Wednesday, May 12, 2010

When You're Strange

The PBS "Independent Lens" series brought to my living room this first-ever Doors documentary, with all the bad words bleeped and naughty bits blocked out. I could tell, despite Congress' best efforts, that those were the best parts.

It's a straight-up, here's-what-happened-next story, without any current "no-here's-what-I-remember" statements to compare/contrast. The wealth of concert and studio footage is what makes it worthwhile. Robbie Krieger shoots a perturbed look while he's trying to work; Ray Manzarek takes a deep drag and gives it a try; John Densmore is a friggin' hero; Jim sure looks cute and deranged. Then someone takes some still photos that end up in a courtroom, and they didn't even show the best parts, and PBS couldn't show them if they wanted to.

One good thing about this uneven but revelatory film: It will reset your Doors queue, so you can restart with the familiar or check back with something you've taken for granted. Like "Spanish Caravan," or "Crystal Ship," ... or "Light My Fire"...

There were some pseudo-Jim scenes created with backstory in mind -- really, when's the last time you saw someone dressed like that, in a car like that, pulling up to a gas pump that looked like that, and handing cash to someone dressed like that? I give that a big ten-four, good buddy.

But those scenes were a sideshow, not the main attraction.

Big up to the producers for getting Jim Ladd on board as the voice of Jim Ladd on the radio. I remember during Roger Waters' "Radio KAOS" tour, going up to the DJ booth on the floor to see Jim Ladd in action. Great voice to guide you through, like always.

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