Media Maven: "Taking Woodstock" Movie Review PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jan James Stetter   
Wednesday, 28 October 2009 05:28

Media Maven: "Taking Woodstock" Movie Review
Woodstock stands as one of the most memorable events of the music world. Our Media Maven offers insight into whether this film lives up to the legendary three days of peace and music.

"Taking Woodstock"

Demetri Martin, Dan Fogler, Henry Goodman, Jonathan Groff, Eugene Levy, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Imelda Staunton, Paul Dano, Kelli Garner, Mamie Gummer, Emile Hirsch, Live Schreiber

"Taking Woodstock" is a film that, by its very title, should make any curious person want to watch and experience a very unconventional, free loving part of our American history. In the movie, Elliot Tiber (Demetri Martin) is a young man who helps his parents run a downtrodden motel in the Catskills in 1969.

Thinking of Woodstock, images of peace signs, long-haired men and women, and good music prevail. Jimmy Hendrix; Janis Joplin; Arlo Guthrie; and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young only skim the myriad talented performers that were showcased at this outdoor music festival that served as the first of its kind in magnitude and momentum.

I wish the same could be said for this film. The film quickly falls flat. It fails to focus on the incredible history of Woodstock as a groundbreaking phenomenon in our American past. Yes, it depicts freewheeling love fests, free-spirited dancers, pot smokers and war protests. But all of those elements are peripheral, and that is where this film lacks the impact of Woodstock. Such incredible musicians and songs fed the people, and very little of that vintage musical history is included. Woodstock was MUSIC.

Instead, Director Ang Lee uses Woodstock as a backdrop of one man's story to save his aging parents' livelihood and, in the process, come to terms with his own sexuality in a cultural climate of dramatic change. So very little of the essence of Woodstock was captured in this film. Whereas Woodstock was MUSIC, "Taking Woodstock" was boring.

Chic Stars: * *

Jan's Movie Rating System:

* * * * * — Top-notch entertainment
* * * * — Compelling, heartwarming, thrilling, comical
* * * — The a) story b) actors c) special effects saved/made this movie.
* * — If you are bored, watch it or wait for DVD
* — Don't bother. Too morose, too violent, too blase, an enigma.

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