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When Marley met Marty

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Bobmarleyscorcese_l

Bobmarleyscorcese_lCan I take a moment to note how cool it is that Martin Scorsese is making a documentary about the life of Bob Marley (pictured)? They’re both titans of their respective media, of course, but this pairing of living and dead legends is a particularly smart one.

For one thing, this project could help rescue the real Marley from his less-insightful fans. It’s become a common cliché for music-crit types to kvetch about the “frat boys” and “stoned suburban teenagers” who caterwaul along to “No Woman, No Cry” without the dimmest conception of the revolutionary social justice that Marley stood for in his lifetime. And what an accurate cliché it is! Right now, most big-screen treatments of Marley’s legacy are on the level of those vapid canon-polishing sequences in the otherwise enjoyable I Am Legend. (“Hey, didja know that Bob Marley was the most awesome musician in the history of ever?? Also, he was a virologist!”) I trust Scorsese to treat Marley like the complex, brilliant, uniquely talented person he was — an extraordinary human being, not an abstracted god. Obviously, so does Marley’s family, which has authorized the project.

addCredit(“Bob Marley: Hulton Archive/Getty Images”)

This Marley movie could also work wonders for Scorsese himself. Themusic-doc form has often brought out the best in his art, dating backto 1976’s The Last Waltz. And he’s been on a glorious jagrecently: the blues miniseries he produced in ’03, 2005’s Bob Dylandocumentary, this year’s Rolling Stones doc (which I can’t wait tosee). Sure, I absolutely loved The Departed just like everyoneelse. I hope there are plenty more twisted gangster epics in Marty’sfuture, too. But I’ll take another masterful meditation on a musicalgenius while I can.

Anyone else ready to reserve tickets for that projected Feb. 6, 2010 release date? That’s just 24 months away!