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04 October 2005

Dylan - A Complete Unknown

I had high hopes of this City Pages review of Scorsese's No Direction Home, based on the title and the "hook" (Scorsese takes 200 minutes to preserve the mystery of Dylan). But I was disappointed, very disappointed. Biggest problem with it? The reviewer confesses that he is too young "to have ever trusted the dude in the first place" and then continues, thinking himself very hip and clever:

The combative mid-'60s press conferences, the autobiographical fabrications, the mumbled cryptoquips, the endless string of overrated best-album-since-Blood on the Tracks-es--all were part of the legacy passed on to us post-Boomers.
Excuse me, but do give it a rest. "Us Boomers" have heard this particular whinge quite enough, thanks. But then, having framed this as another us-vs-them generational pissing contest, he allows several howlers to creep in. He notes that "Like A Rolling Stone", in a week when it was no. 2 in the Top-10, "nestled not incongruously between the Beatles' Help and the Beach Boys' California Girls" in a screen-shot in the film. Damn, when in the 1980s or 1990s or this decade did you have three top songs of that calibre? Isn't it just too obvious that post-Boomers are suffering from the most massive case of Bloomian anxiety of influence imagineable? Isn't it all just too darned Oedipal? And then, and then, the twerp has the gall to cast aspersions on Scorsese's choice of a sound-track to the 1950s. Hey, dude, you have just told us that you were not around then, and Scorsese most definitely was, and he is a cultural giant while you are a lowly insect toiling away as a stringer for a local weekly! Where the heck do you get off telling Scorsese he got it wrong?
Truly, I wish someone would write a good review of No Direction Home. Someone who "gets" Dylan, who was alive in the 60s, who respects but doesn't worship Scorsese and who doesn't have an axe to grind. Damn, that could be me. Too bad I'm so lazy.

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