Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Movies that Rock: Sid & Nancy, Purple Rain, Festival Express

I try and provide myself with enough musical knowledge as possible. As I've stated here many times before, I don't have the background or experience to ever be considered an expert. I know I never will, but I'm trying to at least have some basis to be able to speak about music. Sure, ask me about any buzz indie rock band of today and I could spurt off a lot of info. But if we go back in time, I'm a bit lost. Call it naiveté, or just youth, but I'm working on it.

You probably have noticed that the "52 albums in 52 weeks" have been missing. Life has gotten a bit hectic and the actual purchasing of these albums a bit hard. Do not fret. I will make it in those 52 weeks. Hopefully this weekend I will catch up on the ones I've been missing and get back on schedule.

I've been meaning to post about a few films I've watched in the past couple weeks that have helped my musical discovery. About a month ago I rented Sid & Nancy. It had been on my netflix queue for about a year, and finally I decided it was time to put it at the top. I wasn't really sure what to expect. Naturally, I'd heard amazing things, and I've always been intrigued by Sid Vicious and the story of the Sex Pistols. The film boasted comparisons to Romeo & Juliet. Sure. I had to see for myself.

I watched the film one rainy Saturday afternoon in my apartment by myself. I found myself completely captivated by the screen. Nancy, brilliantly portrayed by Chloe Webb, was absolutely atrocious in all the right ways. Their relationship clearly fueled by heroin but genuine nonetheless is the kind of loyalty you don't actually think exists. But it did. And the final scene, whether it's what really happened we'll never know, was powerful, and yet oddly satisfying.

I found myself researching Nancy for the rest of the afternoon, fascinated by her life, background, and real story. It's one of those tales that will always live in infamy. I watched interviews with the two of them together. It really broke my heart.

The gasps I received when I said I had never seen Purple Rain scared me. I clearly miss out on far too much. So after a friend lent me his copy, it sat on my dvd player for a few weeks. There's no good reason for this. I just never got around to it. Luckily the sickness this past week forced me to sit still for extended hours, so I popped it in and gave it a shot. I always have liked Prince's music, and had listened to the album as part of the 52 album series. I'll be completely honest; I knew nothing about this movie going in. And yes, it was wonderfully cheesy and incredibly entertaining.

Purple Rain is like one long music video with exaggerated plot lines and simplistic dialogue. I wouldn't have had it any other way. Semi-autobiographical, the soundtrack basically makes the movie. Prince's performances are passionate, and ultra sexy. I never really found myself attracted to the guy, but damn. When he performed "Darling Nikki" I forgot about the fact that he was an obnoxious prick. Grind away, Prince. Not exactly the same love story as Sid & Nancy but still worked for me.

Last but certainly not least was Festival Express, a film I had read more about than actually seen, so I felt it appropriate to see the whole tale for myself. I've long been a fan of Janis Joplin, and watching her, especially in those last scenes literally gave me the chills. What a fantastic idea this whole thing was. It completely inspired me to think of something like this to do. Music and touring has become so corporate, I just want to get a van (or a train in this case) and get a bunch of musicians, booze, and document it all. Everyone was there for the right reasons. You could see it in their faces.

The movie proved to be much more of a comedy than expected. Certain moments caused me to laugh out loud. Especially when they ran out of alcohol. Genius. But of course the performances were incredible to watch first hand, and seeing the crowds really put you there. I love The Band more and more seeing them play in a live setting, and no one can dispute the talent of Jerry Garcia and The Dead. No, I'm no deadhead, but I can appreciate the fandom. The movie watching experience was a perfect musical high, and one I think should be replicated in today's setting. Who's with me?

Enjoy some tunes, and check out the flicks. They all come highly recommended.

  • Sid Vicious - My Way
  • Prince - Purple Rain
  • Grateful Dead - Casey Jones

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