Saturday, May 15, 2010

When Your Strange (2009)

What can I say about Jim Morrison and the Doors that hasn't been already said. For my generation he was and will be an iconic symbol of a time where an artist pushed the boundaries of his art. But that's not how I know The Doors. I remember hearing them blasting from big boom boxes that my buddies used to carry around. For some Morrison is the soundtrack of their youth and I guess I fall into that category. It was only later that I developed such a respect on what he did and how he did it. Without compromise Morrison did what he wanted to do. Call him a drug induced rock star that pissed off the authorities of his time or just call him the "lizard King". He was both.

When your Strange is a documentary on Morrison and the Doors and is narrated by Johnny Depp. Tom DiCillo is the director of the film, and he does a great job assembling footage that we haven't seen yet of Morrison and the Doors. If your a fan of the Doors theres not much new in information about the Doors that hasn't been said or written about. It is the footage that is new and how DiCillo mixes the music and the archival footage together is really special. I didn't have a problem with Depp's voice over since it is sparse and not all the time, but it would have been more interesting in just using the audio of Morrison and Doors to tell their story.

The film also made me appreciate Oliver Stones film "The Doors"even more with all the research he had done. It's all here, and it's pretty dead on. DiCillo does a good job, and I think in anyone else's hands the film wouldn't be as interesting as it is.

So if your a Doors fan I highly recommend it, and if not and you don't know much about the Doors and who they were I would also recommend it. Seeing Morrison so early in his career is interesting. I wanted to see more, and that's the only fault I have of the film. I know there's more. Such as Morrison's poetry, and his relationship with the band members and his long time girlfriend Pamela Courson. The film does not dig deep, and maybe there may not be anything else to dig up, but what of Morrison's associates? Where are they?, who were they?, and what were their stories of Morrison? Maybe that's for another film. It would be interesting to see a film about the selling of Morrison now and then, and get a true feeling on how he felt, and what he believed because right now we only see his band mates recollections. That would also be an interesting film, but probably not a sellable one where the band "The Doors" has become a marketing juggernaut. By keeping the myth of Morrison alive it has become more about selling the bands albums to future generations instead of a real look at an American artist who was more then just a singer . I would think Morrison would have something to say about that, but who knows if there is footage of him talking about his art, and his songs. I would be interested in seeing that footage. I surely don't believe that we have seen or heard the definitive Doors or should I say Morrison retrospective.

In any respect "When your Strange" is a compelling look at an artist who inspired a generation, and to this day still inspires others. Some label him a burned out rock star, and others saw him as a poet of his generation. That's the fascination of Morrison, and for some of us he will always be the iconic rock superstar. Long live the Lizard King.

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