EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|YEAR OF THE HORSE (director/writer: Jim Jarmusch; cinematographer:Jim Jarmusch/L. A. Johnson; editor: Jay Rabinowitz; music: Neil Young and Crazy Horse; cast: Billy Talbott, Ralph Molina, Frank (Poncho) Sampedro, Larry Cragg, Neil Young, Neil Young Sr.; Runtime: 107; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: L. A. Johnson; October Films; 1997)|
|"If you don't like the music,
forget it. But, if you're like
me, a Neil Young fan, this is great inside stuff."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Jim Jarmusch ("Dead Man"/"Down by Law"/"Permanent Vacation"), hipster NYC indie filmmaker, captures the
energy and pulsating sound of Neil Young's Crazy Horse band as they hit
the road for a 1996 European tour. There are backstage interviews
with the four-man band, Neil
Young (songwriter, guitarist & lead vocalist), Frank 'Poncho'
Sempedro (guitarist), Billy Talbot (bass player), and Ralph
Molina (drummer), conducted from the 1976, 1986 and 1996 tours.
Shots of the
boys include them stoned in London, playfully setting on fire a vase of
flowers in a Glasgow hotel room,
intensely rapping with great feeling about their music in Germany,
getting testy at a rehearsal, uncomfortable discussions about their
serious drug problems, trying to explain how the veteran
band of over twenty years is family and how difficult it is on the road
away from their families, and there's also a funny bit with Jarmusch
Young, on a bus ride, a Bible lesson on why the Old Testament
G-d is so pissed at mankind. And, of course, there's the boys on stage
doing in full a few of their moving numbers.
If you don't like the music, forget it. But, if you're like
me, a Neil Young fan, this is great inside stuff. Jarmusch fell in love
with the band and filmed the aging rockers (Young is 52) in Super 8 (unfortunately resulting in
poor quality grainy visuals), but he nevertheless caught the kooky
spirit of the edgy, grungy artists and the spirited joy in their unique
sound. They end the documentary singing "Like a Hurricane," blending
together how it was performed in 1986 with the present 1996 tour. The
rockers today are more paunchy and their hair grayer, but the music
still has the same snap and vibrancy. For those so inclined, this is a
great snapshot portrait of the band and has great concert footage of
them performing nine songs--that include classics like "Stupid
Girl" and "Tonight's the Night."
REVIEWED ON 6/29/2010 GRADE: A-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ