Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Doors

"We need a two and a half hour movie about The Doors? No we don't, I can sum it up for you in five seconds: I'm drunk, I'm nobody. I'm drunk, I'm famous. I'm drunk, I'm fuckin' dead!"
Denis Leary hit the nail on the head with the above quote about Oliver Stone's movie about Jim Morrison and The Doors. While Morrison was a talented poet and singer and The Doors had some hits and were a key band of the late 60s, Morrison was such an intensely unlikable figure and his life is not interesting enough to sustain a 140 minute movie. It begins with a childhood memory of Morrison regarding a dying Indian on the side of the road during a family road trip. Cut to Jim (Val Kilmer) in his early 20s where he wanders around Venice Beach and meets lifelong partner Pamela Courson (Meg Ryan). He attends UCLA film school where he makes nonlinear and dismissed films and meets future bandmate Ray Manzarek (Kyle MacLachlan). The two partner up with John Densmore (Kevin Dillon) and Robby Kreiger (Frank Whaley) and thus begins the rise of The Doors, which is actually just a gradual freefall as Jim engages in excessive drug use, sex, alcohol, witchcraft, indecent exposure, and an unhealthy fascination with death. Stone's film is extremely well made and vividly captures the aura of the 1960s. Kilmer, a Morrison lookalike to start, engulfs himself in the role and gives a mesmerizing performance, while MacLachlan and Ryan give fine performances as well as two of Morrison's long suffering partners. The film also makes great use of The Door's songs which play throughout. The problem with the film though starts with Morrison's polarizing effect and continues with Stone's attempt to drag the film out and stuff it with prolonged trippy sequences and unpleasantries. In the end, the film is kind of like Morrison himself, leaving us with some good, but ultimately bloated with excess.