Monday, August 31, 2009

Review: Taking Woodstock

Grade: A

Taking Woodstock is a movie inspired by the true story of the events that started the concert that defined a generation. It is the story of Elliot Teichberg, a man who is trying to help his parents for the summer at their motel. He is trying to save the motel as they aren't making any money. As the banks are about to foreclose and Elliot is desperately trying to find ways to get people to the small town, he hears about a neighboring town that has pulled the permit on a hippie music festival. In order to drive business to his parents motel, he calls the producers of the event to ask them to have it down the street at his neighbors farm. Three and a half weeks later, a half a million people show up to White Lake, New York for three days of peace and music at the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival.

This is Ang Lee's (Brokeback Mountain, The Hulk) latest endeavor and it is probably his best movie to date. I'm not usually a fan of Ang Lee's work, they tend to be overly serious and boring, this includes Hulk. The direction of this movie was very good and very beautiful. He did a wonderful job showing the essence of the "Woodstock Nation". All of the visuals in this movie were great. The soundtrack, however, was kind of lacking in my opinion, especially considering the music of the event that the movie is based around.

Demetri Martin (TV's Important Things with Demetri Martin) plays the lead role of Elliot Teichberg and does a wonderful job. This is Martin's first attempt at serious acting and given what I'm used to seeing him do with his stand up, he was astounding in this role, really a fantastic job. The best part is that the haircut Demetri Martin has all the time fits right in with the 1969 era. Eugene Levy (Best In Show, A Mighty Wind) plays Max, the dairy farm owner who allows the concert to be held on his land. I have always like Levy and he did a wonderful job with this smallish role. Imelda Staunton (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix) and Henry Goodman play Elliot's parents, and they do a wonderful job. Goodman's character was supposed to be a quiet old man who is ready to burn the motel down but his life is reinvigorated by the Woodstock Nation. Staunton did a wonderful job as the very aggressive and at time money hungry mother. Emile Hirsch (Milk, Speed Racer) plays Elliot's old friend Billy, who just recently got back from the Vietnam War. Hirsch is an amazing actor and probably one of the best of our generation. He does an excellent job with this role as his character has random flashbacks and really helps motivate Elliot to go forward with the music festival. Liev Schreiber (Defiance, Wolverine) plays Vilma, a cross-dressing man who helps Elliot out with many things around the motel. Liev just keeps getting better and better and this role was fully enjoyable and fun to watch.

This movie was just simply amazing and fun to watch. Granted, Ang Lee drags some scenes out farther than he should, the acid trip scene could have been removed entirely in my opinion, it slowed to movie way down out of nowhere. Outside of that, this movie is great and really shows what went on around what is considered the greatest concert of the century. I recommend that everybody try to get out to see this if you can. It is well worth it.

Great quotes: "I saw bob fill a bottle with water and charge some kid a dollar for it. Can you believe that? A dollar. For water!"

No comments:

Post a Comment