So, there's this documentary about the Replacements. It doesn't include any footage from the band. The band doesn't give interviews for it. They don't even use any of the music. It was funded via Kickstarter, a funding service I have come to love. We chucked in a small amount of cash, frankly just enough to ensure getting a DVD and T-shirt.
The DVD arrived last week but I didn't get a chance to watch it until last night. Here's my review:
Let me start at what I feared would happen to this movie. I remember hearing about it long ago, when it was supposed to be a documentary told by fans. As it developed, the advertisements started mentioning
big names. Some were big names in the context of the MPLS scene, say Chris Osgood. Others were big names in the context of the larger entertainment industry. Here think George Wendt, Dave Foley, and Tom Arnold.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm a big fan of Dave Foley. And I go absolutely bitch-cakes over old NewsRadio episodes. But, frankly, I really don't give a fuck about his views on the Replacements. Why would I? What insight can he bring?
And it made me worried that the film would become infested with interviews with people included for their fame rather than their insight. I was prepared to be happy if the film kept the celebrities to less than a third of the screen time.
Turns out I shouldn't have been worried.
Wendt's one short clip is awkward and, well, stupid. Foley's are cute enough. And Tom Arnold does actually have a good story to tell. In all, very little screen time is used on celebrities.
I was also worried about the local celebrities, often fellow artists. In general, I think musicians make for the worst music commentary. They're just too close to it. These local scene celebrities are combined with fans in a good ratio to fill in the rest of the screen time. And how do they do?
In a word, Fucking Awesome! (Okay, two words.)
No, really, it's sooooooooo good. The stories are good. The commentary is good. Hardly anyone in the movie says monumentally stupid things. About 2/3rds of the way through, my wife stopped by to ask how it was. My voice was actually trembling as I told her how perfect it was.
What really struck me was the balance. The guy who made it, Gorman Bechard, doesn't have an ulterior motive here to tell a particular narrative. Instead, everything is in wonderful balance. The guy who talks about Replacements fans finding too much delight in the continual fuck-ups of the band is balanced against fans decrying the lack of fuckupedness in later records. Tim is called a sell-out record as well as a sign of growth. Pleased to Meet Me is decried for not including Bob as well as described as a masterpiece, partially because it was unshackled from Bob. And all these points of view are valid. Such is the contradictory nature of the band. It's just, well, it's just fucking perfect.
Well, nearly perfect.
Actually, there's nothing bad. There's the utterly unnecessary and uncomfortable clip of George Wendt. And there's the couple of unneeded, but at least marginally chuckle-worthy, clips of Dave Foley. Arguably, there's too much from the Goo Goo Dolls and the Gaslight Anthem.
And then there's a bearded writer who is allowed to ramble on for far too long. He alone makes the last third of the movie pale, just a touch, in comparison to the prior footage. But, honestly, isn't that how a Replacements documentary should be?
Kinda brilliant. Kinda dumb. Kinda the Replacements.
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