Wednesday, November 30, 2011


If someone had told me they were going to make a movie about The Doors and the group would be portrayed by Val Kilmer (Jim Morrison), Kyle MacLachlan (Ray Manzarek), Kevin Dillion (John Densmore) and Frank Whaley (Robby Krieger), I would have said..."Man, you got to be crazy". To my surprise, this quartet of actors were able to resemble their real life counterparts enough to give the film a slight documentary feel. Only MacLachlan as Manzarek was a little distracting to me. Something about him just didn't quite look right, but maybe I kept thinking I was seeing Agent Dale Cooper in a wig.

The real standout here is Val Kilmer who loses himself in the role of Morrison. In order to convince director Oliver Stone that he was right for the role, Kilmer spent several thousand of his own dollars and made his own eight-minute video, singing and looking like Morrison at various stages of his life. During the concert scenes in the movie, Stone used the Doors' master tapes without Morrison's lead vocals and Kilmer did the actual singing in order to avoid lip-syncing. This gave the concert scenes a "true" look instead of having to sit through an obvious lip synced performance, which is the case in a lot of music biopics.

The biggest flaw with
The Doors is the direction by Oliver Stone. He picked the songs he wanted to use in the film and then "wrote each piece of the movie as a mood to fit that song". While this may have seemed like a good idea to Stone, it bogged the movie down in many places with fantasy sequences. This caused the flow of the plot to grind to a halt several times during the film, making me feel I was watching music videos at those points....and I might add....boring music videos. Overall The Doors was a pretty decent movie and if it had had some of Stone's "moods" edited out it would have been even better.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Sid & Nancy starring Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb as the titular characters is a pretty good movie with outstanding performances by both of the lead actors. While part of the storyline is based around the seminal punk band The Sex Pistols, the majority of Sid & Nancy concerns itself with telling us the story of the duo Roger Ebert called "Punk Rock's Romeo and Juliet".

Sid & Nancy, also known as Sid & Nancy: Love Kills, begins with the death of Nancy Spungen and flashes back to when they first met. Nancy, a groupie/sometimes prostitute/heroin addict from the U.S., has met Linda Ashby, a prostitute friend of Malcolm McClaren who manages The Sex Pistols. Sid is not very impressed with Nancy at first, but after she promises to get him drugs, the love story really begins.

Sid & Nancy revolves around the title characters, the other members of The Sex Pistols are only featured sporadically throughout the movie. Johnny Rotten (Andrew Schofield) gets the most screen time, while the other members of the group have such little screen presence, they are basically treated as inconsequential by the filmmaker. Courtney Love has a small part in the movie and Wikipedia notes Slash, Iggy Pop, Nico, The Circle Jerks, and Edward Tudor-Pole, of Tenpole Tudor are also in the film.

I could never decide while watching
Sid & Nancy what Nancy's underlying emotions were for being with Sid: did she really love him, did she like being someone's famous girlfriend, or was she just using him as a source of income to buy drugs. After the breakup of The Sex Pistols, she is the one who gets him a few solo gigs (which turn out to be disastrous), but her motivations behind helping Sid could still be construed as any of the three mentioned above. A lot of this mystery about Nancy should go to the great performance given by Chloe Webb. Nancy in "real life" was nicknamed "Nauseating Nancy" and Webb's portrayal of her in Sid & Nancy definitely would make you NOT want to be around Nancy Spungeon any more than you had to be.

Gary Oldman's masterpiece of a performance in his portrayal of Sid Vicious stands with Gary Busey's merging of self in The Buddy Holly Story and Sissy Spacek as Lorretta Lynn in Coal Miner's Daughter. Saying "stands with" those two performances actually isn't completely correct, since even in the aforementioned movies, I still had a sense I was watching an actor. With Oldman in
Sid & Nancy, I felt I WAS watching Sid Vicious. An interesting side note - Oldman lost so much weight to play the emaciated Vicious that at one point he had to be briefly hospitalized. It has been noted Gary Oldman is one of the greatest actors never to be nominated for an academy award. I would go further and say Oldman is the GREATEST actor never nominated for an academy award and if you want to see why, just watch Sid & Nancy.