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Laramie Movie Scope:
CSNY Déjà Vu

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by Patrick Ivers, Film Critic
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(2006) Director Bernard Shakey documented on film David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, and Neil Young's Freedom of Speech Tour for two months in 2006, with embedded war correspondent Mike Cerre, reminiscent of their anti-Vietnam War protests ("Four dead in Ohio") during the early '70s, deploring President Bush's unnecessary war in Iraq.

The four troubadours perform their classic, relevant rock anthems ("We have all been here before"), complementing new topical tunes ("Looking for a leader … a black man after all") from Young's album, Living with War.

Mixed into the music ("military madness is killing our country") are interviews with the four musicians (speaking truth to power, such as Young's appearance with Stephen Colbert; remarking on the lack of unity and activism on college campuses without a draft), recent and older vets, political candidates running for office (of the ten candidates Stills helped with fund-raising appearances, seven won the vote), comparisons with the controversy of the Dixie Chicks' earlier criticizing the Bush administration, journalists' cynical and complimentary comments on the crusade ("We can change the world"), archival footage, images of President Bush and the conflict in the Middle East.

Beginning on the Left Coast, the early shows were sometimes more "mess" (Stills tripping on stage and falling down) and "age" (worse for wear at an average of 62 ½ years, Stills and Crosby especially balding and bloated, though Young demonstrates vigor by jumping around the stage) than message, though their act soon comes together, familiar harmonies on songs framing the issues ("Find the cost of freedom … Lay your body down"), articulating popular sentiments: "No more war."

The concert in Atlanta (with a terror alert and heavy storm) upset many pro-Bush, Southern Republicans in the audience (raising middle fingers for the camera as they departed) with its overt political protest ("Let's impeach the president for lyin'"), including a montage of faces of dead US soldiers on a giant screen at the back of the stage. Numbers and names aren't enough, says an approving Gold Star Mother.

Elsewhere Vets4Vets and other war veterans express agreement ("same mistakes" as in Vietnam) and appreciation for the gang of four's drawing attention - "Hey, what's that sound? Everybody look what's goin' down" - to the hypocrisy of Washington's foreign policy. Asked if they may be largely singing to the choir ("Shock and Awe"), Stills acknowledges this may be so, but even the choir needs to "get off their ass."

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in video and/or DVD format, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2009 Patrick Ivers. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Patrick Ivers can be reached via e-mail at nora's email address at juno. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)