Monday, April 15, 2013

Authentically Fantastic, Rightously Real, Super Great: "Ain't In It For My Health," Levon Helm Documentary, It Rules, by Allison

So it is a known fact, at least to me, that one of my superpowers is this:
Ability to have the coolest and most talented friends, ever ever.
I do enjoy my music summoning superpowers, and expound delusionally about those all the time, but the Best Friends Ever one is totally fab as well.
And when they intersect?
That rules.

I have proof!
Otherwise known as, one of my lovely, smart, talented, and so cool friends, Mary Posatko, is Exhibit A in my Proof I Have Superpowers, Friends That Are Amazing Category.
Here is why:
She's a documentary filmmaker, and that in itself is awesome.
But get this:
She just produced the most soul-stirring, triumphantly, hell YEAH documentary about musician Levon Helm.

Levon Helm, legendary musician, drummer for The Band, actor (Coal Miner's Daughter, The Right Stuff), and cancer survivor, who fought off throat cancer and regained his singing voice, winning a Grammy for his comeback album.

"Ain't In It For My Health," is the film, premiering soon, details at

Levon Helm is mind-blowingly mind-blowing, and also a compelling inspiration for a documentary about passion and gifts,  and being able to laugh at what comes at you,  and see the good stuff that is still there.

I mean, this is "The Weight" and "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" dude.

Martin Scorsese's "The Last Waltz," 1970's documentary on The Band, is fantastic, just great.

But Mary's documentary is a whole other thing. 

 "Ain't In It For My Health," (directed by Jacob Hatley and produced by Mary (did I mention she is my friend????) and Ken Senga, cinematography by Emily Topper), has the same phenomenal music, you know, who does not get chills when you hear "I pulled into Nazareth, I was feelin' about half past dead . . "

His music is just right, always.
But "Ain't In It For My Health" is a movie about the man as well as his music. Woven like a tapestry, interspersed and infused with Levon's life struggling with a killer disease, fighting to have a voice and play his stuff while he could.

Dancing, living, with the gleam in his eye of someone doing what they love, and getting away with it.

And there's not like this, immediate tear-jerker manipulation thing going on. No "Ok cry HERE. See, he's fighting an awful disease, and singing again. CRY. Oh look, he's still loving life. CRY. Here this timeless music. CRY."
I mean, you can, sure, I do, but it is organic.
There are not any scenes of him embracing Ryan Gosling in the rain.
And yes, I know documentaries are about real things and don't often lift scenes from The Notebook (That would be cool though, if a bit odd. But Mary, totally think about that for other projects, and invite me that day.)
but many documentaries are tone-deaf.
Heavy handed.
It may be my innate stubborn mule tendencies, but I hate lunkish demands for my outrage, sorrow, happy, whatever emotion.

None of that here.
"Ain't In It For My Health" is fantastic, and like, actual famous directors and Oscar nominees and music people are saying this,  not just me.
I am in good company in my opinion on this fab documentary.

Totally go see it. I hope it comes to your city. If not, acquire it via your whatever method of movie-getting is, you will be glad you did.
Giant Opinion (Note: I am totally right, though, so listen to me) Of Why This Movie Rules: