“If only you wouldn’t clap so hard”

Bob Dylan – “One Too Many Mornings” from Bootleg Series Vol. 4: The Royal Albert Hall Concert 1966 (1998)

For those of you following SWR’s movie-watching habits, I did not watch No Country For Old Men, as previously predicted. Instead, I saw I’m Not There, which SWReaders have no doubt heard of. I thought it was a great recontextualization of the classic story of success/arrogance/fall/redemption. Certain of my compatriots thought it too laden with music snob details, and it was interesting to hear how my friends who aren’t familiar with the various Dylan myths interpreted the film.

Talking point: I’m Not There is NOT a contest to see who can ‘do’ the best Bob Dylan. None of the actors are particularly good at Dylan, and everyone seems like an actor. No one disappears into a role, but that’s not especially the point.

Buy the record to hear Dylan’s wacky introduction

Posted by Glenn



Filed under 1960s, Live, Rock

4 responses to ““If only you wouldn’t clap so hard”

  1. Jordy

    I’m looking forward to seeing it. I am under the impression that one will understand the movie better if one understands the particulars of Dylan’s career. Is that true?

    Also, this album, apart from being an inspired set, is a true historical document from that “arrogance/fall” period you mention.

    Good post.

  2. glennlester

    Well, yes and no. There are plenty of insider jokes–like tarantulas crawling across the screen during one scene–but so much of the movie deals in mythical tropes that the story would make sense to someone not familiar w/ Dylan. I am of course speaking as someone who is familiar with the Dylan story. However, I think some of the choices that the characters make–in speaking and how they respond to crises–might not seem to have clear motivation except that the choices are those that Dylan made at some point in his career. E.g., visiting Woody Guthrie in the hospital.

  3. Shawn

    I am hesitant on seeing the film because of the weird decision they made to have 6 different actors portray him. I would much rather watch a documentary about the icon. However, I did buy the soundtrack, and thought it was excellent. I love the cover of “Going to Acapulco” by Calexico and My Morning Jacket singer, Jim James. Perhaps I will go see the movie now…

  4. glennlester

    I encourage you to see it, Shawn, if the Jim James/Calexico cover hasn’t already (the performance is featured in one of the climactic scenes of the film). The movie isn’t intended to be a documentary or even, as one review said, an essay. It takes a free-form approach to identity that’s maybe a little too pronounced at times, but the intersections between stories are fascinating. I wish I knew nothing about Bob Dylan and was able to see the intersections between characters (none of whom are Dylan, but versions of Dylanish personas) w/o knowing so much about the Dylan myth. I’m Not There is a good companion to No Direction Home, methinks.

    My friends here in NC all harbor a certain hatred for the Cate Blanchett portrayal of the jackass rock star. But part of the point is that all the actors are acting, and the acting is bad. But most acting is bad; we just don’t know it, because we don’t know the source character like we know Dylan. Who’s sometimes not particularly good at Dylan, either. The implication? Dylan has been acting his entire life. So have I. So have you.

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