F.I.L.M. of the Week (August 27, 2015)

27 08 2015

The Wrecking CrewI will not attempt to argue that “The Wrecking Crew” is some kind of groundbreaking piece of documentary art.  Frankly put, it does not begin to approach those things.  But it probably made my jaw drop in awe-struck amazement more than any movie I can think of recently, and for that alone, the film qualifies to receive the title of my “F.I.L.M. of the Week.”

The documentary premiered at South by Southwest back in 2008, yet for some reason, it was only released this past March by Magnolia Pictures.  While I normally apply the criterion that the films in this column be at least a year past their theatrical release date, I am more than willing to make an exception for “The Wrecking Crew.”  This movie, like its subjects, is receiving its admiration at an unfair delay from when it was deserved.

Director Denny Tedesco does not hide the purpose of the film.  It is made to get proper recognition for his father Tommy’s band of studio musicians known as The Wrecking Crew, who are directly responsible for the soundtrack of your life.  That’s not hyperbole, either.  If I had actually acted on all the times I wanted to pause the movie, open iTunes, and play the song they discuss creating, watching the film would have easily taken me three hours to finish.

Their incredible talent and dexterity across so many genres of music is nothing short of astounding.  The Wrecking Crew did jazz, soul, R&B, rock, country, and entertainment underscoring with equal aplomb.  Crooners, rockers, surfers, cowboys, and singer/songwriters alike benefitted from their remarkable creativity and reliability.  And, often times, these groups faced additional obstacles on the road since their actual members were unable to perform at the level of the Wrecking Crew!

Tedesco cobbles together quite the sonic history of the 1960s and ’70s from archival footage, filmed interviews, and a spirited reunion roundtable of the group.  It provides an illuminating look into how so many of our favorite tunes came to be, which is sufficiently thrilling in its own right.  (Imagine the “Gimme Shelter” anecdote from “20 Feet From Stardom” times twenty.)  Now, those enraptured by their unheralded virtuosity need to make sure others see “The Wrecking Crew” so the group can finally garner the widespread acclaim they deserve!

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