COLOR ME OBSESSED: A Film About THE REPLACEMENTS {MVD} OK - regular readers know my thoughts on THE REPLACEMENTS, from here on in known as THE MATS. If you don’t know of my love for this band, go read my reviews of the band’s albums HERE. Put simply, they were THE greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll band ever. Not arguably, not questionably and not even open for discussion. So, in my eyes, a film (any film) about the band cannot fail.
However, if you are expecting an hour or two of rare live performances, candid comments and bitchy side-swipes from Westerberg and Stinson or a neat, tidy, fact-filled take on history, then you better be prepared to be disappointed. If, however, you want stories from those who knew the band, or saw the band on a regular basis, or just share the viewer’s obsession with the band, then this double DVD set is going to be prime TV Party material for the next millenium and beyond.
Directed by Gorman Bechard, the film is just a narrative of the band and includes names such as Grant Hart, GOO GOO DOLLS, ARCHERS OF LOAF and writers such as Jack Rabid, Legs McNeil and a host of friends, fans and compatriots. It’s very much like a filmed version of the ‘oral history’ biographies that we’ve all read. ‘Just a narrative’ makes this sound simplistic, laboured even. However, Bechard has collected over 250 interviews laden with quotes, memories, rumour and comedy reflecting the band in familiar light but adding something new and vital to the mythology too. The interviews are not tired old rehashes of what’s gone before - much of the commentary here are new revelations, from characters whose voices have not been heard waxing lyrical about THE MATS before.
It opens (and closes) with an answering machine and then asks a relatively simple question: Why THE MATS? The replies are an array of knowing chuckles, a few open-mouthed wordless retorts but no specific answers. The film then follows the band’s history. The chapters are introduced through a few text frames that are named after albums, people etc which are followed by the dialogue and stories. The Why question continues through the film but no one really gives a definitive answer as to why the band was so important and elicits such compulsive fandom.
Bechard has declined from interviewing any member of the band - he actually states in one of the interviews he has never even met any of the band and has no desire to ‘meet any idols’ - and refrains from including any music at all. While that may seem a bit like commercial suicide and against conformity, it makes for the essence of what THE MATS were all about.
Being a double disc, there is glut of additional footage. The main DVD includes a bunch of deleted scenes (including some excellent animated chapter scenes) and commentaries from both producer and director. Disc Two is a behind the scenes look at the film, with a massive interview with Bechard plus full interviews with Grant Hart, Robert Christgau, Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot before being rounded out with some trailers for the film
This is not a film that is going out to attract any new fans to the legend of THE MATS. It’s a film for those who already ‘get’ the band; for those who are transfixed each time ‘Stink’ is played, can smile endlessly through ‘Here Comes A Regular’ and can hear brilliance in both; for those who don’t think of the Beatles first whenever ‘Let It Be’ is mentioned; for those who also can’t explain but know that THE MATS were, are and always will be, the best Rock ‘n’ Roll band ever. It’s a film for MATS fans, and if you are among that number, this is essential viewing. (24.03.14)

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