Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Top 25 Movies of 2000s: 12: It Might Get Loud (2009)

Everyone with a soul has at one point wanted to be a rock star. If you are not a complete narcissist you wanted to play lead guitar instead of being the singer. It Might Get Loud will reawaken that part of you that came alive the first time you heard that first great guitar riff. It could be Nirvana’s “Smells like Teen Spirit”, Gun’s n’ Roses “Sweet Child of Mine”, Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lot of Love”, The Who’s “Pinball Wizard” but whatever it was you knew that you had never really been alive until you heard that music and a part of you knew that nothing would ever be the same.
That first great rock song is like your first great love. You discovered it almost by accident. You felt fear, raw sexuality, and like you were becoming an adult all in a few seconds. It Might Get Loud makes you feel that way all over again.
It Might Get Loud is a documentary featuring Jack White of the White stripes, The Edge of U2 and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin. Three great guitarist come together to talk music, to jam and talk about what influences them. The film comes across as a bystander who is a fan of great music who quietly sits while the three maestros experiment, jam, talk, joke and open themselves up in a way that you never see.
While most “Rock-umentries” (I hate that term. It is too contrived to have come from anywhere but a late 80s MTV staff meeting.) come across as a forced interview designed to say what genius the musicians are and that if you want to understand pure art you will buy their latest album. This documentary about musicians comes across as three people who are brought together because of their love of music and the guitar. You believe that despite the money, the fame, the adulation (aka groupies), that they would want to hang out on a Friday night in someone’s old house after a long week of work and play guitar.
This is the movie that is not a way to spend a Saturday night. This is the movie to watch alone. Then hang out with friends who like music (who really like music) ask the simple question “Which is a better Zeppelin song Rock n’ Roll or Whole Lot of Love?” in a bar that has a really good jukebox. Bring some quarters, a willingness to see where the conversation goes and blast the songs that need to be heard.
p.s. Ironically, my favorite Zeplin song is “Going to California” not loud but still powerful and brilliant. The song that woke me up was “Stairway to Heaven” I was 13, my first kiss came three months later and life would never be the same.

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