May 27, 2008

I'm Not There - $4

I'm Not There is a take on the life of Bob Dylan. Or at least that's what it claims to be. Dylan is played by different actors who each seem to represent different parts of his personality. Creative idea, poorly executed in my opinion.

I was really looking forward to I'm Not There. My brother got me into Bob Dylan a few years ago and since then I've become a huge fan. This movie was a big disappointment to me though.

The story jumps around chronologically and the metaphors seem so obvious I kept wondering if I was missing something.

In the end I'm Not There is a meandering and directionless movie that tries way to hard to not be a biopic and ends up being a series of disconnected artsy short films that are sort-of about Bob Dylan. There were some intriguing scenes, some great imagery and some brilliant acting but way too many times where I was totally unengaged.

I'm putting I'm Not There on my 'Don't Watch It' list and giving it a value of $4.


Trev said...

Ok, so when's this promised "Iron Man" review coming huh? Alright, I'll be patient.

When this movie hit theatres, that's exactly what I said; "I'm not there!" You've confirmed for me that I would have wasted my time on this one. I could go on for hours about how much I don't care for Bob Dylan, but that would probably offend people. The only thing that could've kept this story from being mundane to me would've been a well executed movie. Oh well.

I heard that "Dan in real life" displayed some great "family togetherness" scenarios, is that true? Was it actually funny? I'll have to check it out soon.

Tony Tanti said...

Iron Man is coming, I wanted to pop out a couple easier reviews first as it's a busy week.

Dan in Real Life did have some good family scenes, you should check it out.

As for Bob Dylan, my criticism is reserved only for this movie, Dylan is the greatest songwriter of all time and the most influential musician to ever walk the earth. Those are just facts.

Trev said...

Facts? One's perspective on music is subjective. As far as "great" song writing is concerned, I would lean more towards a more diverse artist such as Billy Joel (another songwriter hall of fame inductee).

As far as "most influential of all time", if you were to replace "Bob Dylan" with "Bono" I would agree! To me, Bob Dylan's story is that of someone who was in the right place at the right time, he never had to work very hard at his accomplishments.

Sorry about this blatantly non-movie related post. I just had to get that off my chest.

Tony Tanti said...

Sorry trev, you can say that you don't like Dylan's style, (that's subjective) but I'd challenge you to find 5 people who know anything about music history that think Billy Joel and Bono are even in the same category as Dylan. I like Bono but that's like saying Nickelback has influenced music more than U2.

Dylan influenced Cash and the Beatles, he was constantly pushing himself to make different music and do what noone expected. His library of songs is unmatched in it's quality and variety. I don't know the stats on cover songs but I imagine nobody has been covered more than Dylan either.

Dylan has a pulitzer, has been nominated for the nobel more than once, he has Grammy's, Golden Globes, Oscars, he's in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame, he was called one of the most influential people of the 20th century by Time magazine and was ranked #2 on the Rolling Stone Greatest Artists Ever list, behind only the Beatles, a band that admits to having been impacted by Dylan. U2 ranks 22nd and Billy Joel does not appear on the list.

Jeff said...

I agree with you that "I'm Not There" wasn't an amazing movie and it was pretty disjointed. But I still think the movie worked in some way. You criticized the lack of chronological order to the movie which basically just means you didn't like the style that the movie was in. And I think the "obvious metaphors" you didn't like were more like parallels between the lives in the movie and the life of Bob Dylan and were not meant to be less than obvious. Seems like your expectations of this movie may of inhibited your ability to enjoy this movie for what it was. I don't think it was trying too hard not to be a biopic, I just think it was trying to be something else entirely. And in my mind, it succeeded.

Trev said...

As far as influence on fellow musicians is concerned, yes, no quarrel with you on that one. In that respect, Dylan accomplished more in his era than perhaps anyone will be able to again; he takes the cake.

I was speaking on "influence" in general. And I didn't say "U2", I said "Bono". What he has done for the world with his fame and music is insurmountable in comparison with anyone else.

Remember, people who know "anything about music" also know that Dylan wasn't the greatest singer or guitar player by any stretch.

I submit to you that Dylan's songs kickstarted a lot, but only deserves half of the credit. Without fellow musician's interpretations of his songs to the public, he's just another guy "blowin' in the wind".

When I want to be moved by a song like "all along the watchtower", I don't listen to Dylan, I listen to Hendrix.

Tony Tanti said...

trev, valid point about Dylan's voice, I'm pretty sure he's a damn good guitar player though.

While fellow artists' interpretations add to Dylan's legend it is his original that inspired those artists.

jeff, I see your point about the metaphors. You say that this movie is "something else entirely", what exactly is it?

I watched some of the features the next day and a few of the less meaningful scenes make a little more sense to me now.

jon said...

somehow i'm still really really psyched to see i'm not there.

as for this dylan argument, i think i see what trev is saying. i don't listen to old dylan stuff a lot, but i actually have his latest album, and i listen to it a lot. it makes me see just what a great songwriter he is and on this album seems like a great vocalist too. i think he fits comfortably #2 behind the beatles, even though i don't listen to the beatles a lot either.

give bono 10 more years and he'll be #3 or higher on that influence-meter (we're still talking music here, not politics). i just think there is something to be said for the passing of time in an "argument" like this.

remember too, that bono would not have been what he was without the edge. great lyrics and melodies and voice, but i have a hard time with that solo distinction in his case. i think it is tantamount to calling mccartney the #1 musical influence of all time rather than the beatles. there may be an element of truth to the statement, and maybe bono and mccartney are the stronger of the pairings, but we are talking about a dynamic of two artists (and their bands) that just would not have been there otherwise.

Dave McG said...

If Bono and U2 had done anything worthwhile in the last 15 years I would agree that they could make the list. But they haven't and to me it doesn't look like it is on their agenda.

jon said...

i don't know dave, i think two of their last three albums have been sub-par, but that doesn't mean they are done, and it must also be said that the other one was one of their all time best.

having read bono's recent bio-interview i must admit, however, that making music didn't seem like it was a huge priority in his life anymore.

part of me admires that though. somehow u2 manages to be allowed to do whatever they want to do whenver they want to do it, rather than being told what to do and when and how.