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Music & Musings – The Watchlist

by Erin Darling 9 April 2014 No Comment E-mail Erin Darling

What have I been watching? This week I delved into the music  of “The Doors” and “The Magic Flute” as well as the comedic ramblings, stories, and musings from Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon in Britain’s TV-to-film adaptation of “The Trip.” Read on for information, and insight in this week’s edition of The Watchlist.



“The Doors” (1991)

Director: Oliver Stone

Starring: Val Kilmer, Meg Ryan

Rating: R

TRT: 140 mins


I don’t know what exactly inspired me to watch “The Doors.” But considering it was a semi-hungover day off with nothing but Netflix to do, I wouldn’t put it past me either.

Oliver Stone’s biography of The Doors frontman Jim Morrison isn’t exactly a glowing portrait, but it’s in those moments of darkness and drug-use that we find an unforgettable performance from Val Kilmer. It’s hard to believe actors like Johnny Depp, John Travolta, and Richard Gere were once considered for the role. But even Kilmer’s brilliant take on Morrison couldn’t save this movie from script-level problems that ultimately result in a languid style of story-telling that seems to float in and out of finding it’s pace.

High notes: Kilmer, the costumes, the soundtrack, and Kyle MacLachlan as Ray Manzarek – most ridiculous wig ever?

Low points: Meg Ryan’s generic performance as love-interest Pamela Courson lacked the specificity I was hoping to see in the girlfriend of a rockstar in the distinct times of the 60’s and 70’s.


“The Trip” (2011)

Director: Michael Winterbottom

Starring: Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon

Rating: NR

TRT: 115 minutes


Calling all improv aficionados! If you haven’t seen “The Trip,” do it now. You’ll thank me later. This highly improvised film from Michael Winterbottom is the entertaining story of a road trip starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon as amplified versions of themselves. “The Trip” is an interesting take on the buddy comedy sub-genre that’s funny, and smart. Though a wee bit slow at times, it’s still certainly worth a watch.

High points: Coogan’s charm, and chemistry with Brydon will draw you in and make you “feel like you were there.”

Low points: It’s definitely the kind of thing that you have to be in the mood for. AKA: Lots of dry, witty dialogue, but very little action.

“The Magic Flute” (2006)

Director: Kenneth Branagh

Starring: Joseph Kaiser, Amy Carson, Rene Pape

Rating: G

TRT: 135 mins


Could anyone other than Kenneth Branagh combine the fairy tale of Mozart’s most beloved opera with the stark setting of World War I? The answer is no. Though my doubts started at the DVD description, I ended up enjoying “The Magic Flute” much more than I had originally anticipated.

Somehow, Branagh was able to execute a movie version of this larger-than-life opera in a way that actually works. The modified setting and story-arcs retain the fantastic elements one would expect from “The Magic Flute” while simultaneously providing historical context that brings it back down to reality. A little…

High points: The talent. Every cast member in “The Magic Flute” really brings their A-game to this English-language adaptation of the opera.

Low points: I didn’t know this movie existed until today. Low point, indeed. But in my defense, it has not yet been released in the United States. Lucky for you, it’s now available on Netflix.

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