Thursday, December 14, 2006

I Am Trying to Break Your Heart (Movie Review)

i am an american aquariam drinker
i assassin down the avenue
i'm hiding out in the big city blinking
what was i thinking when i let go of you...


Even if it is a tad slow at times, it's difficult for a Wilco zealot, such as myself, to not be absolutely smitten by this documentary.

I Am Trying to Break Your Heart (2002) captures the recording of what is perhaps Wilco's best album to date, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. If you haven't heard anything from this album, buy it. Or at least try out a couple songs on iTunes. I'd recommend the song that inspired the film's title ("I Am Trying to Break Your Heart") or "Reservations" or even "Poor Places."

I'm neither a producer nor a music history buff or even a musician myself, but I do have a keen appreciation for art (both in sound and sight). And Yankee, as far as I'm concerned, is up there with The Beatles' White Album in terms of innovation & style.

Now that I've heightened your expectations to unhealthy levels — and sufficiently set you up for disappointment — allow me to return to the film for a moment.

I appreciated the opportunity to see not only what one of my favorite bands is like off-stage, but also the experience of seeing just what, exactly, a musician goes through to get an album out. In this respect, you don't have to be a Wilco fan to enjoy the film, as it offers a rather interesting behind-the-scenes glimpse into the music industry. And for Wilco in particular, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was tricky because the music label that initially funded the record backed out of the contract when frontman Jeff Tweedy refused to alter the final product to suit their demands.

And, if I wasn't clear before, I'm glad he stuck to those proverbial guns. The final product is phenomenal.

But rather the spoil the documentary by revealing the series of events, and the backstage brouhaha, that finally led to the album's release, I'll refer you to Netflix, where you can queue up this black and white, pop some low-fat kettle corn... and enjoy.


Anonymous said...

I guess I just assumed you had seen this one. I bought it a couple few years ago and love it. being a musician, poor producer, and wilco fan, I have an understandable bias. anyway, I'm with you. it's great.


Anonymous said...

plus I really like the alternate takes of the songs. do you have the wilco book?


thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy said...

Actually, I first watched the movie a couple years ago... sort of. I never got to finish, because the DVD I borrowed was scratched. My sister then bought me the movie for Christmas last year, but I only just finally got around to watching it in its entirety.

I haven't read the book yet. I need to. What'd you think? "Learning How to Die," I believe?