Color Me Obsessed – A Film about The Replacements (2011)
Studio: MVD Entertainment Group – 2 discs
Video: 1.78:1 for 16:9 color
Audio: PCM Stereo
Extras: Director Gorman Bechard Commentary; Producer Jan Radder Commentary; 19 Deleted Scenes; Trailers (4); Behind The Scenes; Complete Interviews (3)
Length: 123 minutes
Rating: **** (Fan rating)
This film is made by fans for fans covering the entire history of the Minneapolis-based band The Replacements. I’d hesitate to call it a documentary as the disc(s) contain no video footage of the band performing, no lyrics and none of the band’s music. The exception is at the very end of the film where the viewer is shown a picture of the original band members–that’s it! Instead, the disc contains a plethora of interviews with fellow musicians, producers, rock critics and others associated with band including those in the music industry and especially fans. Like any great music the effect it has can be documented by witnessing its impact on its fans–an impassioned group who will forever remember the band and recall how it changed their lives.
It began in 1979 when three of the founding members Bob Stinson (lead guitar), Tommy Stinson (bass) and Chris Mars (drums) were rehearsing in the Stinson garage. Paul Westerberg (vocals/guitar), a janitor, heard the band play and kept sneaking back to listen and eventually joined the band. In 1980, in a small but famed record store, Oar Folkjokeopus, a 4-song demo tape was heard by owner Peter Jesperson who signed the band to his local punk label Twin/Tone and became the band’s manager.
A club called Jay’s Longhorn in Minneapolis was the epicenter of the punk scene at the time and the newly named band opened the show on July 1st, 1980 as The Replacements. There were multiple false starts for the band and they struggled for their 12-year history grappling with who they wanted to be. The first few albums sold only a few thousand records the year of their release. The band represented a core of rock ‘n’ roll without political message and encouraged the listener to “be themselves.” Fans were never sure what type of show they’d get–good, bad, or otherwise partially dependent on how much alcohol the band had consumed.
In 1984 the band released “Let It Be” with the idea that it would be their last record. It was hailed as their best record to date and listeners saw a change in style and delivery of message. The records following became less “punk,” and with the 1989 release of “Don’t Tell A Soul,” the band put forward a Modern Rock record produced by a major label that was a far cry from their roots. The record hit #57 on the charts and the band started to tour with Tom Petty as the band moved closer and closer to their implosion. The last record “All Shook Down” is referred to (in the film) as the “soundtrack to the death of the band.” In July 4th, 1991 the band finalized their disbandment by slowing leaving the stage one by one and handing off their instruments to the roadies.
It’s not clear to me whether those who have no idea of the existence of The Replacements will find this film compelling, but it is extremely well-done and may spark an interest in a band who some believe fueled the 90s grunge movement. Fans rejoice! As of October 2012 it seems that the band may be reuniting to record again.
If any recording is essential to the genre, this is it.