Alice Dryden (huskyteer) wrote,
Alice Dryden

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Beautiful, Man

I went to see Taking Woodstock last night. Reviews had been mixed and I wasn't sure what to expect, but I loved it.

Elliot is a nice Jewish boy whose parents own a filthy, failing motel in the Catskills. When he hears that a nearby town has rejected plans for a music festival, he spots an opportunity for his parents and the rest of the community.

Soon White Lake, NY is knee-deep in mud, hippies and deep-voiced transvestites who fought in Korea. Woodstock happens on a dairy farm hitherto known only for the superior quality of its chocolate milk.

The sets and scenery are lovingly shot, taking us from the kitschy El Monaco with its laughably optimistic signs hand-painted by Elliot ('Future Site of Casino') to the psychedelic patterns and colours of the festival-goers and their camper vans. Imelda Staunton shows off her enormous acting range as the hero's mother, there's that bloke from A Mighty Wind and also that bloke from Frasier.

My companion pointed out that the use of split-screen was a homage to the Woodstock movie, which we saw together, and several scenes were faithful recreations of iconic images from the film of the event.

It's not perfect. The acid trip scene goes on way too long and much is left unresolved - Elliot's issues with his mother, whether he'll come out to his parents, and the rift between the pro- and anti-festival townspeople - but it's sweet and watchable. By halfway through I had resolved to buy it on DVD when it comes out (and also read the book).

And, of course, the soundtrack is fantastic.
Tags: films, woodstock

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