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Fowler’s Flix 06.07.19: Music Legends, Past and Present

Vice Films
The rise and fall of "true Norwegian black metal" is mostly fictionalized in Lords of Chaos.
Fertile Ground Compost Service
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I was talking to Andrew yesterday when, invariably, the conversation turned to music and music on film.

As of late, I told him, I feel that these musical interludes are some of my favorite flicks to not only watch, but to review here. Documentaries, biopics or even fictional renderings based off a song, I just can’t get enough of that sweet stuff, as we can seefrom this week’s renderings.

Long thought to be one of the greatest singers of the 18 th century, Farinelli (Film Movement) tells the story of the famed castrato and his erotic dalliances with fannish women, exploits where his composer brother Riccardo would often have to take over for reasons I don’t think I need to explain. A lush telling of his seductive life, Farinelli has often been compared to Amadeus in how it perfectly captured the lust and legacy of these supposed stiff-upper-lipped figures of lost history.

Moving up the rungs of history quite fast, the latest film from Ethan Hawke is the poetic country tune Blaze (Shout! Factory), about music’s long-lost never-was Blaze Foley. A pioneer of “outlaw country” before it became en vogue, Foley palled around with the likes of Townes Van Zandt and even wrote songs for Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson, but a crippling addition to the bottle never made him above a few cassette tapes that collectors passed around, but, as Foley said in the film, he never wanted to be a star anyway.

Many people remember Randy Bachman as the burly lead singer of Bachman-Turner Overdrive, but as we quickly learn in the rousing documentary Bachman (Film Rise), there really is so much more to the guy. After popularizing Canadian rock—and Canadians who can rock—with The Guess Who and BTO, reaching grandiose highs in the 1970’s, like many stars of his ilk, the 80’s and their lows just about killed him.

But, as we settle in to not only the history of his music but the actual man himself, we see how he came back to become a much-respected elder statesman of pure rock and roll.

One punk rock legend that became just another fatality, however, was Johnny Thunders. His mysterious death in New Orleans many years ago and, especially, the few days leading up to it, is the focus of Room 37 (MVDVisual), a long-winded but mostly-interesting dramatization of that tortured time, filled with tunes from Thunders, the Heartbreakers, New York Dolls and more, which is probably the best thing I can say about the film—some of the synced performances by Leo Ramsey are great.

Finally, the leaders of “true Norwegian black metal” finally get their cinematic due in the mostly marginal Lords of Chaos (Vice Films). Directed with definite style by video wunderkind (and former Bathory drummer) Jonas Akerlund and with a cast of mostly Americans, Rory Culkin stars as Euronymous, a Satanic teen who, along with other Satanic teens, inadvertently starts Norway’s church burning spree of the 90s, which, as it is usually wont to do, leads them to murder, mayhem and brain fragments that are still a highly questionable part of the story.

But, you know, I’ll take it.

Next week: Angst in My Pants!

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About the Author

Louis Fowler

Güicho. Gadfly. Chicano. Choctaw. Cristero. Freelancer. Leftist. Activist. Vilified. PKD....

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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