Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I don't think Dylan even knew what "Visions of Johanna" was actually about

I just watched I'm Not There for the second time this weekend.

After I saw this movie the first time, I told my friends Adam and Sam that I wanted to write a music biography. I was excited to see someone’s life story told in such an unusual way, and I couldn’t help but feel a calling in the picture to try and do so myself. I think that I’m Not There bridged a gap for me between music and creative non-fiction that I have really taken to heart.

First of all, I can do nothing but praise Todd Haynes for the story he told. You have six characters, portrayed by a group of actors who couldn’t be more diverse. Marcus Carl Franklin and Richard Gere are 44 years apart in age, Franklin is black, and Cate Blanchett a woman, yet the story is fluid and each character provides an integral part to the picture and to understanding the complete persona of Bob.

For me, on a combination of how partial I am to the particular Dylan-era and on the performance, my favorite character was Blanchett’s Jude Quinn (beginning electric era) hands down. I know and have paid much more attention to this time period (particularly the Royal Alber Hall Gig) so I found this character to be the most rewarding as a fan. Of course, that does not undermine the unbelievable performance of Cate Blanchett as the snotty, drugged, and weird-as-fuck Jude Quinn.

I’ve also taken to the soundtrack. My favorites are:

Jim James and Calexico – Going To Acapulco
Stephen Malkmus and The Million Dollar Bashers – Ballad Of A Thin Man
Cat Power – Stuck Inside of Mobile
John Doe – Pressing On (both for the performance and the hilarious irony)
Jeff Tweedy – Simple Twist of Fate

And a question for anyone whose seen the movie or knows Dylan trivia: The character Cocoa (who I believe is Edie Sedgwick) brings a guy to the party that Jude refers to as the guy “from that cover band.” He then proceeds to tear this guy apart emotionally. Who is this guy that Jude bashes and then proceeds to puke in the lap of? (God, that just has Melvillian eloquence to it). The “cover band” comment seems to hint at Roger McGuinn, but I couldn’t see him being that mean to him. Brian Jones maybe?

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