Demetri Martin, Imelda Staunton, Emile Hirsch, Henry Goodman, Liev Schreiber, Eugene Levy
Elliot: Have you guys been down to see the festival yet?
VW Guy: We’re cool…we’ll get there again.
VW Girl: We got to the top of the hill and looked down at the sea…and the tiny little people on stage…with their waves of tiny electric voices.
VW Guy: Like ants making thunder…man…it was cool. But you couldn’t really tell who was jamming down there.
Elliot (Martin) is helping out his parents at their little hotel, despite wanting to be back in New York working as an interior designer. After learning that a neighboring town wouldn’t let a music festival use their land, Elliot contacts them to say that his family has some land they could use. One thing leads to another, and pretty soon there’s millions of hippies descending on this unsuspecting little town.
I’m not real sure what to think about this movie. It’s like an inside look at the lead up to Woodstock, but it’s still stuck on the outside once the festival starts. We don’t see any performers on or off stage, just a few echoes of music in the distance here and there.
Elliot is our doorway into the whole event, but he’s stuck trying to help his parents back at the hotel. That is, until his dad says he should go see the festival himself. Even then, he doesn’t quite make it to the stage. He just gets sidetracked doing acid with some hippies in a VW.
Maybe the point is that it was more about the experience of being there with other people like you, rather than the music. If so, fine, but it doesn’t make for a very compelling movie. In fact, I think “plodding” would be the best word to describe it. A plodding movie. It seems like it’s slowly building up to the big Woodstock experience at the end, but all we get is that hippie van and some people sliding around in the mud.
Don’t get me wrong, it captures all of that atmosphere very well (I assume…I mean, I wasn’t there or anything), but it just never really leads us anywhere. It’s almost like watching a documentary that couldn’t afford to buy the rights to use the music played at the festival. So they were left just showing everything else.
I suppose all of that would have been okay if the characters were more compelling. Unfortunately, aside from Elliot’s rather intense mother, there isn’t much interesting going on with anybody. Eugene Levy was good as the farmer who charges a very high price for permission to use his land for the festival, but he’s not on screen very much.
If you want to see a nice looking, glossed over glimpse into the atmosphere surrounding Woodstock, without the magic of the performances, this could be worth a look. Just don’t expect a compelling story or interesting characters. But hey, you can definitely expect a lot of naked hippies!
Woodstock was…kinda boring.
10 – 2.1 for not having a particularly compelling story or characters – 1 for being so plodding/slow – .9 for lack of any performance scenes = 6.0