Woodstock

Released:  1970

Oscar Wins:  Best Documentary Feature (Bob Maurice)

Oscar Nominations:  Best Sound (Dan Wallin, L.A. Johnson), Best Film Editing (Thelma Schoonmaker)

SUMMARY:  This movie is a documentary chronicling the Woodstock Music Festival that took place outside Bethel, New York in 1969.  Footage of the stage construction is shown, along with interviews with both locals and concert attendees.  However, the bulk of the film is devoted to the performances, including Joan Baez, The Who, Joe Cocker, Arlo Guthrie, Jefferson Airplane, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Santana, Sly and the Family Stone, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix.

MY TAKE:  You know what’s weird?  Watching actual people at Woodstock and realizing that they could be your grandparents.  There wasn’t too much that was revelatory about this movie, being that Woodstock is such a well-known event, and a lot of the performers are now legends.  It was interesting to see some of the setup, and interviews with people that lived in the area, as well as attendees.  There was one couple that was really irate about all the kids that showed up in the area, but most of the others seemed to think that the kids were really nice and polite.  The one big damper on the festival was the rain that happened on like the second day, which created a lot of mud and misery.  The only other major issues were the fact that there were so many people — a lot of people showed up that didn’t have tickets.  This created issues with feeding everybody, as well as medicine.  The Army actually helped out with the medical part, while a lot of locals banded together to feed everybody.  Of course, the great legacy of Woodstock is that it was peaceful.  My issue with the film is just that it’s so long, and features musicians that are way before my time.  I don’t think it’s that interesting to just watch musicians in concert, especially for over three hours.  A lot of the songs went on forever, which was irritating.  I was looking forward to the Jimi Hendrix part, at least the famed version of the Star-Spangled Banner, but for some reason my recording quit just before he came on.  To be honest, though, I was really bored by that point.

RATING:  Way too long; doesn’t offer anything new.

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