Wednesday, August 3, 2011


(March 1991, U.S.)

We're entering a new level of film here in that whether or not you like Oliver Stone's THE DOORS (or any other musical biography) would depend greatly on whether or not you like the original music of the artist or not. Let's face it - if you prefer the music of Lady GaGa over The Doors, well first of all, I greatly PITY you! Second, the movie THE DOORS is probably not for you.

Back in 1991, when I was still attending college, the release of THE DOORS practically took on biblical proportion for me. It wasn't just another movie. It was an immortalization of the great Jim Morrison that had been absent from the screen for too damn long. I ended up seeing it three times. I even made a rather lame attempt to dress up as Jim Morrison for a Halloween college party many months later. Yes, it's pretty safe to say that I love The Doors and the legacy of music they left behind. Even today, when I hear their music and discover how energetic and fresh it still sounds, it's hard to believe that Jim Morrison has been dead for 40 long years (40 years to the date exactly one month ago, actually). Now while I love The Doors, I'm hardly a die hard Jim Morrison fanatic, so I can't really tell you which parts of the film are hard fact and which parts are pure cinematic fiction, and frankly, I don't care. Stone's direction and editing, and Val Kilmer's portrayel of Morrison take you deep into the era of The Doors music and the revolutionary turmoil that defined the late 1960s, fact versus fiction seems almost irrelevant. We may never really know exactly what Jim Morrison did do and what he didn't do, whether or not he was an out of control sociopath, and Stone may come under fire for the rest of his life for any historical innacuracies regarding The Doors. The point is to enjoy the story of the band and the musical impact of their songs, to enjoy the wild antics of Jim Morrison (accurate or not), and to remember that quite often history is usually a matter of one's perspective and not what actually happened. After all, this is the story of the most popular rock band ever to come out of the state of California, so it was all good for those of us who love The Doors and have never forgotten the great Jim Morrison.

Even after 20 years, when I watch this film, I still anticipate with great affection the Death Valley desert sequence that slowly leads into The Doors performance of "The End" at The Whiskey-A-Go-Go. Kilmer nails Morrison's voice perfectly, in my opinion and the performance is hypnotic and captivating. It's also my favorite song by The Doors. What's not to love?

Let me end by dedicated this post to my friends Greg and Daniela, who were both just crazy enough to go see THE DOORS with me each time I wanted to. Thanks, guys!

Favorite line or dialogue:

Jim Morrison: "Close your eyes. We'll see the snake; see the serpent appear. His head is ten feet long and five feet wide. He has one red eye and one green eye. He's seven miles long. Deadly. I see all the history of the world on his scales, all people, all actions. We're all just little pictures on his scales. God, he's big, he's moving, devouring consciousness, digesting power. Monster of energy. It's a monster. Kiss the snake on the tongue. Kiss the serpent. But if it senses fear, it'll eat us instantly. But if we kiss it without fear, it'll take us through the garden, through the gate, to the other side. Ride the snake...until the end of time."

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