Sunday, January 4, 2009

I'm Not There

Latent Dylan fan. And honestly, I'm only a fan of his electric period. I love how he gives the finger to anyone who dares to criticize him. I think one of the best documentary films ever made is Scorcese's No Direction Home. Penebaker's Don't Look Back was too hard to follow, color me stupid for that, but the time period of Penebaker's film is the era of Dylan that I love. I think that Like a Rolling Stone, note for note, word for word, is the best song in music history.

Anyway, I've been waiting forever for Todd Haynes film, I'm Not There, to finally show up on my Tivo. It was worth the wait. My goodness was it ever a great film. The cast ... simply amazing. But who in the world would have said no to being in this film. There was much ballyhoo about Cate Blanchett's portrayal of the ragamuffin/Penabaker Dylan and it was much deserved, WOW. She's simply the best actor working today, male or female. It wasn't just Blanchett though, everybody was amazing. The little kid who played Woodie Guthrie/Dylan, Richard Gere as Billy the Kid/Dylan ... David Cross playing Allen Ginsberg was awesome. And even Richie Havens!!! Richie Havens ... like Dylan, my Dad introduced me the genius that is Richie Havens when I was a pup.

The saddest part .. Heath Ledger played another persona of Dylan and it made me sad to watch. Stupid idiot shouldn't be dead dammit. We'll never know will we? But he was marvelous in this film. Even his ex, Michelle Williams played Edie Sedgewick better than the stupid Sienna Miller. Who knew Dawson's Creek could produce such a great actress? Not talking to you Katie Cruise. Christian Bale, who was in another Haynes film, Velvet Goldmine (way heavy film about Iggy Pop & David Bowie), played the converted Dylan. When I see Bale, I still see the little kid in Spielberg's Empire of the Sun (one of the best films ever made and Spielberg's masterpiece until Munich)

This film is NOT for casual movie goers who don't know anything about Dylan. You need to understand the Woodie Guthrie connection, the controversey from the Newport Folk Festival, his troubled marriage, his conversion ... anyone who doesn't know about Dylan will be completely confused by this film. Watch No Direction Home and Don't Look Back first, then watch I'm Not There. But you need to be a fan of Dylan first.

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