Friday, July 16, 2010

Disaster Biopics & The Agony and Ecstasy of Phil Spector

Wednesday evening I saw The Agony and Ecstasy of Phil Spector at New York's Film Forum, the latest documentary in the genre I refer to as the "disaster biopic". I would include in this category the 2008 documentary Tyson, the thoroughly postmodern film JVCD (Jean-Claude Van Damme) and the E! True Hollywood series. (I highly recommend both Tyson and JVCD.)

The Agony and Ecstasy is a sloppy piece of documentary filmmaking. Much of it consists of music playing over courtroom video with captions describing the music or it's production. A bit disjointed and hard to form any opinion of the murder based on the film. What is amazing are the one-on-one interviews with Phil Spector himself, a true musical genius who's prolific output in the 60's and 70s is mind blowing. He's also out of his mind. His, sometimes justified, egomaniacal quips, his impression of John Lennon and his gripes with Tony Bennett and Paul McCartney are endlessly amusing.

One of the most interesting and bizarre revelations is that the crazy hairdo Spector sported in court was a tribute to (former Detroit Piston) Ben Wallace.

Related Post: Postmodernity Now

Film Forum website: The Agony and Ecstasy of Phil Spector

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