Cameron Crowe chronicles Elton John and Leon Russell at work
I'm an unapologetic Cameron Crowe fan.
That's not a big statement or anything. Lots of people are Cameron Crowe fans. But you want me to defend "Elizabethtown"? Oh, I'll defend "Elizabethtown." Happily. Assuming you don't also want a defense of Orlando Bloom *in* "Elizabethtown."
And yet somehow, Cameron Crowe released a movie in December that I didn't see in theaters. It seems that "We Bought a Zoo" has done reasonably well without me and I'll gladly catch it on DVD in a few months.
Fortunately, it feels like I've been watching Cameron Crowe documentaries non-stop. I ended up watching Crowe's very fine "Pearl Jam Twenty" twice last year and viewers can start 2012 with Crowe's "The Union," another sturdy documentary elevated by the director's passion for music and the sometimes astounding access that that passion gives him.
It's that passion that also sometimes blinds Crowe a tiny bit when it comes to applying focus to what was surely a mountain of footage stemming from the recording sessions for Elton John and Leon Russell's "The Union" album.
The result is a documentary that's sometimes a straight-forward making-of piece, sometimes a broader retrospective on two brilliant careers, but sometimes a more introspective look at what happens to two former wild-men of music when age sucks the wildness right out of them and the music is all that remains.
"The Union" doesn't quite gel and you're invariably wishing Crowe could give us more in some scenes and less in others, but it's full of magical and occasionally enlightening moments for fans of both artists and probably for fans of the musical process as well.
More after the break...