Sunday, July 02, 2006

Looking for the heart of Saturday night

Instead of dealing with last night's scattered showers, I took in a very odd double feature at my house: Refused Are Fucking Dead and One from the Heart. Now I'm not one to really have huge expectations, but I was rather underwhelmed by both of them.

With the Refused DVD, a mere 40 minutes are spent describing the band's untangling. Another 40 minutes have songs from The Shape of Punk to Come played live in various places. Sounds like a good time, right? Well, any live footage of Refused is great, but there was a lot left to be desired. Other than the stellar live footage used in the documentary, the rest of the footage is amateur and dodgy. The performances are top-notch, but the video quality is not.

The documentary feels like the third act of a whole other documentary. Talking about the end of the band, the tension and the unhappiness, I wanted more backstory. Instead, the viewer is plopped right in the middle of things and is left to piece some semblance of a story together. Sure, seeing Refused play in a basement is cool, but trying to understand the importance of Refused as a band is lost here.

With One from the Heart, the first time I ever heard of the film was in this book I have called The Worst Movies of All Time. One from the Heart was definitely not the worst movie I've ever seen, but it's not one of the best movies I've ever seen. Sure, the film has a lot of flash along with some substance, but it's rather flimsy. Very stylized and thin on deep emotion, the reason why I wanted to see it is because of the score's composer. Tom Waits wrote the score and performs many of the songs with Crystal Gayle. This is some good Waits stuff, but it's definitely not some of his best stuff. Definitely an album you don't hear about when people talk about his essential stuff.

As my Netflix subscription continues, the more I feel less inclined to go out to a movie theater to see a flick. I've been able to see numerous films that I've always wanted to see but could never find them to rent. I highly doubt Blockbuster would ever carry a documentary called Refused Are Fucking Dead, but that's them. Thankfully, Netflix carries a lot of music videos. Essentially, if the film is available on DVD, you can rent it from them. Pretty sweet deal.

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