Friday, January 31, 2014

Enjoying 20 Feet From Stardom Despite Its Consistent Flatlining

I got around to catching the fourth Oscar nominated documentary earlier today...
20 Feet from Stardom was a beautiful experience bringing back memories of excellent musical moments that I could never quite manage to put a face to. The idea of making a film focusing on the backup singers of some of the greatest songs ever written is very exciting in theory. Though about twenty minutes into the movie I found myself wondering if there would be some greater purpose to the film's existence.
Spoiler Alert: There isn't.

And that's okay.
It would seem Morgan Neville didn't really set out to convince his viewers of any particular concept. He just wanted to give us a heads up that these people existed and struggled and helped to make beautiful music that we will remember long after they are gone. Perhaps there is one comment worth mentioning... the idea that tuning is an expected expense on most recordings these days is a ridiculous thought. But this rather interesting conundrum comes and goes in the span of thirty seconds and is never mentioned again.
So I'm left wondering why this was chosen as a nominee at the Oscars this year. It's odd that there were no nature films in the category. And to be perfectly blunt, three of the other four docs are mostly about war and death... Given those odds, it's surprising that this made it at all. Perhaps it is just a representation by the Academy; an example of solidarity that they, in fact, understand those backup singers' pains.

It's cool to see a film like this nominated, but I really don't think it stands a chance against the likes of The Act of Killing and Cutie and the Boxer. Anyway, one more documentary left to go.

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