Small Cult

We watched Greendale again last night and it has only gotten better. We are a small cult, those that love this movie. It is in my top ten. I have an affinity for the form, 8mm and family members as cast. I made the movie above in the winter of 69/70. It features my brother, Tim, on drums, my drums. He’s wearing my clothes too. My brother, John, is playing guitar and their friend, John Spar, playing harmonica. I hung one of my lithographs on the garage door and my youngest brother, Fran, and his friends did double duty as a rental crew and snow acrobats. Years later I added a soundtrack from Invisible Idiot.

The cool thing about filming without sound is that you can direct (bark orders or offer encouragement) while you’re shooting. Neil Young adds an amazing soundtrack from Crazy Horse, just three musicians with very few overdubs, and then has his cast lip-syncs his lyrics. The whole thing is beautiful and brilliant. A rock opera without the hysterics.

The characters, all mouthing Neil’s vocals, make you realize how good the lyrics are, the storytelling and the character development. I remember my nephew telling me the only thing he didn’t like about Neil Young was his voice. I love it. And you realize how expressive it is while you watch all these characters voice the lyrics.

The movie is relentlessly good. When this 2003 movie finally catches on I could see it playing with Rocky Horror Picture Show-sized crowds singing and dancing along with every line.

1 Comment

One Reply to “Small Cult”

  1. We love Greendale, saw it twice (live) first at Saratoga Springs then again in Hershey, PA. Seen live, it was like watching a church play… cardboard sets, actors miming the action and the lyrics that Neil was signing. I’d like to see it staged live again…

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