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November 22, 2017


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Favorite Waste of Time
DVD reviews and musings

By: Randy Harward

Welcome to the third installment of "Favorite Waste Of Time," the column that ensures my spot on the couch stays warm.

Let's not fuck around with a long intro: it's time to "give'r," as the say in Fubar, a Canadian indie faux-documentary film that follows two headbangers, Terry and Dean, as they struggle not to grow up. They're content to get embarrassingly drunk and play embarrassingly bad bass guitar for the rest of their lives, barely squeaking by as a furniture shop janitor with delusions/aspirations to builder status (Terry) or a day laborer (Dean). The thing is, Dean has testicular cancer and is forced by his girlfriend - who has to learn of Dean's ailment from Farrel, the filmmaker - to get attention, confront the demon. The confrontation manifests in an ensuing pre-op party which is hilarious and not to be spoiled (think American Movie after shotgunning a case). Post-op is as funny and somewhat poignant, as Dean and Terry grow up just a little (barely evidenced in their behavior) but enough. The soundtrack features Canadian bands (Sum41, Gob, etc.) covering Canadian classics and the New Pornographers as they've never been seen or heard before. Even the special features are entertaining (chiefly the deleted scenes, commentary and music videos by Thor and the New Pornographers). Buy it at http://www.fubar-themovie.com.

Watched a shitload of music DVDs this month, some good some--YAAAAAAAWN. Firstly, Big Country: Final Fling. Two discs, two concerts, seemingly two different bands. One young, playing a two killer, umpteen filler set with youthful energy, the other older, maybe wiser, playing same songs with professionalism and a modicum of moxie. Since few care about Big Country past "In A Big Country" and "Fields Of Fire," this is way too much BC for the average joe. Nutty fans, however, will be rapt.

Next up: Kansas' Device, Voice, Drum (DVD, get it? Clever!), another band whose audience is split between song-oriented listeners who care little for the band's proggy jams and just wanna hear "Carry On Wayward Son" and "Point of Know Return" played once with feeling. The other side would be the prog-heads, bongs at the ready, spewing the ubiquitous line, "Betcha never thought a violin would sound so killer in a rock band!"

METAL! Manowar vs. Armored Saint...two bands I avoided like the plague in and well past their respective and brief heydays. Now I have to admit I feel a sort of affinity for them, enough that I played these DVDs longer than Kansas or Big Country or even Ronnie Wood (keep reading). Could have been that both bands are more entertaining visually (though often much like a freakshow) or that metal shows are by design, better than shows with just gasp! music.

So--Ronnie Wood. Who ever told this guy he was a frontman? Sure, it's easy to confuse him with bandmate Keith Richards or first mate Rod Stewart, but only aesthetically. This live show, which to his credit, goes light on Stones/(Small) Faces material, is barely more than a curiosity (which goes straight to freakshow, come the mostly-instro rendition of "Paradise City," replete with the dime-a-dozen guest appearance by Slash). Yuck.

Savin' the good stuff for last: just having discovered Plexifilm's awesome DVD documentaries, expect monthly raves about their titles for the forseeable future. The first three I'll rave about: Friends Forever. A tale of two guys, some dogs and a chick traveling the country "on tour" (this consists of the two guys playing 15-minute, curbside rock shows out of their VW van, which barely withstands the punishment. The shows take place in parking lots and fire lanes - near clubs, but never in them. If that little info is enough to pique your interest, you'll love the film.

Second, Benjamin Smoke. The tale of a Benjamin, the speed-freaked drag queen leader of one of the coolest bands you may never hear: Smoke. Most of it takes place in Cabbagetown, a suburb of Atlanta where Benjamin resided (he passed away in 1999, from complications related to HIV), a simple setting for a tale about a complex-or-is-he? cat. Fascinating - pick it up.

Lastly: Sam Jones' Wilco flick, I Am Trying To Break Your Heart. As band documentaries go, this has everything: creation, dissent, departures and triumph. Even if you don't dig Wilco, it's time well-spent. Nuff said.

Now, on to MGM's Meat Loaf vehicle, Roadie. Not a review - I'm gonna watch it. See you next month.
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