Director: Alison Ellwood
Canyon Films, LLC / Madman
It’s hard to see this as anything more than a boomer circle-jerk: Oooh, we had the best music didn’t we…
Laurel Canyon is this near-mythical place in songs, in albums, in bands’ biographies. It is real. It was a place; a place where a large number of really great artists resided for a time. And it’s been the inspiration for fictional films, for books and now this documentary which is available as both a feature film (shortened) and a longer TV series. It’s hard to know, based on the two-part, two-hour documentary film why this was even made.
It’s got little bits of the Crosby, Stills, Nash story with no real teeth. It’s got a nice section about Linda Ronstadt but it seems to exist as a pre-cursor to mentioning the Eagles. Yes, there’s a connection, and we all know it – but the Eagles themselves never resided in Laurel Canyon and mostly only ever lived up their own arseholes from what I can tell.
Their hijacking of the narrative, or the filmmaker’s decision to include them as more than a mere footnoted-mention, is what makes me level the boomer circle-jerk charge: Picking these stadium-sell outs for the film’s conclusion feels as cynical as, well, almost any record or show by the Eagles.
I say this and yet I still watched this film – delighted in some of the still photos and home-video footage I hadn’t seen previously. But it also felt lazy and rather pointless. Like it wanted to edge toward meaning something and then couldn’t really find anything beyond some vague notion of designer-hippie ideals.
Hey, but The Turtles are in there! And Love! And those are really the best bits.
It’s worth your time if you’re a music tragic. But it’s not great filmmaking, nor is it necessary.
This review isn’t necessary either though. So, fuck knows…
You can support Off The Tracks via PressPatron