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The Who


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3 stars A video scrapbook

"The Kids are Alright" is a feature film made by young American fan Jeff Stein. He had little prior experience but convinced the band it would be a good idea after it was initially rejected by Townshend. I call it a scrapbook because unlike most linear documentaries this film is an "all over the map" celebration of the band with seemingly little structure. Live clips, television appearances, promo videos, interviews, and general silliness are all blended together in one big smoothie. The films biggest appeal is also its great weakness. While it is great fun to kick back and take in the short clips and funny comments, songs are often cut off in mid stride, very few are shown in their entirety. This can be a frustrating experience for fans who want to rock out, and for that reason I really prefer "Maximum R and B" for my Who watching. Yet despite the frustration of having songs cut off just when you start air-guitaring, there are many moments that make this worthwhile. Watching Moon's incessant craziness as he preys on interviewers, watching Pete struggle to find words to explain the band's importance, watching them evolve from 60s band to rock legends. There is a clip from the Rolling Stones 1968 "Circus" where their performance of "A Quick One" pretty much stole the show. The "Baba O'Riley" clip is amazing with Townshend smashing the tambourine into his hand with such ferocity it has to hurt, and yet he just has this smile on his face, the energy they contain is immense whether fueled by alcohol or not. And then the film closes with an explosive performance of "Won't Get Fooled Again" which was the last live performance of Keith Moon, who died a few months later. They had just screened the film a week or two prior to his death and decided to leave it as it completed, rather than turning it into some kind of sentimental homage. Good move, Keith would have hated that. While very enjoyable for Who fans I can't quite give it four stars. It does not succeed as informative documentary nor does it satisfy completely musically due to the edits. But well worth your time to see at least once. Along with The Wall and The Song Remains the Same, The Kids was a staple of the American "midnight movies" phenomenon of the late 1970s and early 80s. Those were some pretty festive social events which I just caught the tail end of, and yet another piece of what rock and roll was that is missed.

Report this review (#268937)
Posted Sunday, February 28, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars I went to a now defunct cinema in my city to watch this film in July or August 1979. At that time, I was 14 years old, and I was on school holidays then. I also went at that time to watch some Rock films ("Woodstock", "Let It Be" and others) in other cinemas. It was a time when Rock concerts in my city were not seen with "good eyes" by the goverment, and Rock movies were rarely shown in cinemas and for a short time only (fortunately this changed by the late eighties). At that time I also was starting to collect Rock music records and learning about Rock and Prog Rock bands. So, I went to that old cinema to watch this film, with a lot of "teenager enthusiasm". I liked the film a lot, so some days later I went to watch the film again.I think that even some years later I went to another cinema to watch the film again, and finally, in 2000 a Cultural TV channel in my city broadcasted the film for the first time on TV. So, now, my opinion about this film is not as favourale as the first time I watched to it, but, anyway, I still consider it as a good documentary about the history of this band done before Keith Moon`s death. It has some flaws: the clips are not shown in a chronological order. There is not really a narration of their history. So, it is more a visual documentary, with funny scenes and interviews, some TV appearances, and some songs played in concert, like in the Monterey and Woodstock Festivals and in other venues, some promotional films for songs like "Happy Jack", etc. Maybe the most interesting things in this film are the scenes of the band filmed during their last concert with Keith Moon which were filmed in May 1978, and also the scenes filmed during the recording of their "Who Are You" album during late 1977 and mid 1978. Humour also appears a lot in this film due to funny interviews with the members of the band, particularly with Keith Moon and Pete Townshed. Roger Daltrey and John Entwistle appear less time speaking in the film (a thing both of them didn`t like very much from this film, and they also said that they considered the film as "amateur"). As time has passed, I can see more clearly now these flaws, and it is very clear that Jeff Stein, the Director of the film, really was an amateur film maker then, being really a fan of the band who proposed to them to do this film. Another flaw (which I hope that it was repaired when preparing the film to be released on DVD) is that most songs are in a higher speed in the original film (a thing that didn`t happen in the soundtrack album of the same name).So, this film, while still been very good, is like a "collage" of unrelated scenes edited one after the other. Anyway, it still is very entertaining and funny. I hope one day to watch to the DVD version of this film.
Report this review (#1055898)
Posted Monday, October 7, 2013 | Review Permalink

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