Friday, November 11, 2005

New York Doll

I wanted to put in the good word for "New York Doll," my new top favorite Mormon film. I saw it in a small Greenwich Village theater last week on a weeknight with a sprinkling of other folks, many of whom I imagine were Mormon, judging by where and how they laughed.

The movie is quite engrossing and unexpected in many spots. It has far more Mormon content than I expected--indeed, almost equal to the music-related content. I went into it not knowing much if anything about the filmmakers, and so they often zigged when I thought they might zag when it came to how they unfolded the Mormon interviewees and content. I felt spiritual emotion quite strongly at several points, yet the Catholic guy I was with said he didn't find it preachy or anything. I walked out feeling unusually strongly affected and satisfied.

One of the most interesting questions raised by the film for me was, Could the Lord ever approve to any degree of an artistic endeavor like that of the cross-dressing, pre-punk New York Dolls? The main character prays for the opportunity to do the reunion show, and he seems to think that the Lord grants him this blessing, and the filmmakers seem to agree, or at least to allow him this belief, as do the LDS bishops and hometeachers interviewed in the film. At one point Arthur Kane is captured on film praying that the spirits of the two bandmates who died of drug overdoses can be with them onstage at the reunion show, and he seems to feel that they were. I really wonder, Could the Lord really have been a party to any of this, touching the New York Dolls with a ten foot pole? I'd like to think so.

On Richard Dutcher's new film, I haven't been too excited about the somewhat melodramatic trailer, but the reviews and word of mouth have primed me to see it soon. The first God's Army movie got too melodramatic for me in the second half, and I hope this one avoids that.


Anonymous said...

Fantastic film.

In regards to the question of God granting Kane's wish...why not?

The feeling you get from the film is that everyone interviewed (and probably many people watching) had improved views of the Church, spirituality, and God in general. So why not?

Brad Mortensen said...

I liked the whole movie, but one of the most touching aspects was the rendition of "Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief" by David Johansen, aka Buster Poindexter, at the end of the film. You have to wait through the credits to see it. At first I thought it was meant as a job, but he seemed very sincere. I took it as a tribute to his departed, Mormon friend Arthur.

Brad Mortensen said...

sorry, it should have read "meant as a joke..."

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