Sunday, March 24, 2013

Phil Spector

David Mamet's Phil Spector (HBO, 2013) could have just as easily (and more accurately) been named Phil Spector and the Preparations for His First Murder Trial. It cries out for a deeper biopic of The Life and Times of Phil Spector. As is, it rates about a B -- not bad. Al Pacino gives a reasonably clownish version of the man. Helen Mirren is fine as one of his main albeit sickly legal defenders in the first trial for the murder of Lana Clarkson. The rest of the cast if perfectly able, as well. The Spector-themed music is good and the backdrop understandable. But where's the beef? In the immortal words of Iggy Pop, "I want more than the ordinary grind." Don't you?

The best parts of Phil Spector come when Linda Kenney Baden (Mirren) arrives at The Mansion and meets The Man. We see statues of owls lurking in high places and, among other delights, dramatic homages to Abraham Lincoln, Lawrence of Arabia, and Spector himself. Like Elvis Presley's Graceland or Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch, there are wildly tacky indulgences seen in abundance. The Man is deluded and egomaniacal and likes to bandy about with his gun collection. He is temperamental and often menacing. And, he is (or was) talented, produced a lot of enduring music. He showcased his people in The Big T.N.T. Show (1966) and even produced a Ramones album (End of the Century, 1980). Finally, in a connection to the posts immediately proceeding this one, Spector had a brief role in Easy Rider (1969), which also featured Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson. In Phil Spector, we see the movie poster prominently displayed on a wall in The Mansion. Nice touch.

Finally, in case anyone was wondering, the giant fro donned by Spector at his first trial was an "homage to Jimi Hendrix." Ha.

Today's Rune: Signals.       

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

What a strange little man he was.