Monday, February 4, 2008

No catchy title, just Kurt Cobain.

The Ovation channel is a hidden gem. At first glance, you assume it consists solely of looped airings of The Nutcracker Suite and the burgeoning music scene of Cameroon. But a few years back, after stumbling upon a popular series of music documentaries hosted by George Martin, I gave the channel a well-deserved second chance. Since then, it's been part of my regular DVR rotation, recording at least 1-2 shows per week ranging from the life of Andy Warhol to a history of the Beat generation. A few weeks ago, when checking the channel lineup, I was immediately intrigued by an upcoming documentary/indie film called The Last 48 Hours of Kurt Cobain -- a must see, of course. Tonight, I finally got around to watching it. It was quite interesting to say the least, and I learned a lot about a man who although I practically worshipped from ages 13-17 (and now, once again), I knew so little about.

The title is a bit of a misnomer -- the film actually intertwines the story of Kurt's childhood, his teenage years, the rise of Nirvana and of course, his final days. There are no interviews with Dave Grohl, Krist Novolselic or Courtney Love and only sparse footage of the band as we remember them. In fact, I don't recall hearing a single sound snipet of Nirvana's music throughout the 90 minutes. Rather, the filmmaker personalizes Cobain by seeking out notable people from Kurt's past, including his grandfather, some shady dude he lived with in high school, one of the band's original drummers and a girl he dated for 3 years prior to meeting Love. They are all just "regular" people from the outskirts of Seattle. One exception is Duff McKagan, former bassist of Guns N' Roses, who surprisingly plays a fairly predominant role throughout the film. Little did I know, McKagan was one of the last people to interact with Cobain before his suicide (coincidentally, the two sat next to eachother on a plane from L.A. to Seattle after Cobain "fled" from rehab). McKagan offers much insight on the addiction aspect of Cobain's life, which naturally included many of his own experiences with drug abuse.
[3rd grade book report ending] The film is certainly not controversial nor does it really spark any emotion like say, Imagine or Heart of Gold does. If you're looking for something that explores the mysterious circumstances surrounding Cobain's death or a montage of live concert footage, try Nirvana - Live! Tonight! Sold Out! or the Dateline investigation special that aired a few years back. But if you want to learn more about the life of one of the great[est] rock icons, then I recommend you go to your local library [Netflix] and check this film out for yourself (sorry, I couldn't resist!). Unfortunately we all know how it ends...
A few years back, I was in Washington state with another member of the Weightstaff. Although we thoroughly enjoyed exploring the backwoods of Sequim and the mountains outside of Port Angeles, I feel like we missed out a little on the "real" culture of Seattle, especially some of the more notable "grunge" landmarks, many of which that were documented in the film. I'm talking about the mexican restaurant where Cobain frequented and enjoyed his rum-raisin pudding or the bar he went to where he was last seen alive. Although, we did see Pearl Jam at the Gorge -- not too shabby...

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