music friday: peter frampton, steve marriott, wild flag

Back to usual, as I continue to look at artists I've seen over the years. I don't think any of these people will end up in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, although you never know about Frampton, and the Carrie/Janet combo from Wild Flag might get in with Sleater-Kinney.

Peter Frampton, Oakland Coliseum, 1975, 1977. I saw Frampton on either side of Frampton Comes Alive. He's always seemed like a decent guy, but my memory is that the earlier show was better and the later show was bloated. Here he is from Oakland in 1977:

Steve Marriott, Winterland, 1976. After leaving the Small Faces, Marriott formed the band Humble Pie that made some noise in the early-70s. Peter Frampton was the lead guitarist in those early days. When I saw him he was opening for Robin Trower, so I didn't pay as much attention to Marriott's set as he probably deserved. Here is Humble Pie with Frampton:

Wild Flag, Bottom of the Hill, Great American Music Hall, Fillmore, 2010, 2011, 2012. During Sleater-Kinney's "hiatus" Carrie and Janet joined forces with Mary Timony and Rebecca Cole in Wild Flag. The first time I saw them was in a teeny club before they had released an album. The second time was in a bigger club after the album had come out. By the third time, they were headlining the Fillmore. Then they just kinda faded out, and soon S-K had returned. 

what i watched

Geezer Cinema: Midsommar (Ari Aster, 2019). Something like Geezer Cinema, where my wife and I take turns picking a weekly movie, is great partly because every other week, I'm exposed to a movie I might not have found on my own. Unfortunately, Midsommar was my pick, and I can't say I liked it. I enjoyed director Ari Aster's earlier movie, Hereditary (which it happens was my sister-in-law's pick from another movie group I'm in), and while I originally thought Midsommar was a Swedish-language art film, once I realized it was a horror film I picked it for Geezer Cinema. Midsommar is 20 minutes longer than Hereditary, and it felt even longer than that, bordering at times on Slow Cinema. I thought it could have been half an hour shorter, and was surprised to find out there is a 171-minute Director's Cut out there. I assume Aster wanted to build suspense slowly, but I never felt it ... perhaps it was too slow for me. Florence Pugh is the best thing about the movie, which is ultimately too muddled for me to care. Bonus points, though, for a mallet that serves as Chekhov's gun.

21 Bridges (Brian Kirk, 2019). Before the pandemic, our Geezer Cinemas took place in theaters, and we must have seen trailers for 21 Bridges a dozen times. We knew it wasn't Chadwick Boseman's best movie, but it was still hard to pass up when I remembered I had recorded it on the DVR some time ago. Boseman is fine ... when wasn't he? ... but he is given little to do. 21 Bridges in a paint-by-numbers thriller, with Boseman as a cop who closes down all the bridges connected to Manhattan so he can find some bad guys. There's nothing wrong with the premise, and there's a nice cast (besides Boseman, you've got Sienna Miller, J.K. Simmons, and Stephan James). But it devolves into shootouts that are mostly uninteresting, and the twists in the story aren't too hard to guess in advance. It's not the worst way to spend an afternoon when you are bored, but you can do better if you're in the mood for some Chadwick Boseman.

film fatales #114: honey boy (alma har'el, 2019)

Honey Boy is an uncomfortable movie, and I think that is only partly intended. The film purports to be an honest, autobiographical story about the childhood of Shia LaBeouf, who wrote the film and stars as "his father". "Purports" is unfair ... only LaBeouf knows how accurately Honey Boy represents his early life. He is unsparing in conveying the traumas of his childhood, and he gives the father a scary edge, although an essential humanity peeks through on occasion.

Still, part of the discomfort comes from the feeling that Honey Boy is just a public therapy session for LaBeouf. He's working things out on the screen. He wrote the script while in a ten-week rehab program, and it's good that he has this outlet to get inside his problems. But at times I felt like a voyeur.

Director Alma Har'el, in her first fictional feature, keeps things relatively clear. She is dealing with scenes in the past of young Otis (the stand-in for LaBeouf as a kid, played by Noah Jupe of the Quiet Place movies) and present-day scenes of a grown-up Otis (here played by Lucas Hedges) working his way through rehab. And the grown-up Otis has dreams that we see as fantasy scenes. It's not always coherent, but perhaps it shouldn't be.

The acting is the best thing about the movie. Obviously, there's LaBeouf as the father. Jupe as the 12-year-old Otis is excellent, letting us see the frightened boy inside, but also the kid with enough going on to work in movies supporting his dad. Laura San Giacomo underplays nicely as Otis' therapist in rehab. Natasha Lyonne is in the credits as "Mom", but we only hear her voice.

Honey Boy is not an easy film to watch, and your opinion of LaBeouf will enter into your response to the movie. I recommend it, hesitantly.

[Letterboxd list of Film Fatales movies]