That Velvet Goldmine movie...... did it do justice to glam rock?

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...or if not, was it a decent stab at injecting some much needed queerness into the zeitgeist?

... or if not, was it Michael Stipe parenthetically jizzing onto widely distributed celluloid?

... or if not, did it at least make Dave and Iggy blush?

maria b (maria b), Monday, 23 December 2002 03:50 (eighteen years ago) link

another drunken post. sorry guys.

maria b (maria b), Monday, 23 December 2002 03:51 (eighteen years ago) link

Some good moments but overall mixed. I hope that a) It's ok that I mention this and b) I have my facts straight, but the journalist character is modelled after ILX's very own Arthur! Or something like that.

Sean (Sean), Monday, 23 December 2002 03:58 (eighteen years ago) link

"Ballad of Maxwell Demon" was way kick-ass, man

Adam A. (Keiko), Monday, 23 December 2002 04:03 (eighteen years ago) link

"parenthetically jizzing" -- U&K new ILx phrase.

j.lu (j.lu), Monday, 23 December 2002 05:39 (eighteen years ago) link

Wasn't it Todd Haynes fantasising about what he'd have liked Glam to be like? Like Sean said, it's a mixed bag, but I think the good bits are great.

Zora (Zora), Monday, 23 December 2002 11:55 (eighteen years ago) link

the journalist character is modelled after ILX's very own Arthur! Or something like that.

The name does come direct from Our Arthur, as does elements of the background, but I'll let the Man Himself detail things if he wishes. :-) There is of course the key difference in that Arthur Here is American while Movie Arthur's a Brit...

Great movie but I would say that -- and yeah it was Haynes' wet dream, and it ROOLED! And 'paranthetically jizzing' is indeed the new motto of this place. ;-)

Ned Raggett (Ned), Monday, 23 December 2002 15:32 (eighteen years ago) link

I was turned on to glam-era T. Rex/Bowie/Roxy Music maybe a year before the movie came out, and when it did I thought it was one of the greatest movies *about* rock 'n' roll that I had ever seen. Just the rush of the opening credits with "Needles in the Camel's Eye" blaring, kids running through the streets - beeyootiful. I've seen it a bunch of times since and I think that it does an excellent job of weaving all the different strands/stories of glam together while being faithful to none of them. It gets the spirit of it right - the themes of self-mythologizing, the "coming out of the closet", the decadence, frivolity. Plus it just looks fucking gorgeous. I really don't understand why this movie was so universally hated - me and most of my glam-loving friends all really dug it.

Shakey Mo Collier, Monday, 23 December 2002 18:08 (eighteen years ago) link

Velvet Goldmine soundtrack = Shudder to Think is possibly world's most underrated band.

Spencer Chow (spencermfi), Monday, 23 December 2002 18:14 (eighteen years ago) link

Yeah, both their numbers were quel spiff. And then there's the hilarious eighties arena Bowie parody "People Rockin' People" -- you can only hear it briefly in the bar scene at the end of the movie, but damn I want to hear the whole thing!

Ned Raggett (Ned), Monday, 23 December 2002 18:45 (eighteen years ago) link

I do elaborate interpretive dances to both those StT trax = I'm a drunk freak!

Spencer Chow (spencermfi), Monday, 23 December 2002 18:55 (eighteen years ago) link

: high fives Shakey Mo Collier :

maria b (maria b), Monday, 23 December 2002 19:12 (eighteen years ago) link

Iggy Pop is not gay. He's from fucking Detroit for Christ's sake.

Before I get any flack, I'd just like to say, I am not a homophobe. (Lame Cliche Ahoy!) I have no problem with the gay community. I hang around at least 2 gay dudes I know of (I know, that's not very many, but I'm in the military for fucks sake, so the majority of dudes I have hang around are forced to hide it pretty well if they are gay), and one I get alone great with, and the other (cliche over now) I'm going to have to beat the crap out of because I think he only uses the "being gay" thing as an excuse for me to not beat the crap out of him when he flirts with my wife. I admit the insecurity in my manhood that makes me throw in the above comment, but it's a solid fact that no one from Detroit is gay. Except Madonna sometimes. And maybe Eminem.

Helltime Producto (Pavlik), Tuesday, 24 December 2002 03:44 (eighteen years ago) link

Wasn't Jack Wild an Iggy/Lou Reed composite anyhow? Since Lou was (a) gay and (b) had electroshock therapy to try and rid him of said gay?

Nate Patrin (Nate Patrin), Tuesday, 24 December 2002 04:20 (eighteen years ago) link

Yeah, but he was part Iggy Pop, and Iggy Pop would overwhelm Lou Reed any day, and he's is not gay.

Helltime Producto (Pavlik), Tuesday, 24 December 2002 04:26 (eighteen years ago) link

Oh come on. If it would infuriate crazed violent bikers and get the audience to beat him up, he'd totally have sex with guys.

(OK I'm not really being serious here but work with me for the time being.)

Nate Patrin (Nate Patrin), Tuesday, 24 December 2002 04:57 (eighteen years ago) link

Yeah, but it wouldn't be gay, it would be like, some sort of Viking thing or something (see Drew Carey's Friar's Club Roast).

Helltime Producto (Pavlik), Tuesday, 24 December 2002 05:06 (eighteen years ago) link

I think that Iggy Pop would be more concerned about Ewan Macgregor's meagre endowments as revealed in the scene where he pulls his pants down on stage than the fact that this fictionalised character somewhat based on Iggy is gay.

Amarga (Amarga), Tuesday, 24 December 2002 07:43 (eighteen years ago) link

"Wasn't Jack Wild an Iggy/Lou Reed composite anyhow? Since Lou was (a) gay and (b) had electroshock therapy to try and rid him of said gay?"

Kurt Wild is McGregor's "Iggy" character - I think the character closest to Lou Reed in the film is Jack Fairy (Fairy as the forerunner, dressed a la Berlin period, etc.) Although yeh, it's McGregor's character who gets the shock therapy.

Now that that's out of the way, I think it's patently ridiculous to look at footage of Bowie and Iggy hamming it up together during "the Idiot" and "Lust for Life" period and not seeing anything homoerotic going on. Iggy's nuts - I'm sure he's swung both ways in his time (Bebe Buell has some good stories about him, although they're mostly smack-related as opposed to sexual).

I did think it was weird that Hansen saw fit to include a nod to Bauhaus (the "Death of Glam" band that Arthur hooks up with) and yet there was no room in the film for Marc Bolan. This is not a complaint really, there are numerous T. Rex references in the film - just no central character.

Shakey Mo Collier, Tuesday, 24 December 2002 17:07 (eighteen years ago) link

five years pass...

was this film really all that bad?

piscesx, Monday, 18 August 2008 16:30 (thirteen years ago) link

I saw the Edinburgh Festival premier of this when it came out. That year, the hot fashion item on the high street was the grey 'utility' shirt. Consequently, as the audience came out, I found myself surrounded by hundreds of grey-clad clones all asking each other "what the hell was that all about?". Felt like it was still part of the film.

I think it's great. I think it stands up. Lots of people hate it. But then, people hate Glam. And people hate Todd Haynes. See it and decide for yourself.

Soukesian, Monday, 18 August 2008 17:11 (thirteen years ago) link

Iggy Pop is not gay. He's from fucking Detroit for Christ's sake.

Before I get any flack, I'd just like to say, I am not a homophobe. (Lame Cliche Ahoy!) I have no problem with the gay community. I hang around at least 2 gay dudes I know of (I know, that's not very many, but I'm in the military for fucks sake, so the majority of dudes I have hang around are forced to hide it pretty well if they are gay), and one I get alone great with, and the other (cliche over now) I'm going to have to beat the crap out of because I think he only uses the "being gay" thing as an excuse for me to not beat the crap out of him when he flirts with my wife. I admit the insecurity in my manhood that makes me throw in the above comment, but it's a solid fact that no one from Detroit is gay. Except Madonna sometimes. And maybe Eminem.

-- Helltime Producto (Pavlik), Monday, December 23, 2002 10:44 PM (5 years ago) Bookmark Link

boy, how did we let this guy get away

and what, Monday, 18 August 2008 17:13 (thirteen years ago) link

film is way better than glam rock

Dr Morbius, Monday, 18 August 2008 17:19 (thirteen years ago) link

^agreed. "Velvet Goldmine" is one of the most visually beautiful and emotionally expressive movies I've ever seen. I just love how complex it's structure is, how the story changes from scene to scene in the most impossibly inventive ways, and how the imagery literally stuns. The story may not be true to the subject in a historical sense, but on a deeper level I think it is, and I don't think Haynes was going for realism anyway. I don't understand why this isn't considered one of the great movies of all time.

Dan S, Monday, 18 August 2008 18:57 (thirteen years ago) link

I read that Haynes originally wanted to use Bowie's music for the film, but Bowie wouldn't let him use it. If that's true, I think that refusal resulted in an infinitely better movie.

Soukesian, Monday, 18 August 2008 23:11 (thirteen years ago) link

yes as noted on some other thread that's definitely true.

Shakey Mo Collier, Monday, 18 August 2008 23:12 (thirteen years ago) link

resulted in heavier emphasis on Roxy Music/Eno

Shakey Mo Collier, Monday, 18 August 2008 23:12 (thirteen years ago) link

Also, not being in debt to Bowie, he could say what he felt about his, um, career trajectory in the 80's.

Soukesian, Monday, 18 August 2008 23:15 (thirteen years ago) link

which, perhaps not so coincidentally, also strangely mirrors Ferry's career in the 80s

Shakey Mo Collier, Monday, 18 August 2008 23:15 (thirteen years ago) link

I have often wondered how bitter Ferry is about having a very similar career arc to Bowie, except without all the international, critical, and commercial adulation. I mean Roxy/Ferry are big, no question, but Bowie long ago attained some kind of weird iconic/mythical status compared to which Roxy is more of a cult act.

Shakey Mo Collier, Monday, 18 August 2008 23:16 (thirteen years ago) link

It seems to me that Ferry is probably very contented with his lot, having achieved the aristocratic lifestyle he fantasized about with Roxy. Somehow, I don't see him lying awake wondering why Eno seems to get all the credit for the first couple of albums. Too bad for us, in a way.

Soukesian, Tuesday, 19 August 2008 07:39 (thirteen years ago) link

Somehow, I don't see him lying awake wondering why Eno seems to get all the credit for the first couple of albums.

He certainly did at the time however

Tom D., Tuesday, 19 August 2008 09:11 (thirteen years ago) link

Despite being a big glam rock fan, I didnt like it when it came out and I dont like it now. For all its ambitions, there's something rudimentary in this movie, like those rather ludicrous Citizen Kane hommages.
But they included a couple of Steve Harley songs in the soundtrack, and this was a good idea.

Marco Damiani, Tuesday, 19 August 2008 09:31 (thirteen years ago) link

man, i need to watch this movie again. i remember seeing it in high school and thinking that i needed to move to london and be gay in 1972, like, immediately. please note that i was a teenager with pink hair and a bowie fetish in a town of 2000 people in rural maine.

Emily Bjurnhjam, Tuesday, 19 August 2008 14:04 (thirteen years ago) link

oh, and kudos to the soundtrack for turning me onto roxy music.

Emily Bjurnhjam, Tuesday, 19 August 2008 14:05 (thirteen years ago) link

thirteen years pass...

Haynes' VU doc motivated me to watch this again. I hadn't seen VG since it was a new movie - the Citizen Kane framework that it hangs on feels even clunkier now, but Christian Bale and Toni Collette are really great. I forgot just how off-the-charts all-out the production values are - all of it shot on film. Movies will never, ever look like this again.

Elvis Telecom, Wednesday, 17 November 2021 22:11 (two weeks ago) link

I have to revisit this, but Haynes didn't really help when I heard his commentary on I'm Not There. He makes it clear that he really, really regretted not having Bowie's songs. I wouldn't think that it would be so damaging since he's got all this other music in there, but I guess he had to rewrite the script to address some other issues Bowie brought up when he rejected their licensing request?

birdistheword, Wednesday, 17 November 2021 22:51 (two weeks ago) link

I'd have to watch the whole thing again, but man, I love the opening (a nod to A Hard Day's Night, I assume).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oNSkzIQR-lQ

clemenza, Wednesday, 17 November 2021 22:55 (two weeks ago) link

That's the opening, a title card saying "video unavailable"--it's thrilling.

(Eno's "Needles in the Camel's Eye" with lots of frantic glam kids running around town, if you can't play it.)

clemenza, Wednesday, 17 November 2021 22:56 (two weeks ago) link

You can click on the link to take you to the YouTube page. I noticed the same thing with a video I posted earlier.

When Smeato Met Moaty (Tom D.), Wednesday, 17 November 2021 22:59 (two weeks ago) link

Yeah..."Disabled by the video owner" always mystifies me. I'm some guy who's (illegally) uploaded this clip, but I've appointed myself "video owner," and I want to make sure you watch it on YouTube.

clemenza, Wednesday, 17 November 2021 23:16 (two weeks ago) link

This film had a lot of issues working against its commercial and critical success - despite Nirvana and Brit-pop, cultural interest in Bowie was low; the Bowie camp itself was very defensive (Visconti derisively referred to the film as a "gay porno", and apparently the songs were held back due to plans for a Ziggy Stardust movie that never happened); and the homocentric take on his history and persona probably further marginalized the film from the mainstream. I said to my Bowie fan friend after we saw the film that it's going to puzzle non-fans who won't pick up on the many details, and simultaneously aggravate fans who dislike its depiction of his career and persona (like the Angie figure being the font of integrity and authenticity).
I thought the use of the music was the best part of the film - the vintage glam, the glam remakes, and the pastiche songs by Shudder to Think and Grant Lee Buffalo. I had made a video in high school of "Needles in the Camel's Eye" so the opening scene of this in the cinema was extra-startling.

Halfway there but for you, Wednesday, 17 November 2021 23:33 (two weeks ago) link

I love the opening, and even disregarding the plot, the film is beautiful to look at and contemplate and still feels innovative

Dan S, Wednesday, 17 November 2021 23:37 (two weeks ago) link

The Wikipedia on this film suggests that the Grant Lee Buffalo track "The Whole Shebang" is a pastiche of "Velvet Goldmine", the song. I hear a lot more "Changes" and "Oh You Pretty Things" in there.

Halfway there but for you, Thursday, 18 November 2021 15:36 (two weeks ago) link

saw this, for the first time, on a big screen at Lincoln Center a couple years ago. gorgeous - i was just drinking in the visuals and the sounds. maybe a little messy story-wise but whatever, the excess was part of the point, and i found the Christian Bale storyline quite touching. especially the momentary daydream of being able to point to the TV screen and declare to his parents, "that's me!" this was a huge teenage-years movie for my partner, so going with her and seeing it through her eyes probably also had an influence on me.

I Am Fribbulus (Xax) (Doctor Casino), Thursday, 18 November 2021 15:42 (two weeks ago) link

Not seeing it available on any of the usual streaming services.

Sterl of the Quarter (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 18 November 2021 17:14 (two weeks ago) link

PHYSICAL MEDIA, BABY!

The original DVD sucks tho, and Holy Hell @ the BluRay prices.

Precious, Grace, Hill & Beard LTD. (C. Grisso/McCain), Thursday, 18 November 2021 17:48 (two weeks ago) link

You're going to have to walk to the theatre in a snowstorm like I did in January 1999.

Halfway there but for you, Thursday, 18 November 2021 17:52 (two weeks ago) link

You sure it's not on Prime?

clemenza, Thursday, 18 November 2021 17:55 (two weeks ago) link

Not in the US, I don't think. Currently Unavailable.

Sterl of the Quarter (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 18 November 2021 18:10 (two weeks ago) link

Just Watch sez...NO!

https://www.justwatch.com/us/movie/velvet-goldmine

Precious, Grace, Hill & Beard LTD. (C. Grisso/McCain), Thursday, 18 November 2021 18:12 (two weeks ago) link

I think one of the problems is that this was a Miramax title in the states, and (A) that catalogue has bounced between different owners and sub-licensing deals for years, and (B) depending on the distro deal, in many cases Miramax's rights will possibly soon expire and revert back to the original production company (although I don't know if that would apply here anyway).

Precious, Grace, Hill & Beard LTD. (C. Grisso/McCain), Thursday, 18 November 2021 18:20 (two weeks ago) link

How does it compare to I'm Not There? Which I thought was uneven, but Cate Blanchett was so damn good, and the way her scenes were worked up from/not too repeating segments of Don't Look Back and Renaldo and Clara. Also liked the origin story of pre-BD as little black boy, real name: Woody Guthrie.

dow, Thursday, 18 November 2021 19:48 (two weeks ago) link

not *just* repeating

dow, Thursday, 18 November 2021 19:48 (two weeks ago) link

(Dylan said she should have played him in Masked and Anonymous!)

dow, Thursday, 18 November 2021 19:50 (two weeks ago) link

I think the big difference is that the Dylan history and mythology is much more common knowledge, so he could play around with expectations more than he could with Bowie.
The other difference is that Velvet Goldmine is largely a critique of its Bowie character for exploiting/abandoning his constituency, while the same accusations that were thrown at Dylan are played for laughs in I'm Not There.

Halfway there but for you, Thursday, 18 November 2021 19:57 (two weeks ago) link

Not seeing it available on any of the usual streaming services.

Found it in less than 90 seconds on the dark.net (including slsk)

Elvis Telecom, Thursday, 18 November 2021 20:07 (two weeks ago) link

Xpost That really sounds unfair to Bowie, also to many of his fans, given that the chameleon bit quickly became part of his appeal, and hype: "For my next feat..." And every time he went twitching off in some direction I didn't like, he always eventually redeemed himself (I didn't like the title song as single at all, but Alfred and Tarfumes got me to finally listen to Parlophone/Rhino 2016 version of Young Americans and omg yall)

dow, Thursday, 18 November 2021 20:30 (two weeks ago) link

Though I'm sure some people wanted him to keep dragging the early 70s gear around, like Alice Cooper to this day.

dow, Thursday, 18 November 2021 20:33 (two weeks ago) link

I think it's less about people wanting him continue on in glam rock mode and more about the transition from the "I'm gay, and always have been" Melody Maker interview in the early 70s to the "David Bowie Straight" Rolling Stone cover in the early 80s. Been a while since I've seen the film but my impression was that it was kind of an allegory for how it would've felt to experience that shift for someone who had been able to point to Bowie and say "that's me!" in the 70s.

The Wikipedia on this film suggests that the Grant Lee Buffalo track "The Whole Shebang" is a pastiche of "Velvet Goldmine", the song. I hear a lot more "Changes" and "Oh You Pretty Things" in there.

I'm with you there -- I don't really hear "Velvet Goldmine" at all. Now I'm trying to figure out if the chorus is a pastiche of any specific Bowie song. It's always seemed so familiar, but all that's coming to me now is "Mr. Blue Sky."

Anyway, I love those pastiche tracks on the soundtrack so much, especially "The Whole Shebang" and "Hot One." I pretty much never listen to any of the covers though.

Vaguely Threatening CAPTCHAs, Thursday, 18 November 2021 22:32 (two weeks ago) link

"Mr. Blue Sky" and the two Bowie songs I mentioned all feature choruses with a descending bass line against eighth-note piano chords in the right hand.
"Hot One"'s inspiration is a little more vague - "Time" in the verses, maybe "Lady Stardust" in the chorus?

Halfway there but for you, Thursday, 18 November 2021 22:37 (two weeks ago) link

Think it's less about people wanting him continue on in glam rock mode and more about the transition from the "I'm gay, and always have been" Melody Maker interview in the early 70s to the "David Bowie Straight" Rolling Stone cover... my impression was that it was kind of an allegory for how it would've felt to experience that shift for someone who had been able to point to Bowie and say "that's me!" in the 70s. Oh yeah, that totally makes sense, some Velvet Underground Trainspotting Question discussion of Lou "Only a woman can love a man" Reed going "back in the closet" etc. w some description of his alleged marital set=up w Laurie, on the phone from sep apartments etc. But from a distance, especially, who knows how these things can work? I started being a confused observer in Collegetown. Some people do go back and forth, some don't come back and there are open marriages that last*, also a sexual---spectrum? Ani DeFranco caught it from "The Girl Police" as told in the song of that name, dunno where she's at now, though Revolutionary Love is her latest, I think.
Seems like Bowie and Reed would never address the issue in a song, unless there are unreleased tracks that do, hopefully.
*Recent life-and-works of novelist-etc. Dodie Bellamy in The New Yorker incl. quotes on "queer" B.'s open marriage to "gay" (what's the distinction? Tags they preferred, maybe) to poet Kevin Killian: "We had lesbian sex, we had gay sex..." Not just posing for the world/residual self-image of conformity they were brought up with---and "Only a woman can love a man," though obnoxious, esp, in ponderous "Heavenly Arms," doesn't incl. "sex," so a distinction/escape clause can be inferred.

dow, Friday, 19 November 2021 15:30 (one week ago) link


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