29 Oct Do It Again (2010) Film Review
Director: Robert Patton-Spruill
Starring: Geoff Edgers
Do It Again documents Boston music critic Geoff Edgers’ quest to reunite his favorite band of all time, the Kinks. But as anyone who knows the Kinks at all, this monumental task is akin to turning water into wine. Reuniting the Kinks would mean putting a bandaid and some ointment on one of the most long standing sibling rivalries in rock and roll history. The Davies brothers have been on the outs for more than a couple decades; getting them in the same room together without them tearing each other’s throats out seems nigh impossible. The very first lines of the movie clearly state Edgers’ criteria for failure: 1. If he doesn’t get the Kinks back together and 2. If he doesn’t learn anything about himself in the effort.
To be honest, the film’s purported abstract is actually the least interesting part of the movie. The more compelling plot thread in the film surrounds it’s quester, Mr. Edgers himself. Like many involved in the long-standing tradition of print culture journalism, Edgers’ hair has gone from long and lustery to salt and peppery. His career, once romanticized by the likes of Lester Bangs and Robert Christgau, has turned into a slow and arduous death march, the cloud of a dying newspaper industry hovering over him every day. His editors are coming up with comical and pathetic ideas for articles, including a month-long “Dirty Jobs” carbon copy where Edgers works at UPS and whatnot. His cubicle neighbors are disappearing one-by-one. His pay is shrinking, and his family is struggling to make ends meet. In the midst of all this, Edgers decides that it’s high time to reunite the Kinks, self-realizing that this desire may be attributed to somewhat of a midlife crisis.
To this end, Edgers meets with music luminaries such as Paul Weller, Sting, Robyn Hitchcock and Zooey Deschanel, asks them how much the Kinks meant to them (a lot), and attempts to get them to cover a Kinks song with him. The latter request ends up being the majority of the film’s comic relief, getting at best reluctant acceptance and at worst abrupt refusal. And while this is all very nice window dressing, none of it really matters to the quest to reunite the Kinks or Edgers’ self-discovery.
It comes as no surprise that Edgers comes back empty handed from London, with only a handicam shot of Ray Davies and a kind gesture from his brother Dave. It is when he returns to his home that the film comes closest to finding a resolution. Faced with his failure and his need to abandon his quest, Edgers gathers his friends and family for the lobster dinner he promised his daughter long ago. His friend, the first interview he did for this documentary, tells him it’s ok to obsess over it, but don’t lose yourself, and don’t lose your family. But from this we do not see Edgers change; we do not see even an appreciation of his family. At least in the film.
And this is where the film fails. Edgers unresolved midlife crisis feels just as Sisyphean as the Davies’ own familial issues. It’s unsatisfying to see such little growth in our protagonist, at least within the scope of the film. Now it might be the case that after wrapping up filming Edgers might have gotten the job of a lifetime, or the Kinks might reunite next year and put all this riffraff to bed. But as far as the story told in the documentary, we the viewers do not get a sense of this resolution. Even within the credits scene, there is a palpable longing in Edgers’ voice for this dream, a midlife crisis still left half open.
Do It Again opens at the Northwest Film Forum on November 4th at 7pm. There will be a performance by Kinks cover band the Quaffies after the 9pm showing.