Friday night is Date Night for Mrs. Realist and I, and I try to find something that is unusual and different for us to experience. Luckily, I have yet to stumble into a bizarre and dangerous situation like that of Steve Carrell and Tina Fey in their recent movie covering this domestic recreational practice, but sometimes I manage to come close. This Friday night, I managed to cross paths with the modern day Man of La Mancha (as dubbed by John Soeder of The Cleveland Plain Dealer) on a quixotic quest equal to that of Cervantes’ classic hero.
Geoff Edgers, a writer for the Boston Globe, beset by the travails of working in journalism, became obsessed with the idea that he might inspire the original members of the Kinks to rejoin, even if for just one show. Filmed by Robert Patton-Spruill while simultaneously performing the Sancho Panza role, Do It Again manages to portray how fan fixation can lead to an obsessive quest to accomplish a great deed. Perhaps the great deed that Edgers achieves is to successfully take our minds off our own difficulties as we watch him torture himself with his.
Stewart Nusbaumer called Do It Again “a hilarious romp and clever distraction from a crumbling America and the middle class barbecue,” and I have to agree. I found myself laughing a great deal, sometimes alone as if only I got the humor of the situation presented. But these solitary moments were far more rare than when the general tittering emitted as Edgers again fails to lance the tilted windmill that is the personification of lead Kink Ray Davies.
Yet generally one tends to laugh with Edgers as opposed to at him, for there are moments when his humanity peeks through despite the quest. One such is when his young daughter picks up the camera and asks her father what he’s doing right now as if conducting her own interview. Another is when she demands a lobster dinner should he not succeed in bringing the Kinks back together. Now how can any good father refuse his daughter such a demand? He dutifully agrees, and I hope that I’m not spoiling any surprise when it later becomes necessary to deliver on this promise.
But this oddball Odyssey was not without certain successes, not when Edgers managed to spend a fair amount of time talking about the Kinks with the great producer Clive Davis, and he got to jam on Kinks songs with many famous artists such as Sting, Peter Buck of REM, Robyn Hitchcock, Zooey Deschanel, and brother Kink Dave Davies, who is especially wonderful to hear reminiscing despite his serious medical issues. In addition to Davies, Edgers managed to interview original Kinks Mick Avory and Peter Quaife, along with many of the Kast Off Kinks who are all former members of the band.
The Quaife talks (there were several) just might include the last public utterances he gave, as he died just last June from end stage renal failure. The ten years he spent enduring dialysis treating this disease inspired him to draw a series of Kink-y cartoons which were published as The Lighter Side of Dialysis. But you can get a taste of Quaife’s artistry by peeking at some of my favorites: here, here, and here,
My liking Do It Again means nothing against the growing roster of achievement awards the film is garnering from media professionals as it is being shown across the continent. I saw it at Big Bear Lake’s film festival in suburban Los Angeles (the drive home on dark mountain roads was our Date Night danger experience!). Sean O’Connell of Hollywood News saw Do It Again at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, North Carolina and declared it “the best film I’ve seen so far at the fest.” I don’t know where Adam Gold of Nashville Scene saw Do It Again, but he proclaimed that it was “a must see for any die-hard rock ‘n’ roll fan.” I heartily agree!
So for those who live near the following locations, I strongly urge going to see this “kind of Sherman’s March — with guitars“:
- Southern Utah International Documentary Film Festival in Docutah – September 22, 2010
- Chicago International Movies and Music Festival – September 23, 2010
- Atlantic Film Festival in Halifax, Nova Scotia – September 25, 2010
October showings (some dates and times TBA) include The Pusan International Film Festival, The Tacoma Film Festival, The New Orleans Film Festival, Sound Unseen Minneapolis, and the Royal Flush Festival in New York City.
The only November showing confirmed so far is the Northwest Film Forum in Seattle.
Further updates — including if the film finds a distributor for general distribution — can be found on the official web site.
Should you go to see Do It Again as I and many others recommend, pay special heed to the assessment of Variety regarding the closing homemade production of Edgers – accompanied by family and friends – performing one of Ray Davies’ best known works, as modified by Weird Al Yankovic. It is without a doubt, as they insist, “alone worth the price of admission.”