Photo taken with my hand.
As many of you already know, I love all types of music, but one of my favorite bands of all time is The Doors. When I found out I would be attending the first New York screening of the new documentary, “When You’re Strange,” directed by Tom DiCillo, I could barely contain my excitement. I have been eagerly awaiting this documentary since a trailer surfaced on the internet about a year ago. I have to say, the film is AMAZING! There is no filler. There are no conspiracy theories. There is no Oliver Stone Doors mythology. Instead, it’s literally footage of the band – on stage and off – comprising the entire movie. Johnny Depp narrates the film and while some of his expressions are a bit over the top, it does not detract from making this the best ever film about The Doors. The footage in “When You’re Strange” is not just the same stuff that makes it’s way into every Doors release either, but you will find some of that appears as well. The fact that this footage exists at all is pretty amazing since technology in the late 1960s was nowhere near what it is today. As a Doors die-hard who has seen it all, there was so much stuff in the film that was new to me. When the film started with crystal-clear footage of the still unreleased Jim Morrison film “HWY” (directed by Paul Ferarra), I just kept thinking “I cannot wait until this is released on DVD because I must own this film immediately!”
For someone that knows all the music by heart and has read every book possible about Jim Morrison, “When You’re Strange” made me see Jim Morrison in an entirely new light. Jim had the “it factor” oozing from all his pores and whether you like his music or not, I think the candid footage in this movie could convert the non-believers into the church of Jim. Jim Morrison obviously burned out too quickly and because of that, his tremendous gift and intelligence are so often over looked. The guy read (and understood) William Blake and Rimbaud at the age of 16, wrote down the lyrics of “concerts that he heard in his head” by his early 20s and was a world famous sex symbol by the age of 24. Even under societal pressure and under the influence of drugs and alcohol, the guy still wrote the lyrics for 6 albums worth of music, performed hundreds of concerts, wrote 3 poetry books and directed a film in the short span of 4 years, and all before his death at age 27. By age 27, where were you in life? People thought of him as a fool for “messing his life up,” but who is the bigger fool – a person that questions every possible convention and authority publicly or a person who is a slave to the system because they don’t take a chance to see what the possibilities are?
“When You’re Strange” opens in major markets across the country today and I strongly encourage you to see it. It’s playing at the world famous Angelika theater in New York for those interested.
After the screening, I met director Tom DiCillo and he was super cool. Thanks Tom, not only for being really nice, but for making this movie which I cannot wait to see over and over again! I asked him what the reaction has been from the die-hard fans and he said it’s been very positive. The band has embraced the film as well. He mentioned that they used all the footage they had, so there probably won’t be any additional footage when the DVD is released; however, with all the rare and unseen footage that is featured in “When You’re Strange,” fans new and old are going to cherish this movie as the ultimate visual document of a band whose music is as infinite as the William Blake quote from which The Doors got their name.