Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Doors (1991)

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The Doors is a great musical, and an okay film that is enjoyable for a select audience. Oliver Stone recreates the sixties with a vivid atmosphere of peace, love, and the Vietnam War, but like almost all his movies, it is also filled with explicit symbolization, over-the-top acting and story lines, and truth-stretching. Because of this, Stone fans will love the Doors as a quintessential Stone film. Others may be confused or frustrated by scene-after-scene of Val Kilmer as a destructive drunk. Regardless, Kilmer's performance as Jim Morrison may be the best of his career. At times it is scary how much he resembles the Lizard King, and the great similarity in looks helps you to truly imagine Morrison on the screen. He captures the poetic genius of one of rock's most legendary frontmen, and also portrays a rambling madman. In the late sixties and early seventies, Morrison was both the very essence and a complete waste of life, and Kilmer shines in both roles. Kyle MacLachlan, now more well known for parts on Sex and the City and Desperate Housewives, is very good as Ray Manzarek, the keyboardist for the Doors. His relationship with Kilmer's Morrison produces some of the more memorable scenes. Also worth mentioning is Meg Ryan, whose role as Morrison's most steady love interest is far from anything she played in any of her nineties romantic comedies. She holds her own as the sex and drug crazed girlfriend. For rock fans, the Doors is worth watching for the music alone, as all of the Doors prominent songs (except Peace Frog) are included. The live performances are where Kilmer and Stone shine brightest. Kilmer reproduces Morrison's eccentric stage act almost flawlessly, and Stone recreates the exotic atmosphere of a Doors live show perfectly. Unfortunately, Stone gets a little carried away with the music and abandons dialogue for a good part of the film. Watching more of Morrison speaking with his philosophical quips and deep, profound thoughts would have been nice. Those who can't catch the vibe of the music may be ready for Morrison to pass away in his bathtub after two hours of drunken mistakes and abuse.

Good For: Doors fans, Stone fans, stoners

Bad For: alcoholics, spouses of abusive alcoholics

The Gallery
The Surfer: * * * *
The Writer * * * *

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