Look, I've never been a big Rolling Stones fan; I've never had many feelings about them one way or another. And I know that Shine a Light has gotten at least a few rough reviews, as well as some condescending responses ("They're the best looking sixty-something act out there"). But I thought the film kicked some ass, particularly when it came to showcasing (both in front of and behind the cameras) just how much power a group of creative people can generate while they do their thing together. What I saw was a group of four guys who've been together so long that each of them knows all the others' moves, and knows intimately and lovingly the texture and the detail of his part of their stage show. (There's a great moment early on when Keith Richards shows Martin Scorsese how cool the kick-pedal of Charlie Watts's bass drum looks during performances. "I'm the only one who ever sees this shit!" he cries.) This familiarity makes the whole show the farthest thing from tired, though; instead, everybody seems to be at his ease and overjoyed just to be there. It felt to me as though affection were everywhere in this film: between bandmates, between performers and audience, betwen performers and instruments, even (though more rarely, because for the most part the performers seem to have been able to ignore the bazillion cameras involved) between performers and camera.
What I couldn't see--but could see all the products of--was all the intricate choreography and bodily knowledge required to get all the raw material that the film's all-star team of camera operators (a slate of cinematographers who are famed Directors of Photography in their own right--people like Stuart Dryburgh, for God's sake--all working under the leadership of Robert Richardson) shot. Not to mention the intuition it took to make all of that raw material into the series of portraits and performances that the film is, at bottom. So yeah, okay, it's a little bit weird to watch Mick Jagger dancing with Christina Aguilera, and the lyrics to "Brown Sugar" get even more uncomfortable every time I hear them. But the film remains one to be seen and heard. It's no Son of Rambow, but it is a pretty awesome testimony to the power of figuring out what you love, doing it stubbornly, and getting very lucky, particularly where one's health is concerned.
If any of us had had any guts in my theatre, we would have gotten up and danced along. The great thing about Mick Jagger's particular way of flail-dancing is that it reminds you that you don't have to be particularly graceful in order to rock out all the way.
Yeah, tonight's tulips have nothing to do with anything--and they're several days old, to boot. Enjoy them anyway. My head's pretty full right now.