“Young at Heart”

I can’t write about this until tomorrow, but the hype has turned out to be absolutely true — Stephen Walker‘s Young@Heart is the reigning heart movie of the LA. Film Festival (and in both senses of the term, delivering both warmth and sadness) and will be a guaranteed winner when it goes out commercially.

And sooner or later, trust me, it will do that. If it comes out later this year, it’s almost guaranteed to end up as one of the five nominees for Best Feature Documentary. I’m serious. It’s not a “great” documentary, but it touches you big-time.
I’m just going run John Anderson‘s Variety review for now (it went up last night), and put something up myself over the weekend.
“Viewers have seen a lot of rock ‘n’ rollers onstage carrying bottles, but they’re not usually full of oxygen,” John begins. “Of course, the average age of most rock groups isn’t 80, as it is for the subjects of Young@Heart, an irresistibly joyous, tearful and, most importantly, musical doc about a band of senior pop singers whose repertoire includes ‘Golden Years, ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go’ and ‘Stayin’ Alive.’ Theatrical odds may be long, but no one would exit this British TV production feeling they’d wasted their money.
“The narration, by director Stephen Walker, suggests an NPR feature, and the episodic structure is pretty pat — several members of the Young@Heart chorus are picked out for closer study during the six-week lead-up to their annual public performance. But the performers are all charmers, singing or just speaking their way through music by Radiohead, Jimi Hendrix, the Clash and James Brown.
“When asked, those performers admit a preference for classical music, but when they attack a song like the Ramones’ ‘I Wanna Be Sedated,’ they do so with passion. Gusto. They throw away their walkers.

“Where Young@Heart goes totally right is its inclusion of special music videos directed by the film’s producer, Sally George, which feature the aforementioned Ramones song as well as Talking Heads’ ‘Road to Nowhere.’ The very image of these aging headbangers in an MTV format is funny and melancholy — two members die during the final week before the big show, and membership is euphemistically said to be ‘in flux.’
“But their humor is so genuine and their enthusiasm so infectious, it would seem impossible for an aud not to be swept away — especially when, following the death of one member, the group sings ‘Forever Young’ at a prison near their base in Northhampton, Mass.
“The leader of the group is the much younger Bob Cilian, who’s a “taskmaster,” as one member puts it. Cilian gets frustrated during the weeks-long rehearsals of the Pointer Sisters’ ‘Yes We Can Can,’ the song’s 70-odd ‘cans’ confusing the group (and at least one viewer). Eventually, though, most of the kinks are worked out.
“Production values are fine, if not spectacular, but applying a high gloss to Young@Heart wouldn’t make sense, anyway.”

  • Edward

    ‘I Wanna Be Sedated,’ Hilarious. I’m there.

  • tholl-yung

    “Indie films crave great reviews,” and somewhere between the critical sushi we devour and the long critiques we (I) don√ɬ¢√¢‚Äö¬¨√¢‚Äû¬¢t have time to read, lies John Anderson’s instantly brilliant, compact reviews; lots of them, except when he√ɬ¢√¢‚Äö¬¨√¢‚Äû¬¢s on vacation.

  • tholl-yung

    HE and Microsoft word don’t mix well. I hate Bill Gates too.

  • T.Holly

    “Indie films crave great reviews,” and somewhere between the critical sushi we devour and the long critiques we (I) don’t have time to read, lies John Anderson’s instantly brilliant, compact reviews; lots of them, except when he’s on vacation.

  • T.Holly

    HE and Microsoft word don’t mix well. I hate Bill Gates too.

  • http://cjkennedy.wordpress.com Craig Kennedy

    If you click on Tools, AutoCorrect and ‘AutoFormat as you type’ then uncheck ‘straight quotes with smart quotes’ you’ll fix the “satanic symbol for apostrophe” problem when pasting from Word.
    Feel free to continue hating Bill Gates though.

  • http://cjkennedy.wordpress.com cjKennedy

    If you click on Tools, AutoCorrect and ‘AutoFormat as you type’ then uncheck ‘straight quotes with smart quotes’ you’ll fix the “satanic symbol for apostrophe” problem when pasting from Word.

    Feel free to continue hating Bill Gates though.

  • MAGGA

    I hate to admit this, because pre-judging movies should be a crime, but a movie about aging wannabe-rockers makes me want to stay as far away from the cinema as I can, and I would bet that applies to a lot of people. If the word keeps being good we will be obligated to see it, of course

  • http://cjkennedy.wordpress.com Craig Kennedy

    Don’t feel bad MAGGA, when I was deciding what to see at LAFF I specifically remember reading the blurb, laughing snarkily and moving on. There are just so many ways this kind of material could go horribly wrong.

  • George Prager

    CAUTION: NO ONE WILL BE SEATED DURING THE TERRIFYING COLOSTOMY BAG SEQUENCE.

  • http://cjkennedy.wordpress.com cjKennedy

    Don’t feel bad MAGGA, when I was deciding what to see at LAFF I specifically remember reading the blurb, laughing snarkily and moving on. There are just so many ways this kind of material could go horribly wrong.