Saturday, August 22, 2015

Courtney & Nick: "Kurt & Courtney" (1998)

For such a "controversial" effort, this film does not have much bite. The director's point of view is so unfocused, he himself admits he does not know where he is going with his reporting.

The conspiracy theorists interviewed here come off as fringe dwellers at best, and unreliable at worst. The film eventually turns into a rock and roll version of "Roger and Me," as Courtney Love is half heartedly tracked down to answer questions about Cobain.

Grunge, just a form of punk, was on its way out when Cobain killed himself. The pathetic hangers-on that he left behind can do nothing but trash each other and continue to relive those heady days through obvious substance abuse.

The only sympathetic subject here is Cobain's Aunt Mary, who plays tapes of Cobain's toddler rantings, as well as who recorded some of his early songs. She is the only person here who seems to have any affection for this troubled man. She reminds us that Kurt was like everyone else, just a kid who wanted to be a star.

The cutesy direction gets old, the camera runs as the crew approaches the subjects' houses. At one point, the filmmakers are thrown out of a building in a sequence put in just to show how intrepid the documentarians are. However, the best scene involves the director crashing an ACLU banquet, and watching this celebration of Liberalism and free speech get up in arms over someone trying to exercise their rights.

The film had over forty instances of profanity, some onstage violence, nudity in an underground music video, and tons of frank talk about substance abuse, all of which illustrates how very empty many of these peoples' lives are. "Kurt & Courtney" rarely dips below the surface, and I give it (* *) out of five stars.

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