Friday, August 28, 2009

Rant #76: Woodstock Hollywooded To Cash In With Peace

Is anyone else but me bothered by the recent Hollywoodization of Woodstock by those in the entertainment industry?

No, I was not there (I was 12, and my friend's sister invited me to go along, but I knew my mother would kill me if I went), but I think that Hollywood is taking this one-time experience and molding it into its own vision.

There is a movie out right now, "Taking Woodstock," which is the prime example of this Hollywood vision. It purports to tell the story of Elliot Tiber, an aspiring Greenwich Village interior designer whose parents owned a small motel in upstate New York, near the site of the festival. He held the only music festival permit for the town of Bethel, and offered it and accommodations at the Catskills motel to the organizers of the Woodstock festival.

However, whatever its "noble" intentions may be, it has gotten the story all wrong--at least based on one of the commercials I have seen about the film and some reviews I have seen of the movie.

I have not seen the film, probably won't see it in the theaters, but on the surface, I see some problems, having to do with Hollywood tampering with the product.

The song "Hush" is used as the music in one of the commercials used to promote the film. Well, "Hush" is a great song, but it has absolutely nothing to do with the festival.

As you probably know, it was a big hit for the earliest incarnation of Deep Purple, a band that with all its glory, had nothing to do with Woodstock--meaning that they weren't there, did not perform, probably weren't invited, and probably had little or no idea what "Woodstock" was.

Why is their music being used in this commercial? Who knows.

Another commercial for the film uses Joe Cocker's version of "Feelin' Alright," which is more in keeping with the film's theme. I mean, at least he was there.

I wish Hollywood would get its facts straight, and not appropriate a bit of this and a bit of that to make things more palpable for the viewing public.

I think everyone would agree that Woodstock was what it was, and it wasn't Deep Purple, and it wasn't Hollywood per se, either.

Our local newspaper gave the movie a poor rating, but that doesn't really mean that much. as the reviewer complained that not much screen time was given to the main character's homosexuality, only passing mentions.

Tiber was gay, which I think excited the moviemakers, because for better or worse, gayness is "in" in Hollywood now. It wasn't during the time of Woodstock, so I guess the filmmakers thought they could use this as a subplot, exploring how it was being gay 40 years ago in a country going through a civil rights revolution that did not include gay rights.

Homosexuality in a Woodstock movie? I mean, who really cares about this? Do a movie on Stonewall about the beginnings of the gay rights movement during this time, but why throw in this subplot? What does it have to do with the festival? Why is it being used as a plot device? For that matter, why would heterosexuality be used as a plot device here?

It is being used to satisfy 00's needs in a movie about the 1960s. How lame a reason is that? It is like using hair care as a subplot of a movie on the Civil War.

Heck, it has gotten to the point that I'd much rather watch the really loooooong three-hour documentary about the festival ... at least that was real ... well, sort of real, at least.


  1. You know all i remember of Woodstock at the time was the tv reports which were all about those crazy,dirty hippies and nothing about the music.
    Being 12 too all i cared about was music and riding my bike, not peace and love.
    Hate how Hollywood plays fast and loose with the recent past (you pretty much expect it with films about events from centuries ago).

  2. I, too, remember the news reports, and I remember the waves of people that they showed when they used overhead shots. I am used to Hollywood playing fast and loose with history, but it still pains me when they do. In retrospect, it probably was a good thing that I didn't take my friend's sister up on her offer, because I think I would have felt slightly out of place there. But it probably would have been a fun adventure for a kid into baseball, bubblegum music, and everything else 12-year olds did at that time.



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