Thursday, December 22, 2005

"He Don't Do The Crazy Things He'd Done Before"

A Movie Review

I make it a point to try and support both documentary films and unusual Mormon films, so when I heard that Greg Whiteleys award winning New York Doll was playing at a local cheap-seat theater, I knew I had to go. The subject of this movie is Arthur "Killer" (nick-name comes from his "killer" baselines) Kane. Kane was a member of the ground breaking 70's punk/rock group 'The New York Dolls', who after the group broke-up fell into obscurity while most of his bandmates went on to success.

The motion picture documents the unusual course that Arthur Kanes life took after the break-up of the Dolls. After brief runs with several ultimately unsuccessful band in both New York and Los Angles, Kane and his wife Barbara took up extra work in films like Spaceballs and Innerspace. One day in the late 1980's after stumbling upon former bandmate David Johansen (who had now achieved success under the name of alter-ego 'Buster Poindexter') on Televsion, Arthur flew into a rage and proceeded to beat his wife, an event that lead to her leaving him. After attempting suicide the one time celebrity was reduced to dwelling in a small apartment and living off social security/disability.

Arthurs life took an additional unexpected twist when he ordered a copy of 'The Book Of Mormon' out of a magazine and took the LDS missionary discussions. After receiving a spiritual confirmation of the books truthfulness from what he described as an "acid trip from the Lord" Kane became a baptized Mormon, eventually working in a Los Angles Family History Center and serving in the L.A. Temple. The majority of the film centers on this now reborn Kane and his efforts to reunite with his surviving bandmates for a reunion concert, something that they eventually did in London in June of 2004.

This is such an interesting film because this is such an interesting man. In photos they show of a young Kane you can see a definite anger in his eyes, but that anger has vanished in the older Kane you see through most of the movie. The film is accented with some very '70's' montage sequences, repeated references to the 'genealogy of rock' and interviews with Arthurs friends from the two very different worlds of Punk Rock and the 'Mormon' Church. This wonderfully unusual and inspiring film capes with Arthurs unexpected death from leukemia just 22 days after the reunion concert, and a reflective performance of the hymn 'A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief' by the surviving 'Dolls'.


At 8:20 PM, Blogger GlennBeckFan said...

I'd never heard of this movie, it was showing in Boise?

At 8:29 PM, Blogger Nate Dredge said...

It was at the Town Squair Cinema.


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