When You’re Strange, 2009

©  Rhino Entertainment

Holy Seven Mile Long Snake.

The footage used for this biopic was not released before the film was released at the Sundance Festival on January 17, 2009. Jim and Pam used to make abstract films during their travels, band tours, just like that; and those have been used in this documentary along with all the show that Morrison puts on, and that was every damn time; (The Doors, 1991).

The good thing is that the documentary does not only focus on Morrison, it gives each member equal attention and a medium to express their own frustration in dealing with an out of control Jim (he called his alter-ego Jimbo). He called everyone else ‘lesser men’.

For instance, one of the scenes shows Jim simply passing out on stage after consuming a block of weed, in Amsterdam. Morrison and drugs were like Nerf Guns and those sponge darts. The saying “Hell is a place without narcotics” fits on him like those leather jeans he wore. and never changed until Pam drew his attention to how long it had been since he had changed or taken a shower. Well, he didn’t have the time, you see; not for a shower, not for a shave, he died when only twenty seven, like many before him, Janis Joplin, Hendrix and many after him, Cobain, Winehouse. It’s called the 27 Club, just in case.

A printed paperboard option for the cover of Morrison Motel (released 1970)

Manzarek, Krieger and Densmore keep going, while Jim simply lies flat on the ground under  under one of those 1964 series four by ten blackface Super Reverb Fender Amps because of a cocktail of drugs that he had been taking offstage. They pump up the volumes and eventually Manzarek takes over the vocals, as the police whisks his limp body away.

The band formed at a time when the American people wanted emancipation (from what? They still do and my question stays unanswered) and anti-war movements. When the youngest and most handsome president ever, was shot (and not by Oswald as the popular belief holds), when the police opened fire on Kent State College students, killing four. When Nixon came into power and then there was ‘Nam and the American gusto turning into pure madness. Anyone under thirty and over twenty was a threat to the state. It eventually did become a Police State, not in 1984 as George Orwell had predicted but just recently when George Floyd was killed. The sentiments were already boiling deep down and exploded as they heard the man say, “I can’t breath” on National TV, moments before he died as a uniform refused to lift his leg off the neck.
Any how, so that’s where the sub-culture originates from, With Robert Johnson selling his soul at the Crossroads and Elvis making a final comeback, clad in leather and sending one electric surge after another, with that half-mischievous/rattling -smile, at an (NBC) auditorium filled to capacity. He looked his best at that 50th Anniversary Comeback Concert and then Elvis also left the building in 1977, six years after Morrison was found dead in a bathtub at a hotel in Paris, after over-dosing on heroin and An American Prayer.

The Doors was born in tumultuous times and this documentary goes on to show, with extremely rare footage, their rise and the Lizard King‘s fall.

Lonely and mad and blind as a bat’ 

Plus, it’s narrated by Johnny Depp, whose voice adds to the birdie that the band showed to the world.

Must watch.

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2 thoughts on “When You’re Strange, 2009

    • August 23, 2020 at 8:24 am

      So was I, extremely happy and pleasantly surprised at watching the band members off-stage, doing everyday stuff.
      Thanks to Pamela Courson who shot the films with Jim on their long road trips.
      Stay tuned and we hope you enjoy more.


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