Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Jason goes to Docfest--Day 9

I skipped one day of the festival--last Thursday. I apologize, but I had important drinking to do.

But I was back on Friday with two more films, on the night of unusual musical acts.

First up was MICHAEL DES BARRES: WHO DO YOU WANT ME TO BE? Starting with the heroism of his great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather which earned him the title of the first Marquis Des Barres, we skip ahead to the modern day, when Michael is a rock star, actor, bon vivant, ex-coke fiend, etc. The title comes from his one bona-fide musical hit, "Obsession" (which he says is not about sex but about cocaine) but the movie encompasses his whole life, including the parts he doesn't really remember and director J. Elvis Weinstein had to fill in for him. All the way from his posh boarding school (where he had to explain that his father was a "man of independent means"...meaning he was a crook who got caught and is in prison) all through his glam rock years and his impressive movie and TV resume. The story is told directly through Michael Des Barres interviews, with other interviews sprinkled in there to corroborate his more fantastic stories and give a rounded view of him as a person. He comes across as an eminently likable guy with an infectious laugh and a lust for life...among other things. But also a genuine people person, the kind of actor you hear about who learns the name of everyone who works on the set and helps everyone out.

And then another eminently likable musician in I AM THOR. John Mikl Thor was a body builder, actor (appearing on stage in What Do You Say To A Naked Waiter?,) and a pioneer of heavy metal "muscle" rock. He had hard-charging songs with an act that featured him blowing up hot water bottles and bending steel bars. Fast forward about 40 years, and he's a kind of dumpy old guy still holding on to his dreams and trying to make a triumphant comeback. And for a while it looks like it will be a sad story of missed glory and not knowing when to let go. But thank god for Sweden, where an international Muscle Rock festival welcomes him back to perform and the crowds go freakin' nuts for him. Seriously, Thor is literally a God in Scandinavia. And it's awesome to see this guy and his band catch a break, play some great shows, and get some freakin' acclaim. And it's got the greatest ending of any movie in the festival (so far.) Actually, including the credits scene, it's got the two best endings.

Total Running Time: 168 minutes
My Total Minutes: 400,412

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