Movie Mondays ~ Monday, November 4, 2019

Movie Mondays ~ Monday, November 4, 2019


Here we are on a #MovieMonday, and I’ve got yet another documentary film review. To those of you who can’t stand documentaries but keep reading these reviews, thank you from the bottom of my heart. To the rest of you who enjoy learning about these films you might not otherwise stumble over, I hope that I can offer some insight on what these documentaries are like and give you an idea of whether or not you want to see it for yourself. I always say — my opinion is just that, my opinion, and I do not claim to be the most brilliant film dissector and critic. I simply share my expectations and what I felt was delivered to me and whether or not that was satisfying. So without further ado, here’s this week’s film (yep, just one this week). And it’s another music-themed documentary I found on Netflix. Thank you for those of you who take the time to read my words. It is always much appreciated (curtsies, winks). ~ Chris K.


FILMS VIEWED WEEK OF 10/28/2019 – 11/03/2019

 *click on the photos to enlarge them



104. Keith Richards: Under the Influence

Documentary, Biography, Music (2015)
Keith Richards, Steve Jordan, Tom Waits, Waddy Wachtel


This film is by no means a new flick but it is one that I remember hearing about years ago that I never got around to seeing. I’m definitely a Rolling Stones fan, but I know very little about the guys in the group (unlike the Beatles, Monkees, Chicago and some of my other favorite groups). They are just not a band that I’ve studied or read up on before. So for me, I was going into this Keith Richards documentary with very little background on the talented musician and songwriter.

It will be no surprise to learn that sometimes I had some difficulty understanding Richards, and this was in no way due to any British accent. It’s simply the way he speaks — low, a bit garbled and thoughts all running together. When I can understand the man, I’m often pleasantly surprised by his wit and insight. But a lot of the time I struggled and thought subtitles might be the way to see this film. I may actually go back and watch this again some time and add closed captioning for my own benefit (no lie… I swear, I might try this!) This documentary is very specific in its intention and direction. While it does shed some light on Richards’ upbringing and early background before becoming THE Keith Richards, one half of one of the most dynamic, wild and enduring creative duos in rock and roll history, much of the film is focused on the genres of music and specific artists who had the greatest influence on both Richards and the Rolling Stones. Hence the clever and ironic title ‘Under the Influence’ which will no doubt make you grin once you are watching and realize what this film is truly about.

I enjoyed hearing what inspires a rock and roll legend like him and was not surprised one bit at the early blues influence, Muddy Waters the greatest impact on him (of course, given the band’s name is one of Waters’ most famous tunes/lyrics). But it was interesting to also see how much other genres like country and reggae have impacted him, as well. Probably one of my favorite parts of the whole documentary was a behind the scenes look at the making of one of the Stones’ classic tracks “Sympathy for the Devil” when we get an insider’s look into Mick Jagger recording his tracks in the studio. I loved that and actually wish there was a lot more insider footage such as that.

For me, the film overall was really tedious and almost too much focused on the music down to the chords so that a music fan like who is not a musician could often get lost in the conversation between two musicians who spoke a language I could not decipher. Feeling left out of the conversation at times,  I found myself bored because it was almost too much of an inside chat that I wasn’t privy, too, if that makes sense. I wanted to understand everything they were saying but sometimes it became less accessible and more like Musician Morse Code or Pig Latin, and I could rarely crack the code and frankly, grew to not care by the end of the film.

If you are a Stones fan or especially a Keith Richards fan, you’re going to love it, I know it. But for me, I didn’t find it nearly as interesting as, for example, the last music documentary I watched ECHO IN THE CANYON, which I reviewed here last week. (Click here to read that week’s entry.) I wish I enjoyed this documentary more and could rate it higher. Since the music featured can be really terrific and I did enjoy those couple of opportunities to see early Rolling Stones behind the scenes footage, I’ll give it a basement score of ‘decent,’ but I’ve definitely seen more insightful and entertaining music documentaries than this one.

And I AM going to still try that closed caption trick some time in the future. If the rating goes up significantly because of it, I’ll pass it on!

Score: 80








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