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Location: Charlottesville, Virginia, United States

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

A Tale of Two Movies

I've watched a couple music-related movies recently. The first -- Grand Theft Parsons -- was fantastic. Based on a true story, the film depicts Graham Parsons's manager's attempt to steal the artist's corpse so that, as they had vowed to do, his spirit could be released in the desert. Johnny Knoxville plays the manager; relying on Knoxville to act can be a risky proposition, but it pays off well. The film's more humorous than anything, but it does avoid falling into cliche despite the buddy/road trip feel that it has.

The second film, Songcatcher, fell flat with me, primarily because it altogether lacks subtlety. We have the prim professor-lady who learns about love and another way of living. We have the mountain people (who are not too ugly or accented or strange) who in their simplicity produce a more beautiful and pure music than anticipated. Their true folkways are juxtaposed against the intellectual tradition of the professor. The movie has some good music, but nothing astounding (and nothing as fun as O Brother's). The work of a field recorder could be an interesting film project, but it's not so well-executed here.

An Alan Lomax biopic, anyone?


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