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Hard to watch, impossible to turn away from
6 January 2013 | by See all my reviews

Many musicians I've met over the years have proudly proclaimed "Music is all I have man, it's all I know". But what happens when the years pass by, the success is few and far between and the musician is reduced to a withered husk waxing nostalgia? After a while, that declaration becomes a sad one, and it leaves said person in a questionable state. Last Days Here is an intense and unflinching look at the life of Bobby Liebling, lead singer for underground doom metal legends Pentagram. For many this will feel familiar, either like an episode of the reality show Intervention or along the lines of "from obscurity to greatness" rockumentaries, but there's something else to it. It's extremely raw.

Last Days Here will inevitably draw comparisons to Anvil: The Story of Anvil, but there are major differences. First and foremost, unlike Anvil, Pentagram was actually a good band in their day. Anvil were lauded by some as being pioneers of thrash metal of sorts, but watching that film it became apparent that the reason they never made it big was simply that they weren't very good, and that their music was far too cheesy and badly dated to be taken seriously. Bobby Liebling actually had considerable songwriting skills and came very close to securing a deal with Columbia Records. I could easily see old Pentagram songs such as "Forever My Queen" and "Wheel of Fortune" being played on classic rock radio stations alongside Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. Second, while the people in Anvil were struggling, they were not in the state that Liebling was. And third, The Story of Anvil turned out to be a rather dishonest film in terms of the continuity editing, whereas Last Days Here plays out from start to finish, and the stakes are much higher.

After decades of drug abuse and failure, Bobby spends his days consuming crack, heroin and whatever else in his parent's basement in rural Maryland. He's an awful sight, looking just as ghastly as the ghouls he sings about in his songs. His parents, though well meaning, are profoundly naive and gutless. He has no real friends left. But then we meet Sean "Pellet" Pelletier, a die hard music fan and employee of the highly respected record label, Relapse Records. Pellet is the secondary protagonist of this story, a die hard fanboy who worships Pentagram and wants to share their music with the world. He becomes Bobby's manager, friend and number one supporter. For the duration of the film, Pellet does his best to wrangle Bobby into some kind of productivity of sorts, but it's an EXTREMELY bumpy ride.

What makes this documentary compelling is the position the viewer is put in while watching Bobby. It's strange, because most of the time you don't really feel sorry for him. He is his own worst enemy and is the main saboteur of Pentagram's success. He has burned countless bridges, destroyed many relationships, ruined promising opportunities of major label deals and has ripped a lot of people off. There's no real back story of childhood abuse or any personal tragedy to warrant his self-destructive lifestyle and arrogant behavior. Indeed, if anything his family is too supportive of him and are enablers of his addiction. What makes you believe in Bobby is the fact that Pellet believes in him. In many ways Last Days Here is about an unusual friendship between musician and fan rather than a narrative of a rocker's resurrection.

Things get more intriguing when Bobby has a romance with a very attractive 20 something music fan named Hallie. It presents both a boon to his existence and a challenge to Pellet's efforts to get him on the right track.

As a Washington DC native, I had never heard of bands like Pentagram or the Obsessed growing up. To me DC was all about hardcore punk and Go Go. But today, people of all ages are hungry again for solid heavy rock, and a lot of obscure bands are finally seeing their dues. Bobby may have been a jerk and junkie for most of his life but his art does stand on its own and redemption appears possible. Last Days Here is often not easy to watch, but it has its rewards.


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