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New Scorsese Doc about The Band

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So in. If there's a musician more into the moment than Levon Helm performing 'The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down' during the Last Waltz I'd love to see it.

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I love how much Scorsese loves the band. It's like he's seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and has more stories to tell about his favorite music. The Rolling Thunder Review doc about Dylan was incredible too. 

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What’s this “Robbie Robertson and the Band” shit? I’m going to watch it but I already know it’s going to be 90% Robbie sucking his own dick and then not taking responsibility for the way it ended. Sucks that Levon isn’t around any more to defend himself.

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8 hours ago, Kermit said:

What’s this “Robbie Robertson and the Band” shit? I’m going to watch it but I already know it’s going to be 90% Robbie sucking his own dick and then not taking responsibility for the way it ended. Sucks that Levon isn’t around any more to defend himself.

I'm assuming by the title that it's going to have plenty of (deserved) shots at Robbie.

Inject this shit straight into veins.

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Scorsese and robbie were roommates and friends, I expect this will not be an unbiased account. Fuck robbie Robertson.

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Danko was the fucking man too though

And Garth was the best musician.


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My take is that this is going to be a celebration of who The Band was at their best, and a reminder of their strengths & love for one another. The booze & drugs & personality conflicts may be touched on slightly by those familiar with the circumstances, but only Robbie & Garth are left to attest to all of the details, and Garth doesn't appear to be talking.

With a title like "Once Were Brothers " it sure doesn't appear that Robbie intends to shit all over the memories of his friends. I suspect at almost 77 Robertson is hoping to remind the world of how great they once all were & atone for his own mistakes that contributed to The Band's demise.

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Out of curiosity, I googled the estimated net worth of the living members.  If the results are to be believed, Robbie is worth 40 million and Garth Hudson is worth 1 million.  That's what happens when one guy gets all the credit for writing the songs (including "Chest Fever," somehow).

I'm not sure if the other 3 guys in the band shared Levon's post-breakup venomous hatred for Robbie.  Levon straight-up said that a destitute Manuel killed himself because Robbie got all their money.   

Curious to see how Scorsese handles "Levon vs. my good friend Robbie" this time.

 

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1 hour ago, GhostOfTomJoad said:

I suspect at almost 77 Robertson is hoping to remind the world of how great they once all were & atone for his own mistakes

So "The Irishman" is to "Goodfellas" as "Once Were Brothers" is to "The Last Waltz?"

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Sometimes, when I’m feeling blue, I’ll throw on Caravan from the Last Waltz.
 

Works every time. 

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Anyone seen this yet?  Currently 76% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. Got tix to an afternoon showing at the Drafthouse today. 

Edited by GhostOfTomJoad

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B- grade for me.  It's not a full history of The Band or the art they created, but more of Robertson telling people how much he loved his brothers, especially Levon. He expresses plenty of regret over how things ended, but--for better or worse--he doesn't go into great details about their demise other than to point at the members with serious drug issues (Levon, Richard) & how, after The Last Waltz, the plan was to take a break, rest up, and "fix some things." 

Robbie allows his ego to be stroked a bit (hey, it's his movie) and parts of the movie feel like an infomercial for his new album/song, but if you approach it as his love note to The Band & what they created you'll likely enjoy it.

Highlights to me were the interviews w/ Ronnie Hawkins who brought much needed detail & great comic relief. Serious LOL moments in the theater from his stories. Clapton also was a great add with his insight on their inspiration to him & how he wanted to be their rhythm guitarist. Bruce says all of the nice things about how they were able to create more together than they ever could have as individuals. Van mumbles a few niceties & enjoyed a kindred spirit with them. There's good insight offered by early producers & members of the band staff, and Robertson's ex-wife Dominique provides some nice details.

Stream it unless you really want to see snippets from The Last Waltz on the big screen. The closing scenes of Levon giving his all on The Night They Drove Ol' Dixie Down is probably worth a matinee ticket alone.

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On 1/22/2020 at 11:13 AM, Paul Wesley said:

 

I'm not sure if the other 3 guys in the band shared Levon's post-breakup venomous hatred for Robbie.  Levon straight-up said that a destitute Manuel killed himself because Robbie got all their money.   

Curious to see how Scorsese handles "Levon vs. my good friend Robbie" this time.

 

Couple thing: Scorsese is executive producer (and has just a few snippets in the film). Daniel Roher directed it.

They don't really touch on the financial side of things other than Ronnie Hawkins saying that what Levon said later on was due to him being an addict & broke. Robbie probably did the right thing by not touching on those areas much. It would have been too one sided, IMO.

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(edit:  lots of spoilers below.  maybe go see it before you keep reading)

 

 

I saw it tonight.... Had a surprising amount of old concert footage, backstage footage, amateur photos, home movies shot in Woodstock.  The talking heads were informative and gave a lot of insight.  The story of the group's early years was well illustrated.  

I still have problems with its one-sided presentation.  Especially the last 15 minutes or so of the film... Robbie just lines up all the talking heads he can, and one after another he gets them to more or less say, "Robbie wrote all the songs."  

I mean, Garth Hudson is still alive, right?  Why is Robertson getting friends and business partners to say he wrote all the songs instead of just asking Garth, "As you know, Robbie says he wrote 'Chest Fever' (an organ solo).  Is that correct?"  

It was weird how the movie seems very careful to answer all the charges against Robertson, but those charges themselves are never even mentioned.... that without the rest of the band's knowledge, Robbie claimed 100% authorship for all the early tunes.  The bitterness from the other guys about the financial disparity that created.  That "The Last Waltz" was shot and edited by Robertson's friend, and it ignores the fact that it was primarily (maybe only) Robbie who wanted to have a farewell show and quit touring.

In this film, Robertson just comes flat out and says that by 1975, he *had* to write all the songs because Levon and Richard were strung out on heroin.  Which is problematic to me for two reasons.  One, it's a little distasteful to throw your two friends under the addiction bus when they're dead and can't answer that charge.  And two, even if Robertson did write all the 1975 material, I'm pretty sure those aren't the songs whose authorship was ever challenged.

It's a good movie.  I'm glad I saw it,  but it's not going to be the last word on the story of the Band.  

It would be like Paul McCartney producing a 2-hour film that examines his complicated relationship with Lennon, and even though he effusively praised Lennon's talents, he used *only* talking heads who supported his positions in their arguements, blamed Lennon and Harrison for the Beatles' problems, and he released such a movie with no participation whatsoever from the only other living member of the group.  

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Good take. But the title of the doc gives you all the direction you need. "Robbie Robertson: Once Were Brothers."

In the end the doc is a good intro to the band & their music. It's not a deep exploration of how they formed. Shit, there's no backstory on Richard, Rick or Garth, they just come on board.

This is kind of the documentary version of the Freddie Mercury biopic: a glossy look at parts of their journey, some exploration of the painful truths (or versions of truths), but generally a love note designed to reintroduce the music to a new audience (oh, and sell a few records). Anyone looking for Robbie to admit that he was a greedy asshole & did it because he could & felt he deserved it so fuck you if you dont like it (see: Henley & Frey in the Eagles doc) will come away disappointed. And you're certainly not getting anyone to call him a thief.

It's a nice snapshot, but it ain't the whole picture.

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