This weekend At the Movies, Rolling Stone‘s film critic Peter Travers celebrates the 40th anniversary of a certain legendary music festival by tripping back to 1969 with Taking Woodstock. The film has all the ingredients needed for a great film: an Oscar-winning director in Ang Lee, top-notch actors like Emile Hirsch and Liev Schreiber and a world-famous, generation-spanning event at its epicenter. Unfortunately, the film never actually makes it to Woodstock, opting to tell the story of how the festival made its way to Yasgur’s Farm in upstate New York instead the story of the fest itself.
Travers feels another problem with the film is its nucleus, with Daily Show comedian-gone-actor Demetri Martin playing Elliot Tiber, the catalyst who brought the festival’s organizers to Woodstock. Tiber’s story — the behind-the-scenes view of Woodstock, his reluctance to tell his religious parents that he’s gay — aren’t as intriguing as Hirsch’s Vietnam vet on the verge of insanity or Schreiber’s cross-dressing ex-Marine. Plus, Tiber never actually makes it to the festival, and neither does the movie, leaving the viewer on the periphery. It’s like having a movie about the fall of the Berlin Wall take place in Munich. Is it Scum Bucket material? Travers says no, but he did leave Ang Lee’s latest film disappointed.
Also sparred from the Scum Bucket —which it almost made based on title alone —is World’s Greatest Dad. Written and directed by frog-throated Police Academy actor Bobcat Goldthwait, this black comedy features Robin Williams’ best performance since his Academy Award-winning role in Good Will Hunting. The story of a father who has to deal with his son’s autoerotic asphyxiation death, Travers says this film is moving, shocking, funny and worth seeking out.
On the cusp of Scum Bucketry, however, is Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2. Zombie was a good sport, coming to the Rolling Stone offices to hang out for Travers’ Off the Cuff segment, but the Weinstein Co. still refused to screen the movie for critics. Thus, Travers will take hit up the metroplex this weekend for his own screening of Halloween 2. Check back next week to see if Michael Myers avoid the Scum Bucket.