Wednesday, May 7, 2008

I'm Not There

"I'm Not There," the 2007 movie about Bob Dylan, came out on DVD yesterday, and I had to watch it as soon as I could. I had heard so many good things about it. While I can't really say I love it after one viewing, I can definitely say that I was intrigued. It was a very interesting way to tell a story, but in trying to be "avante garde" or whatever, it seemed a little jumpy. It was intriguing in that it made me want to watch it again, just to see what I had missed - because it seemed like there was a lot going on and it jumped back and forth from one time period to another. It kinda all tied together at the end, but I think it deserves another viewing, in part because it's a little hard to keep up with the non-linear storyline when you are interrupted by a 5-year-old who wants some popcorn upstairs or wants to discuss her Barbie movie halfway through it.

Anyway, it piqued my interest to find out more about Dylan. I am intimately familiar with a lot of his music (I have most of his CDs, I have his entire "Theme Time Radio Hour" series, and many hours of live bootlegs), but I don't know all that much about his life. What I would like to solicit via this blog is recommendations for Bob Dylan biographies. I know there must be several out there, but I don't want to buy three. I want one good one. Anyone? Please leave suggestions in the comments.

ADDED: by the way, the soundtrack to this movie is outstanding - lots of very good covers of Dylan songs. Curiously, not all of these versions appear in the movie, but they're still worthwhile covers. "Going to Acapulco" by Jim James, and "Simple Twist of Fate" by Jeff Tweedy are my favorites.


candyman said...

Great movie!! It was great on the big screen with all of the B&W tones and shading it had throughout. It is definitely an oblique look at Dylan - where you see some of the stages and carnations of Bob, but you can not really get your finger on it. I thought that aspect of the movie was appropriate and compelling because the style of the movie mirrored Dylan himself - one you can never really get a handle on, and once you think you changes yet again. The movie, again like Dylan himself, makes you think and re-think. I thouroughly enjoyed it.

As for biographies on Dylan, there are a ton of them. A couple years ago I researched them to find a good one or two - many are supposedly not good. I ended up buying two, but have only read one so far: Down the Highway - The Life of Bob Dylan by Howard Sounes. Great and interesting read. It is informative and I don't think it tears the guy down, nor does it put him on a pedastal - it tries to explain Bob and Bob's lfe. Tough chore for one of the more secretive, intriguing and compelling characters in our lifetimes.
I can't recall the other biography I bought, but Behind The Shades is supposed to be another good one. Here is the Amazon link to Sounes - let me know if you want to borrow it - I will send down with some tunes.

Assman said...

Sweet. Thanks for the input. I'll have to have a look-see at the local public library and see what I can find.

Brandman said...

Dylan's autobiography, Chronicles, was really fantastic as well. It is a "volume 1" which pre-supposes a "volume 2" which I don't believe has been released yet. The guy is a genius and his memory is phenomenal. He recalls situations from his early years in NYC like they were yesterday.

Oh, and Mr. English major Candyman meant to say they were incarnations of Bob, not cheap flowers.