Whether the documentarian's eye captured something real, or imposed a filmmaker's vision corrupting reality, the end-impact of this film is that Wilco is a mediocre band with all the usual problems of mediocre bands professionally & interpersonally.
Vocalist Jeff Tweedy comes off as an abused housewife placating a controlling husband (Jay Bennett). Jay demands his wife's love & attention while being a manipulative jerk; the wife goes in the bathroom & throws up, then with passive aggressive hate sets out to savage & destroy the abusive husband in abject revenge while posing as the gentle one in the relationship.
The documentary was just horrible, & this one interesting aspect between these two figures was the films only "saving grace" or revelation, but one I didn't need to see. The other members of the group remain ghosts, & on that level the first-time documentarian just screwed up entirely.
As for Wilco's music, Jeff comes off as a John Lennon wannabe. I kept waiting for Yoko's name to turn up in the terrible lyrics. Their best arranged piece sounded like power-pop's worst imitations of Freddy & the Dreamers. It's cute that a retro bad suffocating itself with power pop bubble gum british invasion sound-cliches could be considered modern or experimental, but they pale in comparison to their influences.
Jeff seems so egotistical he cannot even share vocals enough to get an occasional harmony worked up, & his voice is just not unique enough, strong enough, or good enough to carry the band singlehandedly. The documentary, & the band, will at least give hope to all the somewhat-talented pot-bellied emotionally stressed wannabe rock'n'roll folk guitarists across America, even those who are totally over the hill failures, who will be led to believe they could do as good as that.
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl