Monday, July 22, 2013

Theatrical Review: Springsteen & I

Rory: Tonight, OB and I headed to the Kip's Bay AMC to see Springsteen & I.  Going in, we weren't sure which one of us would write the review.  However, upon exiting the theater, I could tell by the gleam in his eye that OB wanted to sink his teeth into the review.  I'll let him take it away, but will chime in with my thoughts here and there.

OB: Truth be told, I usually hate Springsteen stories.  Growing up in New Jersey, I can’t tell you the number of times I've heard Springsteen stories from friends.  Most of the stories, I didn't believe, but the ones I did were just bad stories.  Some people say what a jerk he was, others say he was the coolest guy they ever met, but for the most part they were all really boring stories.  And I’ll never forget when I used to work with this guy who used to tell total suspect stories about his band playing shows down the Jersey Shore and how Bruce would come up to them after the show and say what a huge fan he was of them.  Keep in mind this was a bar band, that played nothing but covers.  Even listening to E Street Radio, I hate listening to fans' “stories” about Bruce.  They just are not that interesting.

It was with this attitude that I went into “Springsteen & I”.

Rory: I came in with similar skepticism.  Working on this blog has forced me to explore so much Springsteen; in just a year and a half, I've read three autobiographies, listened to countless interviews, and watched hours upon hours of live performances.  I did not think "Springsteen & I" would bring me something I haven't already seen before.

OB: I was not expecting much but a part of me had hope that Bruce would not disappoint.  My expectations were greatly surpassed.  This is a fantastic film for Bruce fans, music fans, film lovers, or just about anyone.  It’s genuinely funny, heartwarming, and honest.

For those who don’t know, “Springsteen & I” is a crowd-sourced documentary made up of footage shot by fans who describe what Bruce, his music, and being a fan is all about.  Within two minutes of the film starting, any apprehensions I had were gone.  There are no stupid exaggerations, or downright lies about meeting Bruce, or anything of that nature.  Just honest stories about how Bruce has impacted the lives of his fans. I do not want to spoil the stories, and me typing them out would not do them justice as opposed to hearing them for yourself. Suffice to say almost every story had me laughing hard or choked up with tears.

Rory: While we do spend a lot of time with the typical Springsteen fans - middle-aged white Americans who are eager to embarrass their kids - we also get to see Springsteen love from all walks of life (I particularly enjoyed the soft-spoken yet eloquent young female truck driver).  Every crazy story is backed up with video footage, some of which loyal readers of the blog will already know, such as Bruce playing with a street performer in Copenhagen.

OB: You can’t help but nod your head along as you hear these stories simply because you can relate to them so well.   The movie is aptly titled “Springsteen & I”, because even though Bruce is the star, we the fans play such an intricate part and we can all relate to one another.  You can’t help but think of your own stories while watching this movie and hearing about the role Bruce has played in other people’s personal, professional, family, and even sex lives.  When you watch both men and women of all different ages, from all over the world, tell their stories you cannot help but connect to them.  Much like the way way Bruce connects to his fans every night on stage.

The thing I love about this movie is not only does it show you Springsteen from a fan’s perspective,  but it also shows you the Bruce fanatic from the outsider’s perspective.  Hearing stories from spouses being dragged to Bruce shows, or children being forced to listen to Bruce in the car while their parents drove them are some of the funnier parts in the movie.  But hearing about how listening to Bruce has helped parents bond with their kids, or brought couples close together will tug at your heart.  I know I absolutely thought about my mother introducing to me to Bruce, as well as my father telling me I was wasting my money when I bought his albums.  I thought about how being Bruce fans has brought me to be even closer friends with Steve and Rory, so much so that we started this blog  But I was also reminded of a girl I used to date recently telling me I ruined “Thunder Road” for her, because it reminded her of me.

And finally, there’s the music.  The movie is filled with clips of Bruce throughout his career, and many clips of the concerts that the fans are telling stories about.  I’m sure every Bruce fan will want to see this movie, but if you’re not sure about it for some reason, the live clips are worth the price of admission alone.

Rory: I must also add that, if you are seeing it in theaters, make sure to stay after the credits roll.  Unlike the vague, disappointing clips they show at the end of super-hero movies, this is worth sticking around for. 

It isn't too late to see Springsteen & I on the big screen!  Go to to see where the movie is playing on July 30th.

To wrap up, I just want to share my favorite quote from the film.  It sometimes seems that children can see the world more clearly than adults, which is odd because it would seem knowing more would be preferable to knowing less.  However, while some adults talk in vague, mystical language, one little girl sums up her love of Springsteen in brief, yet crystal clear, detail: "Bruce is my favorite singer because he puts a lot of effort into his performances.  He takes a deep breath before each song.  When the camera is on him, you can see the veins popping out of his neck.  After one song, he is as sweaty as a normal singer is after ten songs."  Amen, sister.  I couldn't have said it better myself.

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