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Tag Archives: Rolling Stones

Darlene Love, Judith Hill, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Táta Vega, Jo Lawry, Stevvi Alexander, Lou Adler, Patti Austin, Sheryl Crow, Mick Jagger, Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Stevie Wonder, Rolling Stones, 

20 Feet From Stardom: just outside the spotlight of the world’s most successful singers stand some of the most ludicrously talented, yet under-appreciated musicians on the planet – this doc is an ode to them. The narrative flips between a whistle-stop history of backing singers in popular music; and the current plight of some all-time greats, who are struggling to find work these days. The best thing about this is hearing phenomenal voices belting out stunning arrangements and goin’ all diva on your ear holes – the vocal talent involved is unbelievable. Where the doc falls down however is that after a strong setup, it wallows a little too long in the pity party and sob stories of a few singers that tried to make it on their own but haven’t quite arrived – taking the simplistic stance that talent alone should obviously guarantee success. The film would have worked better as a celebration of the talent of those involved, and how they’ve become immortalised in music history; it’s not all bad however as there’s a fantastic 40-50 minute TV show in here. Despite being an Oscar winner, this is nowhere near the heights of other musical docs like Searching for SugarmanAnvil: Story of Anvil, or even Benda Bilili.

Score: 4/10

Rushmore: follows the ‘love triangle’ between a teacher, pupil and local businessman. While this put Anderson and Schwartzman on the map –  and re-ignited Murray’s career – they’re three guys that haven’t really drifted far from their comfort zone since: still, this is probably the best example of all three on form. The main problem I have with Anderson’s films is that they make weird things like stalking someone or a middle-aged man befriending a teenager seem normal, even cool. Like the rest of his films Rushmore is laden with mixed messages about father figures, retro music, humor, and quirky scenes / shots / dialogue (it’s impossible to describe any of his films without using ‘leftfield’, ‘offbeat’, ‘quirky’ et al). More so than his other features, Rushmore has been embraced by the indie crowd and pop culture – and enjoys a hardcore cult following. Personally, I think it’s good but not great. Pretty much the Napoleon Dynamite of the 90’s; you’ll either love, loathe or just not plain old not get it – I’m still in the later camp after several viewings. If you’re wanting to see any Anderson, Schwartzman or (modern) Murray film, best stick with this.

Score: 7/10