FILM REVIEWS

by Larry Carlin

Movie Magazine International

I have been doing film reviews for the show since 1991. Below are some of the more recent reviews that I have written. Enjoy!


David Crosby: Remember My Name

July 24, 2019

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50 years ago, on May 29th, 1969, an eponymous album of folk-rock songs was released titled Crosby, Stills and Nash, and the music world was changed for the better. The recording had a profound effect on this 15-year-old fledgling musician, it paved the way for the singer/songwriter movement that followed, the trio played at Woodstock ten weeks later, and the album is listed at #262 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. The members of the group have had their ups and downs with each other over the decades, and the main instigator in this category is the feature of an insightful new documentary titled David Crosby: Remember My Name.

From his early days in the Byrds, to the CSN&Y years, and as a soloist – his first solo recording, from 1971, is titled “If I Could Only Remember My Name” – David Crosby has had an amazingly successful career, as he still performs today at age 77. But it’s also amazing that, like Keith Richards, he is even still alive, considering all the drugs and alcohol that he consumed while also having two heart attacks, eight stents put in his heart, a liver transplant, and being a diabetic.

The movie begins with him talking in his living room with the film’s producer and longtime friend Cameron Crowe, and after a while they get into a car to take a tour of famous places Crosby played and lived in Los Angeles, before he goes on the road to play some shows with his band. His voice is still strong and he has released four albums in the past five years. Along the way he talks openly about songs that he wrote, women that he’s loved and lost, his long battle with addiction, his nine months in a Texas jail, and his contentious relationships with his former band mates. He admits that he made many mistakes along the way, and he says, “I have regrets about the time I wasted. And I’m afraid of dying.”

A bit worse for wear at this point in his life, the two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is still here and, love him or hate him for his foils and the many breakups of the famous band, this documentary is an incisive – and hopefully, honest (with the diabolic Crosby, you just never know) – look into a complex and creative artist who has clearly left his mark in American musical history. The film flows easily, and besides the beautiful soundtrack there is a never-ending supply of fabulous footage that can’t be seen elsewhere. But don’t expect any CSN&Y reunions anytime soon, as way too many bridges have been burned over the decades, mostly lit by David Crosby, whose name surely will always be remembered.



Woodstock: Three Days That Defined a Generation

May 29, 2019

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1969 was a turbulent year in American history. Richard Nixon was sworn in as the 37th president, Ted Kennedy drove a car into a lagoon in Chappaquiddick, Charles Manson’s gang massacred a bunch of people in Los Angeles, Neil Armstrong took the first step on the moon, the Stonewall Riots took place in New York City, hundreds of thousands demonstrated against the war in Viet Nam, and perhaps most notable of all – at least, for this discussion – is that the Woodstock Music & Art Fair took place in August in upstate New York. 50 years later, in honor of that amazing gathering on Yasgur’s Farm outside the town of Bethel, there’s a wonderful new documentary titled Woodstock: Three Days That Defined a Generation.

For those of you that are maybe too old to remember or too young to care, the three-day concert was put together by a group of guys that wanted to showcase some of the local musicians that lived in Woodstock, such as John Sebastian, Bob Dylan and Tim Hardin. Some of the guys had a recording studio, and they thought that putting on a concert would be great promo. Concerned about the hippie element that would be coming, the nearby town of Wallkill put the kibosh on the event, so the promoters scrambled to find another location on short notice, and they ended up 60 miles away in Bethel, but kept the “Woodstock” name, since posters and ads had already been made. Expecting maybe 50,000 people, 400,000 turned out for what became the greatest music concert in rock and roll history.

Instead of spending time talking with musicians or showcasing performances, award-winning director Barak Goodman combines previously unseen archival and festival footage with interviews of attendees, promoters, journalists and doctors. This is a behind-the-scenes look at the planning of the fest, how it happened, and how it forever affected the lives of those that were there.

“But wait,” you may be saying. “I already saw the three-hour 1970 documentary called Woodstock, which featured many of the acts that played the festival. Why would I need to see this new documentary?” While this is a valid question, I can guarantee you that you won’t be disappointed by this magical mystery tour back to a seminal moment in American musical history. And if nothing else – for all of you skateboarding, video game-addicted millennials out there – Woodstock: Three Days That Defined a Generation will show you that you will never be as hip or as cool as your grandparents were.

 Horn From The Heart

October 4, 2017

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The early 1960s were a turbulent time on the American music scene. The folk revival was starting to wane, the Beatles arrived in 1964, and Bob Dylan plugged in and played electric for the first time at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965. Amid this cacophony there was a young white harmonica player from Chicago playing the blues in a style not heard before. His name was Paul Butterfield, and he is the subject of the new documentary titled Horn From the Heart: The Paul Butterfield Story.

Born to middle-class parents in the Hyde Park section of Chicago in 1942, Butterfield had a “Leave It to Beaver” style upbringing, playing flute in the school band and excelling in sports. He earned a scholarship to Brown University for track and field, but a knee injury early on sidelined his sporting career, so he headed back to Chicago, where his life would take a dramatic turn in another direction. Back home, while attending the University of Chicago, he met guitarist Elvin Bishop. He started hanging out in blues clubs, watching legendary African-American players such as Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter and Otis Rush, and he was inspired to start singing and playing the harmonica. Before long, Butterfield started his own band, hiring Wolf’s rhythm section – which gave him instant credibility on the blues scene – along with Bishop on rhythm guitar and the young phenom Michael Bloomfield on lead guitar.

They played clubs in Chicago and New York, and at the last minute they were booked to play at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965, and it was there that they really made a name for themselves. Some of the bandmates were hired by Dylan to back him up for his set at the fest with their electric instruments, and that was a watershed moment in the folk music world. From there Paul’s groundbreaking multi-racial band began touring the country, and their debut album, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, was a huge success. They also got to play the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and Woodstock in 1969, while band members came and went, and more albums followed. By 1971 the band dissolved, and while Butterfield formed new ensembles in the ensuing years, he never again attained the success he had in the late ‘60s. In 1980 he was diagnosed with peritonitis, and this, combined with excessive alcohol and drug use, led to his early demise at age 45 in 1987.

There’s an amazing amount of footage of Butterfield playing from his early days until the end, and filmmaker John Anderson has spliced it all together in this highly informative and entertaining documentary of a driving force in Chicago blues. Included here are interviews with Elvin Bishop, Bonnie Raitt, Maria and Geoff Muldaur, Nick Gravenites, former band mates, and family members.

Paul Butterfield was an amazing talent who lived hard and literally played his Horn From the Heart.


Chavela

October 4, 2017

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As a working musician for the past four decades, I like to think that I’ve been around the block a few times while being part of some memorable shows. But my alleged musical career is just getting started compared to that of Chavela Vargas, who is the subject of a wonderful new documentary simply titled Chavela.

Born in 1919 in Costa Rica, Isabel Vargas Lizano was unloved as a child by her parents for being a tomboy. She left home at age 14 for the streets of Mexico, where there were more music opportunities than in her home country. She soon changed her name to Chavela, which is a pet name for Isabel. She played guitar and sang on the streets for many years, and she even had a brief friendship with the legendary painter Frida Kahlo. After turning professional in the 1950s, singing rancheras in her own unique style while dressing in an androgynous fashion, Chavela soon was filling nightclubs. She befriended well-known ranchera singer, Jose Alfredo Jimenez, one of the biggest stars in Mexico, and he helped her career immensely. Besides touring the world, she also performed for many years in Acapulco, a resort town where many artistic Americans went on holiday.

Along the way got to hang out, and party hard, with intellectuals and the elite of Hollywood, but eventually the heavy drinking started taking its toll on her. So much so that she disappeared from the music scene for 15 years while dealing with her demons. In 1991, she returned to performing at a nightclub in Mexico City, where a wealthy Spaniard saw her sing. He took her to Spain, where she caught the attention of longtime fan and noted filmmaker Pedro Almodovor, who was in love with her singing. He cast her in some of his films, and he helped promote her career, setting up shows in theatres in Spain, and even going so far as underwriting her debut – at age 83 – at Carnegie Hall in New York City. She continued to perform until shortly before her death in 2012 at age 93. Along the way she recorded over 80 albums, and to the surprise of no one, came out as a lesbian at age 81 with the release of her autobiography titled And If You Want to Know About My Past.

Chavela had a long and illustrious 75-year career, the likes of which most musicians can only dream of. She even overshadows Tony Bennett, who, while still out there singing at age 91, has only been at it for 68 years.

After all of this, if you are still scratching your head and wondering just who this amazing and fascinating singer was, not only do you have to go on line to search out her music, you also need to get out and see the new documentary Chavela.


We Are X

October 26, 2016

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As a working musician for the past 40 years, whenever there is a music-related movie about to open I often get the call here at Movie Magazine. Playing mostly acoustic music, I was more than happy to cover the recent Glen Campbell, Carter Family, Leon Russell, and Wrecking Crew documentaries. But it was with much trepidation when I agreed to review a documentary about a mostly unknown – at least, in this country – Japanese glam rock/metal band called We Are X.

The band known as X Japan was founded in 1982 by childhood friends Yoshiki and Toshi. With wild hair, garish makeup and outlandish outfits – picture a combination of early David Bowie, KISS, and AC/DC – and you’ll get an idea as to what the band looked and sounded like in their early years. They went on to become the most successful band in Japanese history, selling more than 30 million albums at home and while touring the world. Yoshiki – the handsome, charismatic, and waif-like drummer and composer who has defied the odds having multiple physical ailments that would sideline most people – is one amazing drummer who often literally gives more than 100% during their shows.

And incredible lead singer Toshi will astound you while singing in English, which he can barely speak while being interviewed offstage. But bands are tough to keep together for more than 30 years. Along the way, some bandmates committed suicide, and when Toshi joined a cult in 1997, the band split up for ten years. But now they are back together and touring again, and a big part of this documentary was the four-day build-up to their epic show at Madison Square Garden in New York City in 2014.

We Are X was an Official Selection at the South by Southwest Film Festival, and it won for Best Editing at the Sundance Film Festival. And included here are comments by Gene Simmons of KISS, Marilyn Manson, cartoonist Stan Lee, and even legendary producer of the Beatles, George Martin.

Whether or not you are a fan of X Japan and their music does not matter. This documentary is totally engrossing from start to finish, a visual masterpiece that is very well done, with interviews, old photos, and amazing footage of the band playing on stage. While you may not be inspired to rush out and buy one of their albums after watching We Are X, you will be amazed and entertained from start to finish. Speaking of which, make sure you stay until the final credits, as this is when actual footage of the New York show can be viewed, along with some special guest commentary.

 

Older Than Ireland

August 17, 2016  

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2016 marks 100 years since the Easter Rebellion in Ireland, an uprising that was short-lived yet led to the birth of the Irish Republic as well as the beginning of the end of England’s centuries-long rule of the Emerald Isle. To commemorate this occasion, filmmaker Alex Fegan got the clever idea to interview about thirty Irish centenarians that were born before the uprising began, and the result is his wonderful new documentary titled Older Than Ireland.

The Irish are known for having "the gift of the gab," and Fegan's subjects don’t disappoint here. A series of questions were presented to the folks, yet you never hear them being asked. They just talk very naturally, as if they are speaking directly to you. Questions such as what is the secret to living a long life, what are your memories of the Civil War, how have things changed over the years, where did you meet your spouse, what was the happiest moment of your life, what is your saddest memory, do you have any regrets, and how does it feel to live to be 100?

The interviewees are from all walks of life, and as you might imagine, their answers vary, with many having vivid recall of events from many decades ago delivered very forthrightly. Some of the folks still live on their own, some still drive, and almost all of them are sharp as a tack. The numerous Celtic accents are really thick here, but fortunately subtitles have been provided by the filmmaker. Most have fond memories of a long-lived life, and their stories are told with touches of humor and sadness, but with very few regrets.

Full disclosure: I am of Irish/American heritage, so I may be a wee bit biased when I say that I absolutely loved this documentary. I see my parents and grandparents in many of these characters, so I feel a kindred spirit with a lot of them. The film features no famous people, no actors, no special effects, zombies or cartoon action heroes, no car chases, and no script written by a room full of writers. With their lives spanning a century, and often times with a twinkle in their eyes, this is just real people telling stories of their lives. And while everyone here is literally Older Than Ireland, we can only hope that we will be as witty while having the luck of these Irish in our own lives.

The Winding Stream

 April 20, 2016

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Lovers of bluegrass, old-time and early country music certainly know of, heard of, and have even sung songs by Johnny Cash and the legendary Carter Family from the 1920s. Some have even read the excellent book about the Carters from 2002 titled “Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? The Carter Family and Their Legacy in American Music.” But even if you have done all of the above, or if you have no idea who any of the family was, then you need to see the excellent new documentary called The Winding Stream: The Carters, The Cashes and the Course of Country Music.

In August of 1927, after seeing an ad in the newspaper, A.P. Carter, his wife Sara, and A.P.’s sister-in-law Maybelle Carter, borrowed a car and drove from Maces Spring, VA, to Bristol, TN, to record some songs for New York record producer Ralph Peer, and three months later the first Carter Family records were released. They got paid $50 for each song they recorded and a percentage of each copyrighted song and record they released. So A.P. went around to various towns and hollers in VA to collect more songs, and between 1927-36, they recorded around 300 songs.

Their big break came when they got a show on XERA Border Radio in Del Rio, TX, where their songs were broadcast all over the US. It was on XERA that a young Johnny Cash, in Kingsland, AR, first heard the Carters sing. Maybelle had three daughters called The Carter Sisters that also sang, and years later, after the Carter Family split up, Maybelle and the girls toured, and this is how the hot new country singer named Johnny Cash met his future wife and singing partner, June Carter Cash. They each had singing daughters from previous marriages, as well as a son they had together, and all of the offspring still carry on the Carter/Cash Family music tradition today.

The Winding Stream, produced and directed by Portland filmmaker Beth Harrington, weaves classic early film footage with cleverly animated sequences of the Carter Family singing their songs, along with using voiceovers and interviews with many family members such as Rosanne and John Carter Cash, and notable performers such as Mike Seeger, Jeff Hannah, Jim Lauderdale, Grey DiLisle, and Murry Hammond. There are also some scenes of current performers singing Carter Family songs and great outtakes from TV shows and concerts of Maybelle and The Carter Sisters, Johnny and June, and other members of the extended family. Most poignant of all are the clips of the late Johnny Cash in one of his final interviews, before he died in 2003 at age 71.

If you liked O Brother, Where Art Thou? and High Lonesome: The Story of Bluegrass Music, then you will absolutely love The Winding Stream, which will take you on a marvelous meandering journey through American musical history that you will never forget.


A Poem Is A Naked Person

 July 8, 2015  

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Sometimes years of hard work go by into the making of a film, and then the finished product never gets a general release, maybe goes direct to video, or is never seen by anyone. You would think that a filmmaker with the track record of noted Berkeley documentarian Les Blank – who was the author of almost three-dozen films over his career – would have had no problem releasing his film from 1974 that is titled A Poem Is a Naked Person. But amazingly so, it took 40 years to finally get it out on the big screen, and now you get to decide if it was worth the long wait.

The subject of this very oddly titled documentary is Rock and Roll Hall of Fame pianist/singer/composer Leon Russell, who in his younger days was a member of the renowned collection of LA studio musicians known as the Wrecking Crew. He played piano on dozens of well-known recordings by such notables as Bob Dylan, The Beach Boys, The Rolling Stones, Glen Campbell and Joe Cocker. From there he embarked on a solo career of his own, and in the early 1970s he had hits with such songs as “This Masquerade” and “A Song for You.”

In this film, Les Blank followed Russell around for two years, shooting all kinds of footage that is interspersed with scenes of Russell playing a live show at an unknown venue. While the concert footage is some of the best part of this project, a lot of what is included here is pretty strange stuff with some even stranger people that are never identified – including a disturbing scene where some guy feeds a live chick to his pet snake. There is some nice footage of George Jones, Willie Nelson and folksinger Eric Anderson singing some songs, but it is never explained what they had to do with Russell. There are also some nice scenes of Russell singing and recording songs off of his country music project titled Hank Wilson Is Back, but I know about this because I have the recording. This part of Russell’s career is never explained here either. 

The release of this documentary was delayed for four decades due to supposed “creative differences and music clearance problems.” Blank died in 2013, and his son Harrod spent the last two years working on the clearances. The film was produced by Russell and his one-time music partner Denny Cordell, but they had a falling out in 1976, which could be one of the reasons this flick was never released. In 2011 Russell told the Billboard trade publication that he didn't like the film, and that he didn't intend to release it. But now that it’s here, after watching this, you might find yourself scratching your head and wondering what it was that you just saw. If nothing else, longtime – and hopefully fully-clothed – fans of Leon Russell will be cueing up to see A Poem Is a Naked Person, and hey, if you want to see him play live, he is still out there touring, and he is coming to Bay Area this August.


Landfill Harmonic

 May 27, 2015  

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“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” We’ve all heard this line before. We’ve also maybe worn hand-me-downs from older siblings, bought things from yard sales, or maybe picked something up from a vintage clothing store. But very few of us have learned to play classical music from instruments made from garbage, and this is the subject of the wonderful new documentary with the catchy title Landfill Harmonic.

Outside the city of Asuncion in the South American country of Paraguay, there is a giant landfill in an area called Cateura where the poor people, known as gancheros, sort through the trash looking for anything that can be sold or reused. These people live in ramshackle shacks adjacent to the site, where sanitary conditions, as you might imagine, are not the best. Favio Chavez, a recycling engineer with a musical background, wanted to help keep the kids from playing in the landfill, so he got the idea to start a music school and he began giving them music lessons.

Of course, none of the kids could afford instruments, so Chavez and Nicolas “Cola,” one of the gancheros, began experimenting with making violins, cellos and drums out of recycled materials from the landfill. The instruments were made from oil tin cans, forks, bottle caps, x-rays, and whatever else they could find. Over time, the Recycled Orchestra was born, and the kids became more proficient on these homemade instruments. They got invited to play at an event in Rio in Brazil, and before long they became an Internet sensation. One of the kids wrote to David Ellefson from the heavy metal band Megadeth, and Ellefson went down to Cateura to visit the kids. Soon the Recycled Orchestra played a concert on stage in Denver with Megadeth, they toured some with Metallica in South America, and they have been featured on the TV show 60 Minutes.

But even though fame has come to the kids of Cateura, fortune has not followed. They still live in meager quarters, but their spirits are amazing. Some of the original members of the orchestra are now teaching music to the younger children of the town. As orchestra director Chavez states in the film, “Music is a unifying force, and it can change lives. Culture is a basic human need, and if you have talent and you work hard, it is possible to fulfill your dreams in life.” If you are looking for an uplifting and inspiring film to take the kids to this summer, skip the blockbuster BS and take them to see Landfill Harmonic.


Don't Think I've Forgotten: Cambodia's Lost Rock and Roll

May 6, 2015

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April 30th of last week was the 40-year-anniversary of the fall of Saigon to the Viet Cong in Viet Nam, which essentially brought the fighting to an end. Almost 60,000 Americans needlessly lost their lives fighting an insane war over there, while close to 900,000 Vietnamese perished. While everyone of an advanced age knows about this lurid history, what few people seem to know or care about is that the country of Cambodia also suffered dearly as a result of this war, and there is a new documentary out called Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock and Roll that will help you remember.

From 1953-1970, under the benign tutelage of his father and then of Prince Norodon Sihanouk, Cambodia tried to remain neutral in the conflict that was raging next door, and the capital city of Phnom Penh – known as “the pearl of Southeast Asia” – was a thriving, Western-like metropolis that had developed its own pop and rock and roll music scene that evolved from influences by French, Caribbean and British musicians as well as by American radio that was being broadcast to the troops in Viet Nam. Sinn Sisamouth was a huge star who adapted and spanned many genres, and the lovely Ros Serey Sothea was also very popular.

But in the late ‘60s, with Sihanouk struggling to keep his grip on power, the prince started making deals with the devil in order to keep his job, and one of those devils was a monster by the name of Pol Pot, the leader of the Khmer Rouge, who ended up using Sihanouk as a tool in his fight to take over the country. When the Rouge finally succeeded in 1975, they soon outlawed pop and rock music. Many people either fled the city or were forcibly relocated to the countryside, and before long the Rouge, while encouraging the peasants to rise up against the rich, not only destroyed everything foreign, they also began eliminating schools and religion while executing the doctors, artists and lawyers. Some singers were lured back to Phnom Penh under false pretenses to sing patriotic songs, and while both of the singers mentioned here did return, they were eventually killed by the murderous Rouge for being too influential to the masses. And so were two million others. For more details, just rent the Oscar-winning film The Killing Fields

There is some great footage in this film showing how amazing the burgeoning music scene was in Cambodia before the Talibanesque murderers ravaged the country between the years 1975-79. Filmmaker John Pirozzi presents a harrowing and horrible tale of cultural genocide, and this film should be required viewing in all high school history classes, because as philosopher George Santayana once aptly noted, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Once viewed, Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock And Roll will always be remembered.


The Wrecking Crew

April 1, 2015  

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Music has an amazing power that can take us back to revisit deep memories that we may not have thought about in quite some time. If you saw Alive Inside, the documentary from last summer, you saw what powerful effect music had on elderly patients in nursing homes. Well, now there is a documentary out called The Wrecking Crew that is going to cause most baby boomers to be making endless non-psychedelic trips down memory lane.

“The Wrecking Crew” was an unofficial name given to a collection of LA studio musicians in the ‘60s that played anonymously on hits for countless bands and performers. They were a group of about 20-30 players that would be hired by just about everyone to play on their records in the studio. While some went on to fame on their own – including Glen Campbell and Leon Russell – other notables of the core group include drummer Hal Blaine, bassist Carol Kaye, and guitarist Tommy Tedesco, whose son Denny is the director of the film. Tedesco started making the documentary in 1995, when his father was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and though it took him 20 years to get the project completed – including a Kickstarter campaign to raise money – The Wrecking Crew is well worth the wait.

There are wonderful interview clips with Brian Wilson, Dick Clark, Glen Campbell, and the aforementioned Crew members, along with priceless photos and endless footage of the players in the studio. There are also some bittersweet moments, like when drummer Blaine talks about living on top of the world before losing everything to ex-wives and bad money management. And while there is a little bit of narration by Denny Tedesco, most of the time the players speak for themselves, all the while playing tunes that you will recognize from start to finish.

Some of the songs that the Crew played on include hits by The Association, The Beach Boys, Frank and Nancy Sinatra, Sonny and Cher, The Monkees, Mamas and Papas, and countless more, and they were also the musicians behind Phil Spector's “Wall of Sound.” They played on instrumental hits such as “The Pink Panther Theme,” “Hawaii Five-O,” “Mission Impossible,” “No Matter What Shape,” and “Classical Gas.” And there were numerous TV commercials.

Essentially, the Wrecking Crew played the soundtrack to the lives of anyone born in 1945 until the Crew’s recording era started to wane in the late ‘60s, when rock bands more and more began to play and produce their own songs. But this film is a must-see for music fans of any generation.

When you do get to see The Wrecking Crew, make sure that you watch it all the way until the end of the credits, because you will hear many of the songs they played on as well find out a lot more information about the Crew itself. The last line is the best of all, when the words read “No musicians were harmed in the making of this film, and no drum machines were ever used."


Happy Valley

December 3, 2014   

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Adhering to the motto that “If it bleeds it leads, if it thinks it stinks,” the bloviating talking heads on the 24-hour news networks were out for blood when the Jerry Sandusky story first made national news three years ago this November. And now, before the story has even been resolved, there is a new documentary out about the sordid ordeal that is facetiously titled Happy Valley.

For any of you living outside of Central Pennsylvania, the Sandusky story may be a distant memory by now. He was the former longtime assistant football coach at Penn State who was accused of, and then later convicted of, 43 counts of child molestation while living in the town of State College, which is also referred to as “Happy Valley,” hence the title of this documentary. When he was first indicted by a grand jury in November of 2011, it was national news for a quite a while. Within days of the indictment, the revered head coach, Joe Paterno, was fired from the university along with the president, athletic director and chief of security, as they were all accused of complicity in the sordid affair.

At one point along the way, Paterno was alerted to some wrongdoing by another coach who caught Sandusky in flagrante delicto with a young boy in the shower room. Paterno alerted the aforementioned higher-ups, but nothing was done about it. Paterno was axed with one game left in the season after 40 years of coaching there, and afterwards students marched in protest in downtown State College, causing thousands of dollars of damage. A special prosecutor was named, and in July of 2012 the Freeh Report was issued, laying blame with all of the previously named characters above, along with alleging a pattern of abuse in order to protect the hallowed football program.

There is plenty of archival footage here, along with interviews with some of the folks involved with or affected by the situation, with director Amir Bar-Lev laying out the scenario but not taking any sides. But there are no interviews with any of the main characters or the victims, yet there is one highly irritating football fan student who gets way too much camera time.

Since three of the major players here have yet to go on trial, and there are now doubts about many aspects of the Freeh Report, it seems a little early to be releasing an incomplete documentary before the entire story is played out. Watching this now is like reporting on the outcome of a football game with one quarter yet to play. Happy Valley will have a very limited audience, and it will only serve to harden the stances of all sides of the issue, and after reliving this squalid story on the big screen, you may feel like hitting the showers yourself.