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Video releases related to The Doors

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Video releases related to The Doors

There’s something puzzling and depressing about the fact that, 20 years after Jim Morrison punched the ticket, his dopey baritone doom-mongering still exerts a powerful grip on adolescents of all ages. I mean, doesn’t the phrase get a life have some relevance here? Still, because the Doors did have their moments of glory, so too do these three new videos.

Oliver Stone’s overhyped biopic, The Doors, wasn’t the theatrical hit it was supposed to be, probably because it captures the shallowness of Morrison’s posturing a little too accurately. The director’s shrill filmmaking style loses much of its hyperactive visual quality on the small screen, making the dramatic flaws glaring (the plot stalls after an hour in an endless series of oh-wow concert tableaux). Still, Val Kilmer gets every nuance of Morrison’s physicality right, and Crispin Glover’s brief performance as Andy Warhol is wickedly funny.

The Soft Parade, a sort-of documentary put together from the apparently bottomless store of Doors archival vault material and directed by keyboardist Ray Manzarek, is actually a pretty fascinating package, including as it does a complete cinema verite filming of the recording session for ”Wild Child” and a 1969 PBS interview in which Morrison comes off as far more articulate and funny than he’s portrayed in Stone’s film.

Last and definitely least is Love Lion, a poetry-with-music collaboration between Manzarek and beatnik playwright Michael McClure. Granted, it’s fun to see Manzarek returning to his early-’60s-coffeehouse roots, but here his keyboard work verges on Vince Guaraldi territory (you keep expecting him to break into ”Snoopy’s Theme”). As for McClure well, he’s no Jim Morrison.

The Doors: B
The Soft Parade: B+
Love Lion: B-

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