Fun and interactive coming of age film…but don’t waste your ten bucks
My first reaction to the movie “Taking Woodstock” was extreme dislike and disappointment. I went into the movie theater that Saturday afternoon hoping to see a movie that would have given me a more fun version of the history of Woodstock with reenacted performances from the great, and more than likely stoned, artists at Woodstock nearly 40 years ago, as compared to the many documentaries on this year on the History Channel. The autobiographical film, however, gave audiences a totally different view of the epic three day event.
While I was expecting to hear some riffs of Hendrix, the Who, and Joplin, instead I was bombarded with naked people, homosexuality, and Jewish Motel owners. What I had expected from the movie was a 2D experience of watching the concert. What I actually got was a nearly 3D interactive experience that brought viewers into the grounds in Bethel, NY to experience Woodstock in a way that only being present Aug. 15-18th, 1969 at the original festival would have experienced.
The film was slow going for most of the 110 minutes it ran, but with many doses of caffeinated beverages I was able to make it to the end. Elliot Tiber, the main character, may never have made it down to the actual stage, but along the way he was introduced, and in turn introduced the viewers, to the myriad of eclectic characters that made up the audience of Woodstock. He took us on an acid trip in an old VW bus. He met a Transvestite marine and saw nuns and police officers letting loose. When Elliot’s old school, Jewish parents ate some special brownies was a gem of a scene.
What this film was more than anything was a coming of age story for a young man who was growing up in a time where all boundaries were pushed. All in all I say rent this one. It may not be worth the $10 to see it in a theater, but it’s not a movie to miss either.