Tag Archive: my girl

Having A Party…

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

This past weekend, our family hosted a party in which our son’s band played a bunch of songs and performed for family and friends.

This was not their first performance. In the spring, the boys were apart of the high school’s talent show. In that venue they only had to play three songs. In our backyard, the expectations were greater while the audience was smaller.

Those of us who were there had a great time. The boys had occasional help from family members to make a song work but more importantly, they learned how to deal with each other in a performing situation and that is a big hurdle to overcome.

Image from IMDb.com

Image from IMDb.com

Will it go anywhere? Who knows. The potential is there to be a good regional band. But like anything else, it takes persistence and hard work. Nickelback wrote in one of their songs that as they were growing up, they wanted to know what it would be like to sing to someone other than themselves while in the car. I think that could fit for many of us.

Friends of mine recently recommended a documentary called Searching For Sugarman about two South Africans who go on a trek to find out whatever happened to their musical hero. Sugarman, also known as Rodriquez, is a folk singer who made two albums in the early seventies. But no one seemed interested in him. His albums didn’t sell in the U.S. and the man slipped back into obscurity.

Somehow his music found its way to South Africa. The man was as popular as Elvis but it was rumored that Rodriquez was dead from an apparent suicide. In the 1990s the two friends decided they would find out what happened to their idol.

The movie won an Oscar for best documentary in 2012. Rodriquez did not show up for the ceremony so as to not take the spotlight away from Swedish director, Malik Bendjelloul. Bendjelloul stated that is fitting for Rodriquez, that he would be so generous on a night honoring his career.

Image from IMDb.com

Image from IMDb.com

Another documentary on music that I love is Standing in the Shadows of Motown about the Funk Brothers. These guys were the studio musicians who played on every song recorded in the Motown studios in Detroit.

They created the licks and picks of Motown songs that made them memorable. We see pictures of the man who came up with the opening line of “My Girl” and hear music from an era that has passed into history. These men tell stories of how they worked together and kept each other safe during the riots. And they also tell how hard it was not to be known for the great music they created. And they tell the truth of what happened in the end, why they ended up being left behind.

Music is a fickle mistress but when you are in the middle of making it, there is a feeling of paradise.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle. 


They Write the Songs

Family Movie Night

Movie poster for "Justin Bieber:Never Say Never," Image from IMDb.com

Bieber Fever is about to hit the home theater market when Never Say Never comes out on DVD on Friday May 13th.

The movie, perfect for pre-teens and up, tells Justin’s story of being a kid who recorded his music and put it up for the world to see. We get to see just how hard the kid works and how hard it is to stay a kid in the performance world. As Justin tells his story, he also shares that you should not let your dreams go because others tell you they are impossible.

Now it would be the hip, cool, snarky thing to immediately put down this movie and Justin Beiber as an artist. After all, this guy came about because people saw and liked his You Tube videos. His songs are fairly simplistic but solid workmanship. 

I watched the Glee episode that featured Bieber music and realized that his music may not save the world but it was not completely terrible either. Do the nasty comments come from true criticism or jealousy that this kid worked at his dream and achieved it but the critic has not reached that level of accomplishment?

That is something to think about.

Robert White and Joe Messina in "Standing in the Shadows of Motown," image from IMDb.com.

Now if documentaries about music are something you want to watch, let me suggest one of my favorites. Standing in the Shadows of Motown (2002) tells the story of the studio musicians, the Funk Brothers, at Motown when it was in Detroit. It chronicles not only the members of the band – who did what on which song but also the stories of the time period.

This is just one of the stories. At the start of the Martin Luther King Jr. riots in Detroit, the guys had been playing music all day. When they leave the studio they realize very quickly what is going on and the Funk Brothers hide their white horn player so that he can remain safe.

The soundtrack is filled with the memorable songs of the era that still sound so wonderful to my ear. How the opening lick for My Girl came into being is discussed and credit to the man who came up with it. It is a movie that will send adults on a reminiscing trip and give a lesson to those not affected to Motown music.

Movie Poster for "This is Spinal Tap," Image from IMDb.com

The mocumentary that does the best at laughing at the self-absorbed world of superstardom is This Is Spinal Tap (1984). Directed by Rob Reiner who stars as a documentary-like interviewer, this is the movie that gave us the joke about ’11’ on an amp volume dial. This movie made fun of guitar collecting and searching for enlightenment through Eastern meditation. It skewers everything we think we know about that world and then some.

Would I show this movie to my kids? Because it has a lot of swearing, drugs and alcohol references and some sexual jokes, I would allow my older teenager watch it and I am pretty sure the 14-year-old will quietly come in the room and watch. The younger ones are just going to have to wait a few years before they see it.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Let the world know about your latest pick for Family Movie Night and drop a note below.